Fall 2010 enrollment numbers at Eastern Illinois University seem to further suggest that the economy is keeping students close to home - at least for the first two years of their higher education.
"We know that economic conditions are making it difficult for some families to afford to send their children to a university," said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "More and more students are beginning their college careers by attending their local community colleges and taking the general education courses that will later be required of them to graduate from a university such as Eastern.
"And because Eastern is a transfer-friendly institution, we know we will be seeing many of these young men and women as they enter their junior years," Lord continued.
It seems that this trend might already have begun.
Enrollment numbers reflect an on-campus enrollment of 10,511 and an off-campus count of 1,119 for a total of 11,630. A year ago, the number of students taking on- and off-campus classes was 10,788 and 1,178, respectively, for a total enrollment of 11,966.
A breakdown of Eastern's 9,970 undergraduate students (down from 10,225 last year) is as follows (with Fall 2009 figures in parentheses): freshmen, 2,262 (2,475); sophomores, 1,908 (2,055); juniors, 2,551 (2,456); and seniors, 3,249 (3,239). The number of new transfer students rose from 1,113 in Fall 2009 to 1,147.
Graduate students number 1,660, a decrease from last year's 1,741. Female students again outnumber male students - 6,780 to 4,850.
EIU officials are pleased that minority student enrollment continues to be strong (1,922 this year, up from 1,783 in Fall 2009). Numbers reflect the following: black, 1,382 (1,280); Hispanic, 342 (316); Asian/Pacific Islander, 137 (134); and American Indiana/Alaskan Native, 61 (53).
Minority students now make up 16.52 percent of total enrollment, up from 14.90 percent in 2009.
"We're very pleased with the diversity of our student population," Lord said. "It affects not only the Eastern Illinois University campus, but the Charleston community as a whole, in a very positive way."
In addition, the number of international students attending the university rose to 152 - an increase from 134 in Fall 2009.