(Charleston, IL) – After reporting a seven percent increase in spring-to-spring enrollment a year ago, Eastern Illinois University’s spring enrollment has once again jumped approximately two percent in 2020.
According to official 10th-day data from the university, the university’s spring 2020 enrollment sits at 7,621 students—118 more than the previous spring semester. Supporting EIU’s overall growth is the university’s Graduate School enrollment, which increased just under 10 percent in the same time frame.
This marks the third consecutive year of spring increases for EIU, following a familiar pattern in the university’s overall enrollment growth trajectory. From 2017 to 2019, EIU’s fall enrollment increased by 11 percent overall.
In addition to graduate program enrollments, other areas of increase in EIU’s general enrollment this spring include freshman and transfer students.
Growth in these areas marks a significant and stable trend. Since 2016, EIU’s Vitalization Project, coupled with a targeted reinvestment in the university’s marketing initiatives, have helped the state’s top independent public regional university strategically and incrementally expand its freshman and graduate enrollments.
EIU’s Vitalization Project is a multiple-year plan that aimed to directly confront and counteract a combination of the higher education challenges in the state of Illinois. Now in its fifth year, the project continues to produce positive outcomes for the university and its increasingly diverse student body. Recently created and future program offerings resulting from the project, such as a new criminology/criminal justice degree and a planned bachelor of science program in Nursing, respectively, are also confidently moving EIU’s enrollment needle forward.
“Our spring increase is an impressive step in showcasing Eastern’s adaptability and responsiveness in today’s higher education arena,” said EIU President David Glassman. “This growth, combined with EIU’s above-average national retention and graduation rates for universities in its class, are categorical indicators of our enduring success and preparation for future growth.”
Josh Norman, EIU’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management, agrees. He also emphasizes the importance of the increased academic profile of new incoming freshman this spring, as well as increased student success metrics for those continuing from the fall cohort, which revealed a 12.5 percent increase over the previous year. Norman indicated EIU’s fall-to-spring freshman retention level is at a three-year high, and has steadily increased since 2017.
Norman also noted the trend of increasing four-year transfers at EIU—up 24 percent from last year—with 49 percent of students in this category enrolling at EIU after attending an out-of-state institution.
“Another semester of increased enrollments at EIU—especially in the spring—is a candid assessment of our ability to meet students’ needs where they are and with the academic programming they need,” Norman said.
Stability in the state’s funding mechanisms also remains a critical component of EIU’s ongoing growth.
“We’re pleased and grateful that Governor Pritzker and our Illinois legislators are reinvesting in Illinois higher education,” Norman added. “Research demonstrates conclusively that EIU and its peer institutions across the state have a real and positive impact on the Illinois economy, so we certainly hope to see such support continue.”
The data indicates once again that enhanced enrollment numbers—especially in graduate-level programs—show recent expansions to EIU’s flexible learning options have helped the university realize significant increases, especially within Eastern’s online programs.
Dean of the Graduate School Dr. Ryan Hendrickson attributes EIU’s graduate enrollment gains to the high-quality programs the Graduate School provides, coupled with the expansion of increasingly accessible online learning opportunities and sustained interest from international students seeking an advanced degree from a preeminent American university.
“This spring’s enrollment numbers mark the highest Graduate School population at EIU in a decade,” Hendrickson said. “The exceptional quality of our graduate programs is matched only by the excellence of its students. I’m so proud to be a part of this university and to see EIU become increasingly accessible to a wider range of students."
Overall, university officials are pleased with EIU’s continued enrollment growth, and remain optimistic about the overall future of higher education in the state.
Still, Norman and Glassman feel compelled to urge everyone in what they informally refer to as “our broader EIU Family” to continue playing active roles in advancing Eastern’s outstanding reputation, as well as the programs and services the university provides.
“Our current students, alumni, and employees play increasingly important roles in EIU’s current and future growth,” Norman said. “By sharing stories about their own positive EIU experiences, they are inspiring future generations of students to explore everything our phenomenal university has to offer. That kind of grassroots advocacy is really symbolic, because EIU is so well-known for creating a culture where lifelong relationships develop and thrive.”
EIU’s official spring 2020 figures come from the university’s 10th-day enrollment reports. Tenth-day enrollment reports are the nationally accepted standard for tracking university and college enrollments. Several of EIU’s standalone 10th-day enrollment reports are individually processed and combined to create a comprehensive university enrollment report that, once complete in its entirety, will be available at https://www.eiu.edu/ir/tenth_day_enrollment.php.
For more information about EIU, and to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at www.eiu.edu, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.