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Freshman, overall enrollment up at ISU in new academic year

ISU students on a sidewalk
Cindy Le
Total enrollment — at 20,989 — is up by 1.5% at Illinois State University, according to data released Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023.

With over 4,000 freshman students on-campus this fall, Illinois State University is marking an enrollment high not reached since 1986.

ISU officials release enrollment totals once the data is more finalized following days of classes. Data released on Thursday show a total of 4,147 freshmen, marking a 4% increase from the prior academic year. Total enrollment — at 20,989 — is up by 1.5%, according to ISU.

"We did see an increase in applications early on, so we were hopeful this would be the case," said Jana Albrecht, associate vice president for enrollment management. "Our spring events were all full, which is usually a good sign that things are going well."

Other enrollment figures include:

  • 1,814 transfer students (up around 2%)
  • 2,539 graduate students
  • 741 international students

Albrecht said the university has increased the number of community-based organizations that it works with throughout the state.

"That has been really successful in the past couple of years," she said regarding new student enrollment.

Nearly a third of ISU's freshman class this year include first-generation college students; 41% of that class are students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.

This is the third year that all 12 of Illinois' public universities have been included on the Common App, a system that allows students to fill out one application that can be sent to any of those universities. Albrecht said in 2022, ISU saw an increase of thousands of applications as a result.

Figures from ISU's most recent Common Data Set indicate the university has an applicant acceptance rate of over 91%.

When ISU welcomed 3,983 freshman students in 2022, Albrecht said there was a concern among some that a significant number of those students would transfer out. Exact figures were not immediately available Thursday, but Albrecht said the forecast is positive.

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Lyndsay Jones is a reporter at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021. You can reach her at lljone3@ilstu.edu.
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