As most collegiate institutions grapple with disappointing enrollment, a slew of faithful Catholic colleges are reporting surprising enrollment numbers and financial support.

Their success is heralded by the Newman Guide, a list of higher education options consulted by Catholic parents throughout the world, as evidence of the positive impact that authentic Catholic education has upon society. The Newman Guide recognizes colleges that are determined to provide a thoroughly faithful Catholic education (and removes colleges from the list when they fall short).

“We keep hearing people refer to a ‘Newman movement’ because these faithful Catholic colleges just keep growing and setting the example of how to attract families today,” Patrick Reilly, president and founder of The Cardinal Newman Society, told The Daily Signal.

“These colleges are traditional and counter-cultural at a time when most of American education is corrupted and on a path of self-destruction,” he added. “In addition, the ‘Newman movement’ includes faithful Catholic educators who long for and search for the environment these Catholic colleges provide.”

According to a release from the organization, Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina saw its largest incoming class ever (1,654 students) for the 2023-2024 school year, a 10% increase from last year’s enrollment numbers.

Franciscan University of Steubenville campus in Ohio. (Photo: John Greim/LightRocket/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, in Kansas, Benedictine College boasted a record undergraduate class of 2,213 students, marking a 121% growth for the college over the past two decades.

The Catholic University of America, located in Washington, D.C., saw its highest number of applications and deposits in the last five years, the Newman Guide release said. The Franciscan University of Steubenville welcomed 772 new freshmen, its largest class since its founding, and the North Dakota-based University of Mary had its largest freshman class (559) in its history.

Wyoming Catholic College, which launched in 2007, has reported rapid growth over the past decade, while the California-based Thomas Aquinas College hit capacity at its California campus and the Virginia-based Christendom College reached its 550 total student body size cap, according to the Newman Guide.

A rainbow fills the sky above the Thomas Aquinas College in the Topatopa Mountains near Santa Paula, California, on Jan. 7, 2016. (Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“A light shines brightest in the darkness, and increasing numbers of Catholic families are choosing the
faithful Catholic colleges recommended in The Cardinal Newman Society’s Newman Guide!” the organization said in a release.

“Most of these colleges are enjoying unprecedented enrollment numbers and financial support in the 2023-2024 academic year, and all are displaying the enormous impact that authentic Catholic education can have in the Church and in society,” the organization added.

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