Diversity at Fairfield
Embracing diversity has always been a distinguishing hallmark of Jesuit education. Since the first Jesuit school was founded in 1548, it has been the mission of the Society of Jesus to make a first-class education available to any student who desires to learn.
Fairfield is no exception. Established in 1949, the University's first generation of students were largely young men returning from the country's Armed Services. Fairfield provided a University education to many who were the first in their families to attend college.
This tradition continues in Fairfield's commitment to build a community of learners from a diversity of social, economic, racial, cultural, national, and religious backgrounds. The express purpose of a Fairfield education is the development of global citizens, young men and women who are at home in the world, able to confidently engage in any cultural circumstance, with an open mind and the capacity to empathize with the perspectives of others.
Students choose Fairfield because they recognize the importance of learning about, and living in, an increasingly dynamic and intercultural world. Fairfield University reflects this by striving to become a microcosm of the global community.
In recent years, Fairfield's commitment to diversity has been made a significant priority. In 1990, students of African-American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic, or Pacific Island ethnicities made up only 6.7 percent of enrolled students. Through active recruitment and outreach, this percentage has increased every year, so that in 2009 almost 17 percent of the undergraduate student body identify themselves as AHANA students. There are 54 countries represented by Fairfield's student body as a whole, and the class of 2013 comes from 24 states, and a variety of backgrounds. More than 20 percent of the incoming class students are the first in their families to attend college.
Fairfield has broadened the socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic diversity of our student body dramatically in recent years. This has been matched by a significant increase in our financial aid to students. In 2009, we increased our total financial aid offerings for our students to $43.2 million, an increase of 12 percent from the previous year, and 65 percent from just four years ago. We anticipate that our financial aid will continue to increase as we strive to make Fairfield accessible to every worthy student who desires what Fairfield has to offer.
Fairfield's commitment to global diversity is also reflected in the make-up of our faculty. Since 2003, our international faculty has increased dramatically so that now 10 percent of our full-time teaching faculty are natives of countries the world over. Over 12 percent of our faculty identify themselves as being of African-American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic or Pacific Island descent, and 48.6 percent of our full-time faculty are women.