Assege HaileMariam, Ken Baker and I invite the campus community to participate in the 2011 strategic planning process. We hope to have stimulating, productive discussions that will prepare us to educate the next generation of students and help us build a sustainable future for EIU. William Weber

Global Competition and Changing Demographics

About This Concept Paper

Dawn VanGunten (chairperson), Kaninika Bhatnagar, Gene Deerman, Brenda Major, and Jocelyn Tipton formed the subcommittee responsible for preparing this concept paper.

This concept paper was first posted on September 14, 2011.

Download the printable version.


The people at Eastern Illinois University are central to its success. In an ever-changing world of increased globalization and diversification, we are aware of the need to prepare students for competing in global markets and the importance of preparing the future workforce to be competitive both at home and globally. We also understand that educating the diverse citizenry must be coupled with cultivating the benefits offered by human and cultural diversity. Further, many constituents see these benefits as a key component to recruiting and retaining the best students, faculty and staff, as changing demographics for these groups strengthen the expectation for a culturally diverse educational environment. We also understand that academic programs, study abroad and cultural enrichment are essential to students’ education.


From 1988 to 2009, EIU’s six-year graduation rate averages 61% and its retention rate averages 79%. The average ACT composite score for new freshmen has been 22 since fall 1993, dipping slightly to 21 in fall 2010. Class rank in the past ten years shows a slight decrease. The percentage of admitted students who ranked in the upper half of their high school graduating class has decreased from 79% in 2001 to 65% in 2010. Nearly 40% of new freshmen are from Cook county and surrounding suburbs, and approximately 95% of our students are Illinois residents.

In a review of ten years of data, 2001 to 2010, we see some trends in our overall student body worth noting. The incoming freshman class peaked in 2008–09, as predicted by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) in its March 2008 report, “Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates by State and Race/Ethnicity, 1992–2022.” And while applications have been steady, even to present, the yield (the percentage of admitted students who actually enroll) has declined from 34% in 2008–09 to 30% in 2010–11. WICHE predicts a decline in high school graduates in the Midwest by 8%, beginning in 2009.

Transfer student applications have increased steadily by about 1.5% over the past four years. The yield of admitted students however has decreased from a steady 71–74% down to 66% in fall 2010.

Eastern’s student body is increasingly diverse. The percentage of minority student enrollment, increased from 9.8% in 2005 to 16.5% in 2010.

Forty-eight percent of the fall 2011 incoming class at EIU are first-generation students. Overall 42% of Eastern’s students are first generation, and we expect this figure to increase to about 45% in the next few years.

In the past five years the percentage of new students receiving financial assistance increased from 72% to 84%, with the average aid packaged at slightly over half the cost of attendance. We can expect our students to demonstrate an even higher level of financial need.

New student enrollment in the Honors College averages 155. An increasing number of these students, currently 68%, indicate EIU was their first choice. In fall 2009, 32% of these students were first generation. This number has increased recently, up from 29.6% in 2008. The mean ACT is consistently a 28 composite.

The university’s Gateway program is an alternative admissions program designed to provide access to under-represented, disadvantaged students. It annually enrolls 140 to 150 new freshmen with an average ACT of 16 and average 2.5 GPA. In recent years the retention rate for this population has declined slightly from 80% to 74%.

Changing Demographics of Special Populations

Students with Disabilities

In 2010–11, EIU provided services to 503 students with disabilities. There were 354 students officially registered with the Office of Disability Services and an additional 149 students who were worked with on some level. In contrast, there were only 50 students registered with the Office of Disability Services in 1999. The accommodations and services EIU provides for students with disabilities are based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Services have recently increased due to changes in the ADA to allow more people to qualify as having a disability and more stringent mandates to provide a wider array of accessibility for people with disabilities. Current trends suggest that the number of students with disabilities will continue to grow, and the number of students with more severe disabilities and the level of support and services required will intensify.


