Illinois State University continues to see record-breaking enrollment numbers, despite an increasingly competitive recruiting environment and an ongoing state budget crisis. For the third year in a row, Illinois State has a record-breaking freshman class, and has seen growth in the number of transfer and graduate students. The University’s total enrollment has also topped 21,000 students.

President talks to media

President Larry Dietz talks about Illinois State’s enrollment during Tuesday’s press conference. At right are new freshmen Kharisma Thomas and Ben Henson.

The fall 2016 freshman class has 3,638 students, a 1.5 percent growth (52 students) over fall 2015, making it the University’s largest freshman class in the past 27 years. The number of transfer students has increased by 2 percent (44 students) over the previous fall semester. The number of graduate students enrolled has also risen by 6 percent (48 students).

Total enrollment as of the 10th class day at Illinois State is up by 1.1 percent to 21,039, a growth of 232 students over the previous fall semester.

“Illinois State’s record-setting enrollment growth is a testament to the University’s strong reputation for academic quality and student support,” said President Larry Dietz. “Students have chosen Illinois State because they recognize the value of the education they receive here. Our continuing trend of strong enrollment numbers is cause for celebration, especially in the midst of a highly competitive student recruiting environment and a state budget crisis that has had a chilling impact on public universities.”

“Illinois State’s record-setting enrollment growth is a testament to the University’s strong reputation for academic quality and student support.” —Larry Dietz

The academic quality of this year’s freshman class remains strong with a high school GPA of 3.4 on a 4.0 scale and an average ACT score near 24. This fall’s freshman class includes 217 students with an ACT score of 30 or higher, an increase of 3 percent (6 students).

“These enrollments are a credit to the teamwork across campus to attract talented students and see them through to graduation,” said Troy Johnson, associate vice president of Enrollment Management. “Our exceptionally high graduation rates show our commitment to students and to the state of Illinois. When you’re successful, students want to be part of that success and we’re fortunate that way this fall.”

Troy Johnson speaks at podium

Troy Johnson, right, associate vice president of Enrollment Management, stands with Admissions and Financial Aid Office staff during Tuesday’s press conference.

About one-fifth of the student population comes from traditionally underrepresented groups. The University is seeing a 9 percent increase in Hispanic students (159 more than in fall 2015) and a 10 percent increase in the number of African-American students (150 more than last fall).

The University’s graduation rate of 73.4 percent puts it among the top 10 percent of colleges and universities in the country. Student success after graduation is also reflected in the University’s low student loan default rate of 2.8 percent.

“I’m extremely proud of our staff in Enrollment Management, Admissions, Financial Aid, the University Registrar’s office, University College, and University Housing for their hard work in recruiting another incoming class of motivated and academically talented students, and helping them to transition into their lives here at Illinois State,” said Dietz.

Total Illinois State University enrollment, Fall 2016
Total: 21,039
Undergraduate students: 18,643
Graduate students: 2,396
Freshmen: 3,638
Transfer students: 1,955

Watch video from Tuesday’s press conference at Hovey Hall: