Freshmen, transfer, online and graduate students showing significant recruitment returns
Eastern Illinois University’s spring-to-spring enrollment is up five percent over last year, and university administrators are calling the increase a tremendous step in demonstrating Eastern’s enduring success and progress toward future growth.
According to official 10th-day data from the university, areas of increase include new enrolled freshmen, new enrolled transfer students, new enrolled domestic graduate students, and new online graduate students. Additionally, an array of flexible learning options has helped the university realize nearly a tenfold increase in its new online graduate student enrollments from spring 2017 to spring 2018.
“Eastern remains an exemplary institution that provides students with limitless opportunities for their personal development and success,” said EIU President Dr. David Glassman. “Prospective students know they can thrive here, and that EIU will provide a safe, fun and challenging environment in which they can learn and grow.”
University officials believe the increase in enrollment is the direct result of EIU’s Vitalization Project—a multiple-year plan that aims to directly confront and counteract a combination of the higher education challenges in the state of Illinois.
Josh Norman, EIU’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management, suggested another important outcome of Eastern’s Vitalization Project was the purposeful reinvestment in and fusion of the university’s marketing, admissions and enrollment areas and objectives.
“We’ve worked hard to better unify and reinforce our overall outreach efforts by strategically aligning those areas,” Norman said. “Anyone affiliated with EIU knows we offer a top-quality experience to all our students, but creating that heightened awareness is also an important counterpart in sharing and spreading our distinct EIU narrative.”
Over the past two years, EIU—guided by Vitalization Project outcomes—has created or enhanced a wide variety of programs, services and outreach to create planned, incremental enrollment growth at the undergraduate and graduate level alike. Twelve new programs—six undergraduate and six graduate—are contributing to this enrollment growth this spring. Other programs in fields like health administration and athletic training are slated for IBHE approval or will be offered by EIU soon as a response to additional community and regional workforce needs.
Dual-credit enrollments and strategic partnerships with area high school districts are another key component of EIU’s enrollment increase, officials also indicated.
“EIU must continue to reach our students where they live with what they need,” Norman said. “Today’s partnerships create tomorrow’s growth. By developing these accessible onramps and pipelines now, EIU remains confidently primed for further, enduring success.”
Overall, university officials are pleased with EIU’s cumulative five percent enrollment increase, and remain cautiously optimistic that if the state can avoid a second budget stalemate in as many years, the growth trend will carry over into next fall’s final enrollment numbers.
Also, just as they did in the fall, Norman and Glassman feel strongly that current students, alumni, and employees are playing more active roles in EIU’s current and future recruitment and enrollment strategies. They encourage those groups to continue sharing stories about their own positive EIU experiences to inspire even more prospective students to explore everything EIU and the Charleston community have to offer.