Currently, EIU has 250 veterans and dependents of veterans who receive federal benefits. There are probably additional veteran students on campus who are no longer eligible for benefits. In the past this data was not collected. It is now collected on the admissions application, so in future years we should be able to get a better head count. The Office of Veteran Services estimates that there are between 250–300 veterans currently on campus. In the next few years the veteran/dependent population is expected to grow by 15–20%. There is a new transfer of entitlement program that allows current active duty soldiers to reenlist and then transfer benefits to their dependents. This group is growing each year. Currently recruitment efforts are underway to entice more veterans to want to attend Eastern. The current goal by the Office of Veteran Affairs is to have at least 500–800 veterans on campus using their benefits and earning college degrees.

Non-traditional students

This group, broadly defined, includes full-time and part-time students, on campus or off campus, in person or online, degree and non-degree students, post-baccalaureates, and joint degree students with Parkland in the Business Administration program. Part-time enrollment has remained steady over the past four years. Current indicators suggest a good demand for online courses and degrees, with growth in this area primarily limited by the university’s ability to offer these programs.

International Students

There are currently 142 international students (87 male, 55 female) from 44 countries enrolled in degree programs at EIU. Eighty-one students are enrolled in graduate programs, and 61 are enrolled in undergraduate programs. The most popular majors are Technology (41 students) and Business Administration/Pre-Business (27 students). The majority (105) range in age from 18–25. Twenty-four are between the ages of 26–30. Students are currently recruited through a variety of means. The Office of International Students participates in student fairs in a variety of countries. Eastern is a member of Study Illinois, a consortium of Illinois schools that works together to promote international education. Educational consulting agencies provide online leads. Eastern also enters into exchange agreements with other universities and has a joint degree program with a university in China.

EIU Faculty/Staff Demographic Changes

Over the last ten-year period the demographics of the university faculty have changed. First, there has been increased reliance on non-tenure-track faculty. In 2001 there were 429 full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty and 144 full-time instructors. In 2010 there were 423 full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty and 190 full-time instructors. Use of part-time instructors has also expanded, from 66 in 2001 to 140 in 2010. Second, the racial and ethnic makeup and age of the faculty over the last ten years remains largely unchanged, but the gender makeup has shifted. In 2001, there were 365 men and 274 women on the faculty. In 2010, there were 382 men and 371 women.

Specific Programs and Initiatives at EIU Related to Globalization and Diversity

Eastern’s curriculum addresses globalization and diversity in several ways.

During 2010–11, 305 students participated in study abroad. Of those students, 233 were female and 72 were male. One hundred ninety-four students participated in short-term faculty-led experiences, 66 students participated in independent semester-long experiences, and an additional ten students taught abroad.

Eastern’s general education program includes a cultural diversity requirement. Since 1999 EIU has required all undergraduate students to complete at least one course that addresses cultural diversity.

EIU’s Interdisciplinary Center for Global Diversity (ICGD) promotes education, fosters research, and helps coordinate the administrative work of the interdisciplinary majors and minors in Africana Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American and Latino/a Studies, and Women’s Studies. The ICGD represents the interests and educational needs of our diverse population at EIU and encourages the responsible participation of all students in the wider global society.

Eastern offers its students more than 150 Recognized Student Organizations, and students are permitted to join as many of these organizations as they like. The Office of Student Life coordinates and monitors these student-run organizations. More than 25 of these organizations, including Pride, the Black Student Union, and Haiti Connection, are directly linked to diversity, globalization, and multiculturalism.

Lessons Learned

Eastern, like many other universities, has seen a significant shift from tenured/tenure-track faculty to non-tenure-track full-time and part-time faculty. In the long term, this trend has implications for program stability and growth and for student-faculty relationships that foster undergraduate research and mentoring. The trend in faculty composition means that there will be fewer full-time tenure-track faculty to serve on committees and participate in shared governance.

The number of students with disabilities will continue to grow, and the number of students with severe disabilities and the level of support and services required will intensify. EIU could improve recruitment and especially retention of these students with the development of a dedicated testing center rather than faculty individually providing testing accommodations. Veterans returning to school will be a challenge to serve due to the types and severity of their disabilities. It is difficult to predict what this will entail. The Forming Objectives to Create an Understanding for Success (FOCUS) program could be expanded to include more students with disabilities if resources were available. It is possible that we will have more service animals on campus in the near future due to some recent changes in the ADA and due to Housing and Urban Development’s interpretations and enforcement of specific laws.

