A private Catholic School, Ave Maria University is a four-year coeducational school located in Ave Maria, Florida. The administrators at Ave Maria prides itself on combining Catholic teachings with a strong liberal arts education. In their mission statement the university hopes to advance human culture by promoting, “faith and reason, the formation of men and women in the intellectual and moral virtues of the Catholic faith, and the development of professional and pre-professional programs in response to local and societal needs.” Furthermore faculty and administrators of the university “recognizes the importance of creating and maintaining an environment in which faith informs the life of the community and takes expression in all its programs.”
The school offers students over 20 majors to choose from. If a student is interested in business, he or she is able to enroll in such majors as Business, Managerial Economics and Strategic Analysis, or Political Economy and Government. If a student is interested in history he or she can study American Studies, Catholic Studies, or Humanities and Liberal Studies. With so many majors over a wide spectrum of interests, students will find exactly what they’re looking for at Ave Maria University.
Founded in 1998, Ave Maria University is the youngest major college or university in the United States. Starting off in Ypsilanti, Michigan the university was founded by Catholic philanthropist Tom Monaghan who wanted a college where students could get an excellent liberal arts education in a Catholic environment. When he did not get zoning approval in Michigan, Monaghan moved the young university to Florida where it remains today. He hopes eventually to have over 5,000 students enrolled, have Division I athletics, and academically be considered a “Catholic Ivy” .
Although new, the school is not without controversy. In a speech given in 2004, Monaghan informed listeners that he wanted the town of Ave Maria and the new university to be free of pre-marital sex, contraceptives, abortions, and gay-rights. This of course caused backlash from people who saw this as a violation to their civil liberties. Since the backlash, Monaghan backed down stating that only the university would ban contraceptives and porn.
There are six dorms on campus and are separated by gender. The opposite sex are not permitted in the dorm rooms at any time except for moving in and out of the dorms. There is a separate common area in each dorm in which members of the opposite sex are allowed. Furthermore students are not allowed televisions in their rooms and are encourage to not wear anything too revealing. Drinking is only allowed if students are over 21 years.
Study abroad is a big part of Ave Maria University. With a Latin American campus in San Marcos, Nicaragua, students can study while being immersed in a different culture. Classes are taught in English students must have completed at least one semester at the Florida campus with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
While on the Florida campus, students can take part in numerous activities on campus. Clubs include Faith in Action and Students for Life. Or students can write for the Angelus News, Ave Maria University’s newspaper. Although not Division I yet, Ave Maria University offers its students over 15 varsity sports. Men can participate in golf, baseball, or football while girls can run cross country, cheerlead, or play softball.
One year at Ave Maria University costs a student $32,000 a year to attend. The Financial Aid Department offers students loans, grants, and scholarships, giving away an average financial aid package of $15,000. In the 2011-2012 school year, 100% of students who demonstrated financial need received some form of assistance.