Despite having the largest number of fall graduates in its history, Eastern Illinois University's spring enrollment remains high.
A total of 11,336 students are enrolled in on- and off-campus classes, making Spring 2007 the second largest spring enrollment period in the university's history. Enrollment figures hit a record-breaking 11,414 one year ago - a difference of 78 students.
A breakdown of Eastern's total Spring 2007 student enrollment is as follows (with Spring 2006 figures in parentheses): undergraduate students, 9,616 (9,687) - freshmen, 1,881 (1,814); sophomores, 1,826 (1,968); juniors, 2,519 (2,612); and seniors, 3,390 (3,293). Graduate students number 1,720, a decrease of seven from last year's 1,727.
President Lou Hencken, while pleased with the enrollment numbers as a whole, acknowledged that they predict some of the challenges that lie ahead for the university.
"As you look at the individual class numbers and realize what a large number of seniors we have enrolled, you see we have good news and we have reasons for concern," he said.
"The good news is that our students are graduating and that, of course, is a prime objective for students when they enroll. They come to Eastern for its promise of a quality education, and that's what we give them," Hencken added.
(Eastern Illinois University's graduation rate [percent of students who graduate within six years of enrollment] currently stands at 61 percent, higher than the national average of 56 percent.)
In light of the large number of seniors currently enrolled, Hencken anticipates this spring's graduation class "will be one of the largest -- if not THE largest -- graduation class in Eastern's history."
That, however, brings Hencken to his next point. "The university will need to remain diligent in its recruiting efforts," he said.
Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs, agrees with Hencken's call to continue vigorous recruiting efforts. "There are many factors which affect students' choice of schools. We cannot and will not become complacent as we seek to attract students who will find Eastern to be a good match for them."
Spring 2007 numbers also indicated an increase in the number of students enrolled in continuing education courses. This year there are 23 more students -- a 2.03 percent increase over a year ago -- taking such classes either at the university's satellite locations or on the Charleston campus.
"Off-campus programs continue to grow for the fourth straight semester in a row," said Will Hine, dean of Eastern's School of Continuing Education. "These numbers indicate the continuing strong demand for off-campus courses by the adult citizens of the state of Illinois."
Minorities represent nearly 11.18 percent of Eastern's total enrollment. As a whole, the number of minorities increased from 1,196 to 1,268. Those enrollments, broken down, are as follows: African-American, 826 (780); Hispanic, 258 (250); Asian/Pacific Islander, 144 (138); and American Indian/Alaskan Native, 40 (28).
The number of international students attending Eastern also increased, with 154 enrolled in Spring 2007. The number a year ago was 137.