When John Hughes, the Bishop of New York, purchased 100 acres at Rose Hill in 1839 for $29,750, he envisioned a college, although he did not have any additional money to establish an institute of higher learning in the Fordham section of Westchester County. He embarked on a nine-month campaign to raise money for his new venture, but only succeeded in raising $10,000.
As an Irish immigrant, Bishop Hughes knew that education was the only way to end the cycle of poverty New York’s Catholic community seemed stuck in, so he headed to Europe to beg for the remainder of the funds he needed for his new school. He was successful and St. John’s College opened in 1841 as a diocesan institution with an enrollment of six. Money was a problem for the fledgling school, but finding capable teachers among clergy was even more difficult. In 1846, Bishop Hughes sold the school to a religious order, the Society of Jesus, an organization established in 1634 in the Maryland colony.
The Jesuits who took over the school in 1846 were not from Maryland but had been exiled from France who had been operating a college in the Kentucky wilderness. They were unhappy on the frontier, where they claimed they had to put spittoons everywhere, even in the chapel, and thrilled to be only seven miles from the largest city in the country, New York City. The school remained a liberal arts college, although it was soon overshadowed by its rival, the Jesuit College of St. Francis Xavier which eventually became the largest Jesuit college in North America.
The school remained unchanged even after the Jesuit’s took over until 1905. It was still a very small school of just over 100 students. In 1904, the college president announced plans to convert the small college into a university. The following year, two graduate schools were opened, although the Medical School was discontinued in 1921 largely due to financial problems. The Law School, however, flourished from the beginning. Between 1905 and 1920, the school gradually shifted from a small liberal arts school to a university. In 1920, the name of the school was changed to Fordham University, but the small men’s college had difficulty living up to the new name.
For many years, the school was hampered by a lack of endowment, lack of facilities and the lack of wealthy alumni. This led to the school becoming a graduate diploma mill in the 1920s. In 1935, the Association of American Universities removed Fordham from its list of approved universities. In an effort to improve the damage to its reputation, Fordham brought in Father Robert I. Gannon from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City. Over the next 13 years, Father Gannon rebuilt the university’s reputation, eliminating the football program and adding a radio station. He guided the school through the Depression and World War II.
In the 1954, Father Laurence J. McGinley, then the president of the university, asked Robert Moses, the master planner for New York City if the school could rent five floors in the newly constructed Coliseum building planned for Columbus Circle. Moses turned him down, stating that the building was not designed for classrooms. He offered to bring the university in on the urban renewal project a block west of the office building, offering the school ten blocks in that area of the city. The Lincoln Center campus took shape when the new Law School building was dedicated in 161 and the Lowenstein Building in 1969.
Today, there are 15,286 students enrolled at the university. There have been 119 Fulbright Scholars and over 1,200 awards and scholarships since 2003. Students volunteered over one million hours of community service in 2013 and 2,600 New York City-based companies provide internships to Fordham students.
Fordham University Accreditation Details
Fordham University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Regional accreditation demonstrates that the institution exceeds minimum standards of quality and that transfer credits are widely accepted. In addition, programs at Fordham may be accredited by industry-specific accreditation agencies.
Fordham University Admission Requirements
Students who have not earned college credit after high school are undergraduate first-year students. They must complete the Common Application which includes an essay, submit official high school transcripts as well as SAT or ACT scores and a letter of recommendation.
Transfer students are those who have earned college credit after high school They must also complete the Common Application and provide a final high school transcript. Students must also provide official college transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. A College Report form must be submitted as well as a Mid-Term Report from the college the student is currently attending. Students who have completed less than 30 credit hours of college coursework must also submit SAT or ACT scores.
Graduate admission requirements vary by program. Students must contact an admissions advisor prior to applying for graduate programs.
Fordham University Tuition and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is $47,850 per year or $1,595 per credit hour. The School of Professional & Continuing Studies is $860 per credit hour. Graduate tuition is as follows:
- Executive MBA Program – $97,500 for continuing students/$99,750 for new students
- Gabelli School of Business – $1,397 per credit hour
- Graduate School of Arts and Sciences – $1,435 per credit hour
- Graduate School of Education – $1,340 per credit hour
- Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education – $844 per credit hour
- Graduate School of Social Service – $907 per credit hour
Financial aid is available. Undergraduate students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and prospective students must complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. Graduate students must also complete the FAFSA and must be attending at least half-time to receive some forms of financial aid. Aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study, fellowships and assistantships as well as federal and private loans.
Fordham University Student Experience
Students at Fordham University soon learn that New York is their campus. There is a strong sense of community that shapes the college experience from the minute the student arrives. There are more than 160 student organizations and intramural sports. Students have provided thousands of volunteer hours in communities surrounding the campus. Fordham believes they should educate the whole person, helping students grow morally and emotionally as well as academically.
The Urban Studies program at Fordham helps students understand how cities operate in one of the most influential urban centers in the world – New York City. The program helps students learn that not all urban areas are created equally, that Anchorage is different than Tokyo and Casablanca is different than Capetown. Students also study philosophy, theology, history, languages and performing arts, all critical parts of urban life.
The proximity to New York City makes it easier for students to find the required internship that must be completed in order to earn the degree. Students are connected with community organizations where they can participate in tutoring, housing, youth leadership, advocacy or any other concentration related to urban studies. Students are also encouraged to study abroad in order to understand the differences in urban areas around the world.
Fordham University is located within miles of the largest urban area in the world, New York City. This allows Fordham University students ample opportunities to move into new careers or advance in a current career after achieving their higher education goals.