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Illinois State enrollment matches target

Students on the Quad

Students on campus during the first two weeks of the fall 2012 semester at Illinois State.

For the 16th consecutive year, Illinois State University’s total fall enrollment is above 20,000.

After last year’s 20-year high, enrollment has moderated to meet the university’s comfort zone of between 20,000 and 21,000 students. Release of 10th day enrollment figures show the University has matched its target with 20,502 students.

“We are right where we want to be,” said President Al Bowman. “Even with increased competition for fewer students and the challenging economy, Illinois State continues to be successful in attracting high achieving students.”

This year’s enrollment also follows the Illinois State University Board of Trustees’ policy of holding enrollment to between 20,000 and 21,000 students. That number allows Illinois State to retain its student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1, which means the University can maintain smaller class sizes and meet housing needs.

Boosting enrollment to make up for eroding state funding is not part of Illinois State’s strategy, Bowman said.

“As the state’s investment in public higher education continues to decline, student tuition is an important source of revenue, but admitting more students to get revenue is unfair to them,” he said. “Our students deserve smaller class sizes and we’re committed to offering classes that are taught by professors.”

Illinois State has maintained the quality of the applicant pool while increasing diversity of the freshman class, said Jonathan Rosenthal, associate provost for undergraduate education. Average ACT scores are near 24, with an average high school grade point average of 3.37. “In a competitive recruiting environment, the fact that we’re able to attract and enroll such high quality students signals the strength of Illinois State,” Rosenthal said. “Illinois State continues to provide the premiere undergraduate experience in the state.”

Diversity also increased with the new freshman class. Minority students comprise 21.6 percent – a jump from 18.9 last year. The largest increase comes from an additional 52 Hispanic students, a 23 percent rise from last fall.

Five-Year Averages Reflect Stability/Quality at Illinois State

5-year enrollment average: 20,730

5-year ACT composite average: 24

5-year freshman-to-sophomore retention average: 84.1 percent

Total Illinois State University enrollment, Fall 2012

Undergraduate students: 18,207

Graduate students: 2,295

Freshmen: 3,088

Transfers: 1,876

Students from underrepresented groups: 3,384

Enrollment by College

  • College of Applied Science and Technology: 4,069
  • College of Arts and Sciences: 6,195
  • College of Business: 3,358
  • College of Education: 2,771
  • College of Fine Arts: 1,184
  • Mennonite College of Nursing: 559
  • Undeclared: 2,048