Plan 2028 targets “purposeful, incremental increases” to enrollment, degree offerings, career placement in years ahead
(Charleston, IL) – Following five years of spring-to-spring enrollment increases at Eastern Illinois University, spring enrollment remains steady at 8,688 students—a negligible 0.7% percent change from January 2023. University leaders are pleased with the stability of EIU’s enrollment, and remain confident EIU is on a purposeful path forward, guided largely by Plan 2028—the University’s strategic, multi-year blueprint for growth and student success.
“We’re thrilled so many EIU students and families continue to see the quality and value of an EIU education,” said EIU President Jay Gatrell. “We’re on a sustained path to enduring success thanks to Plan 2028, and to the dedication and hard work of every EIU student, employee, and community member who supports our commitments to student learning and to our EIU mission.”
Highlights of this spring’s 10th-day enrollment report include a 4 percent increase in international students (795), a 5.6 percent increase in high-school dual credit students (2,895), and a 2.1 percent average combined increase in fall-to-spring retention for both first-year and transfer students. A small decrease to last year’s record-breaking graduate enrollments and undergraduate enrollments consistent with Fall 2023 contributed to the observed change.
“Tenth-day enrollment numbers provide a helpful snapshot of where we are at a single moment in time,” said Josh Norman, EIU Associate Vice President for enrollment management. “But we also know enrollment is a dynamic process, and the results of our achievements and progress aren’t always immediate.”
For example, last week EIU’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved three new degree programs—a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), a customizable Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Arts and Sciences (B.A.A.S.) in the Lumpkin College of Business and Technology, and a second B.A.A.S. in Emergency Management in the College of Health and Human Services. All three programs will attract prospective EIU students when they are first offered beginning in Fall 2024, and will be further complemented by a faculty initiative in the Department of Public Health and Nutrition to create a master’s degree resulting in an accelerated Registered Dietitian credential.
New program offerings are but one component of EIU’s Plan 2028 initiatives. Four interconnected themes—Achieve, Engage, Create, and Resource—ensure EIU remains deliberately focused on every element of the EIU experience, from recruitment and retention through classroom, commencement and career placement. Plan 2028 was only recently adopted by EIU’s Board of Trustees in summer 2023, but its 14 strategic initiatives and 35 intentional activities serve as institutional guideposts for where students, employees, and community members hope to take EIU in the future. That includes targeted increases to EIU’s overall enrollment through the 2027/28 academic year.
In that area, EIU is off to a good start. From spring 2017 to spring 2023, Eastern’s enrollment increased 31 percent across all state-mandated reporting categories, unlocking opportunities for future EIU graduates to contribute their personal and professional talents to their communities and to Illinois’ large and dynamic economy. This directly supports the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s strategic mission to support a thriving Illinois.
“EIU is aimed at purposeful, incremental enrollment increases consistently and over time. Our five-year progress is evident, but we are committed to doing even more. Enhancing enrollment will remain a top priority for EIU moving forward,” Norman said.
“Our continued commitment to Plan 2028 will allow us to reach even greater heights across all areas of the University, including in enrollment and student outcomes, faculty and staff support, academic innovation, and community engagement,” Gatrell added. “The future at EIU is very, very bright, and is made so by the passion we all have for this amazing University.”
EIU’s official spring 2024 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.
EIU prepares students to accomplish their life goals through a combination of quality academics, personal relationships, and both on-campus and online learning opportunities. For more information about Eastern Illinois University, including its broad array of academic and career readiness programs, or any of EIU’s other community-based services and opportunities, visit eiu.edu or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.