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Education and Family

ISU Enrollment Signs Encouraging

Homecoming parade at ISU
Carleigh Gray
ISU Enrollment signs are at or above last year's markers, according to President Larry Dietz.

Illinois State University leaders said projections show enrollment will be just fine in the fall term.

Many universities in Illinois have seen falling enrollments for years because of demographic trends and funding instability. The institutional stress that has placed on universities has even helped precipitate a leadership change at Southern Illinois University.

ISU has not suffered any huge swing. University President Larry Dietz has told the Board of Trustees the fall term will also be OK.

"We graduated a large class this last May, one of the largest ones in history. So, replacing all those folks is indeed a challenge. But it appears at this point the overall enrollment this fall will be very close, if not slightly above, overall enrollment last year," said Dietz.

Southern, Eastern, and Western Illinois universities have all had layoffs, building closures, and program cuts because of enrollment declines.

But Dietz said ISU is still OK.

Dietz said Preview orientation attendance was up 8 percent, a signal those enrolled plan to show up when school starts.

"As of July 23, deposits for the fall semester are running 9 percent ahead of the same time last year," said Dietz.

Dietz also said ISU is on pace to have 34 percent of its student body composed of underrepresented backgrounds, a historic high.

ISU and most public universities depend almost entirely on tuition dollars for operations. State appropriations have fallen to about 15 percent of the ISU budget, Dietz told trustees Friday.

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