Institutional News

Bennington College Welcomes the Class of 2026

Class of 2026

Bennington College welcomed a robust and diverse class of 234 new first-year and transfer students this fall.

Students hail from 37 states and 20 countries

17% are domestic students of color

10% have international citizenship

The class of 2026 hails from 37 states (and Washington DC) and 20 different countries. Of the incoming class, 10% of students have international citizenship, 17% are domestic students of color, 15% are the first student in their family to attend college, and 20% are Pell eligible. This class continues Bennington’s commitment to making higher education accessible and affordable to students from a diverse array of backgrounds. 

“We enthusiastically welcome the talented Class of 2026,” said President Laura Walker. “As we celebrate our 90th anniversary this year, we recommit to the bold founding vision of this great college. At Bennington, students  are architects of their own education, collaborating with talented faculty to center creativity and to cultivate rigorous intellectual inquiry.”

"We are excited to welcome the class of 2026 and new transfer students to Bennington," said Vice President for Enrollment Tony Cabasco. "It was a privilege for the admissions and financial aid staff to get to know these students during the college search process. We think of them as an exceptionally talented group of creative thinkers, artists, musicians, writers, activists–emerging humanists, social scientists and scientists who bring a broad mix of backgrounds and experiences that will add to the vibrancy of our campus community."

15% are the first in their family to attend college

20% are Pell eligible

Of 14 incoming transfer students, 8 are coming from community colleges

Among the class of 2026 are 18 students who are enrolling in Bennington after completing a gap year, including 1 transfer student and 17 first-year students, 2 of whom participated in Bennington’s Gap Year Independent Learning Program, for which they will earn academic credit for work they did prior to Bennington. 

In addition, the College is welcoming transfer students from the Community College of Vermont, Alexandria Technical College, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, College of the Canyons, Greenfield Community College, Hudson Valley Community College, Marlboro College/Drew University, Naropa University, Portland State University, Richard Bland College of William & Mary, Roanoke College, Suffolk County Community College, and University of Vermont. 

It’s noteworthy that 8 of the 14 incoming transfer students are coming from community colleges. The College typically sees an 80/20 split between four and two-year colleges. Cabasco says this is a reflection of the work done to create an articulation agreement with the Community College of Vermont and focused outreach with a handful of target community colleges (Greenfield and Hudson Valley in particular).

The class of 2026 also includes a diverse array of 8 United World College Davis Scholars, hailing from Mahindra UWC of India, UWC East Africa - Arusha Campus, UWC Maastricht, UWC Mostar, UWC of the Adriatic, and UWC Changshu China.

Interest in Bennington continues to grow among college-bound students. As compared to five years ago, the total number of applications to Bennington has grown exponentially, with a 62% overall increase. This year saw a record number of applications. For the 2022-23 academic year, 2,775 students applied to Bennington, 45% of whom were admitted.

As these admissions trends indicate, the College remains focused on building a strong foundation for the future. The student experience continues to be individualized and rigorous, with a student to faculty ratio of 10:1. Bennington’s flexible, responsive curriculum also directly engages students’ academic requests through adding new courses each term and allowing students to propose intensive “pop-up” mini-courses that investigate unfolding current events and issues.

The academic year kicked off on September 6 with Convocation and the start of Fall courses.