Statewide, Illinois has been losing college-prepared high-school seniors to out-of-state colleges. Illinois ranks second behind New Jersey as the highest exporter of college-prepared students, due to the lack of financial incentive for talented students to enroll in Illinois colleges.

Data regarding the EIU current student body and associated trends are difficult to synthesize, unless focused on a specific group (i.e., honors, veterans, disabled, Gateway, etc).

National Trends

The Condition of Education (COE) is a congressionally mandated annual report produced by the National Center for Education Statistics. It provides an overview of national trends in higher education. The following bullet points summarize some highlights from the COE.

  • Between 2000 and 2009, enrollment rates increased for young adults ages 18–19 and adults ages 20–24, 25–29, and 30–34.
  • In 2009, some 21 percent of children ages 5–17 (or 11.2-million) spoke a language other than English at home, and 5 percent (or 2.7-million) spoke English with difficulty.
  • The number of children and youth ages 3–21 receiving special education services was 6.5-million in 2008–09, corresponding to about 13 percent of all public school enrollment.
  • Between 2000 and 2009, undergraduate enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 34 percent, from 13.2-million to 17.6-million students. Projections indicate that it will continue to increase, reaching 19.6-million students in 2020.
  • The immediate college enrollment rate after high school declined from 1997 (67 percent) to 2001 (to 62 percent), then increased from 2001 to 2009 (to 70 percent). Gaps in immediate enrollment rates by family income, race/ethnicity, and sex have persisted over time.
  • In 2007–08, about 36 percent of undergraduate students considered to be in their first year reported having taken a remedial course.
  • In fall 2009, some 11 percent of all full-time undergraduate students attended private for-profit institutions.
  • In 2007–08, about 4.3-million undergraduate students, or 20 percent of all undergraduates, took at least one distance education course.
  • In 2009, about 41 percent of full-time and 76 percent of part-time college students ages 16–24 were employed.
  • From 1999–2000 to 2007–08, the percentage of full-time, full-year undergraduates receiving federal loans increased from 43 to 49 percent. Over the same period, the average federal grant increased from $3,300 to $3,800 (in constant 2009–10 dollars).
  • The net price of higher education increases annually.
  • Between 1998–99 and 2008–09, there was a 41 percent increase in the number of associate’s degrees conferred and a 33 percent increase in the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred.
  • Between 1998–99 and 2008–09, the number of degrees conferred by private for-profit institutions increased by a larger percentage than the number conferred by public institutions and private not-for-profit institutions. This was true for all levels of degrees. The number of degrees conferred by private for-profit institutions more than quadrupled during this period, from about 16,000 to 85,000.
  • In 2008–09, 64 percent of bachelor’s degrees were conferred by public institutions, 31 percent by private not-for-profit institutions, and 5 percent by private for-profit institutions. At private for-profit institutions, 12 percent of students took their entire program through distance education, which was higher than the percentage who did so at both public and private not-for-profit institutions (3 percent each).

Strategic Themes

Several strategic themes for the university’s changing demographics stem from these background lessons and national trends:

  • Use data to understand our student demographics and make strategic decisions about recruitment, admissions, enrollment and retention based on that data analysis.
  • Recruit faculty, staff and students who will represent and strengthen the university’s commitment to diversity and its global impact.
  • Identify competitors and create programs and initiatives that address ways to attract the students and faculty we are losing to these institutions.
  • Allocate resources to meet the changing needs of our students.

About EIU

Eastern Illinois University is a comprehensive institution, fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The university is located on 320 beautifully landscaped acres in Charleston, Illinois. Eastern provides the total education experience, while maintaining those personal relationships that its students expect and value. Offering 47 baccalaureate and 25 master’s degrees, Eastern enrolls more than 11,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Small class sizes allow close individual attention and guidance by faculty known for their excellence in teaching, research, creative activity and service. During its 116-year history, Eastern has enriched the lives of generations of students and established a lasting reputation for excellence. The university’s reputation reflects its mission to provide superior, accessible undergraduate and graduate education in the arts, sciences, humanities and professions.

Six Strategic Themes