As Eastern Illinois University positions itself for the move forward on its “Pathway to Success,” officials are taking a strategic look at fall enrollment numbers to further develop plans and capitalize on the university’s programming strengths.
While enrollment as a whole is down from a year ago, there are a number of very positive areas of growth. Graduate student enrollment has climbed significantly, up more than 10 percent from a year ago, and the number of international students has increased by nearly 50 percent to another record high.
Thousands of upperclassmen from across Illinois have returned to the university, while new students have begun classes starting them down the paths to their chosen careers.
The EIU admissions team continues to focus on recruitment efforts throughout the region and the state, while faculty and staff develop exciting new undergraduate and graduate programs, some of which are debuting this year.
Although Eastern may be experiencing lower enrollments in new freshmen and transfer students this year, it is largely attributed, directly or indirectly, to the state’s year-long budgetary gridlock.
“A year ago, we celebrated a 2 percent increase in the number of first-time freshmen,” said EIU President David Glassman. “We do have a proven strategy to grow our enrollments, and I’m positive that once the state budget issue is resolved we’ll resume that growth trajectory very quickly.”
He noted that “since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2016, EIU has managed its finances carefully and effectively to meet the unprecedented challenges presented by the state’s budgetary impasse.”
Eastern Illinois University continues to be “extremely prudent and cautious in our expenditures,” Glassman said. “However, we will continue to provide our students the highest level of academic instruction, service and research opportunities as expected from the top ranked public regional university in Illinois.”
Fall 2016 Enrollment Numbers
Current enrollment numbers reflect a Fall 2016 total enrollment of 7,415 with an on-campus enrollment of 6,548 and an off-campus count of 867. A year ago, the number of students taking on- and off-campus classes was 7,616 and 904, respectively, for a total enrollment of 8,520.
Both graduate student and international student enrollments experienced significant increases. The number of graduate students grew to 1,458 from last year’s 1,318 (an increase of 10.6 percent). International students now number 433, up from 291 in 2015 (an increase of 48.8 percent).
Eastern’s undergraduate students number 5,957, down from 7,202 (17.3 percent) last year. This includes a drop in transfer students from 798 in Fall 2015 to 536.
A breakdown of Eastern’s undergraduate students is as follows (with Fall 2015 figures in parentheses): freshmen, 1,251 (1,673); sophomores, 1,073 (1,295); juniors, 1,447 (1,791); and seniors, 2,138 (2,385). (An additional 48 students are enrolled as post baccalaureate undergraduate students.) The number of new transfer students dropped from 798 in Fall 2015 to 536.
The percentage of minority students enrolled at the university remains nearly identical to last year – 26.1 percent.
In addition, the new first-time freshman class is of strong academic quality with average ACT scores (21.34) and high school GPAs (3.08) identical to last year's class.