group of university students sitting on steps

Chapman Welcomes Class of 2026, Including Highest-Ever Rate of First-Generation Students

Fall semester has arrived, and with it comes the Class of 2026, marking new milestones for diversity and access at Chapman. 

More than 22% of Chapman’s newest cohort are first-generation students – the university’s highest-ever rate. The number is a significant increase over Chapman’s overall undergraduate population, of which 17.6% are first-gen. This increase reflects the university’s ongoing commitment to reach underrepresented students and provide increased opportunities for financial support. 

Eighty-four percent of the new undergraduate students will benefit from financial aid, with an average scholarship award of $31,605 and a total of $65 million in financial aid offered to incoming students. Chapman continues to increase financial aid to qualified students across the board. Last year, the total undergraduate financial aid offered was $177 million (including incoming and current students), a number that was up from $167 million the year before – making college more affordable and allowing the university to build a more diverse campus population. 

More Students Choose Chapman

While total applications were down this year (14,403 vs.15,096 for fall 2021), it was still the second-highest in Chapman’s history. In addition, this year’s yield rate – the percentage of admitted students who committed to come to Chapman – increased by 16%.

“We’re seeing some of the university’s long-term efforts toward access and inclusion pay off. Our financial aid and a holistic approach to our process are key to that success. We are learning how to balance both virtual and in-person offerings, extending our reach across the globe and to more remote places,” says Marcela Mejia-Martinez, assistant vice president of admission. 

“Most importantly, we were able to welcome interested students and families back to campus to experience our culture and vibrant community. Those in-person experiences, interacting with our community, really helped students see themselves here and helped us yield the largest class in Chapman’s history,” she says. 

The Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler School of Engineering, which opened its doors in 2020, also continues to see substantial growth. Applications were up more than 10% from 2021, and the school will welcome over 150 undergraduate engineering students (including first-year and transfer students) with this fall class. 

Other notable details about the incoming Class of 2026:

  • 46.3% identify as people of color.
  • Average GPA is 3.77.
  • Incoming students come from 44 states and 36 countries.

Staci Dumoski

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