Illinois State University’s freshman class grew by 10 percent this fall as recruiters fought off out-of-state competition and uncertainty about the state budget.
ISU has 3,689 freshmen on campus this fall. That’s the largest freshman class in several years, including a recent run of record enrollments.
“We are proud to have so many young men and women choose Illinois State to be their home for the next four years,” Jana Albrecht, associate vice president of enrollment management, said in a statement Wednesday. “This year’s freshmen class is the second-largest class in the last 25 years, and they are replacing one of the largest graduating classes in recent history.
"These new students are joining a campus full of caring faculty, staff, and other students," Albrecht added. "We look forward to watching these students grow and succeed in an environment that will challenge them academically while still being friendly and welcoming.”
Total enrollment at ISU dipped slightly to 20,635 students, or 149 fewer students than this time last year. That’s a decline of 0.7 percent. ISU President Larry Dietz explained that the decrease in total students resulted from graduating one of the largest classes in ISU history in May—around 4,200 students.
ISU's incoming students have an average ACT score of 24. Dietz said he's pleased with the numbers and that he wants quality over quantity.
“We don’t compromise our admissions standards to get our numbers," Dietz said on GLT's Sound Ideas.
Around 25 percent of ISU's student body now comes from traditionally underrepresented groups. The total number of black students (up 7 percent) and Hispanic students (up 5 percent) both increased this fall. There has been a slight increase of international students.
“Our international numbers we knew would be modest this fall. We have had an increase as a result of our involvement with our INTO program of about 65 students," Dietz said.
With students coming from places such as Taiwan, India, and Vietnam, Dietz expects the university's international program to grow in the next two years.
ISU released its numbers Wednesday as the 10th day of enrollment arrived—typically when universities officially tally up their student bodies. Here’s how other schools are doing:
- Eastern Illinois – Total enrollment 7,526, up 7 percent. Freshman class up 24 percent.
- Southern Illinois Carbondale – Total enrollment 12,817, down 11.9 percent. Freshman class down 23.8 percent.
- Southern Illinois Edwardsville – Total enrollment 13,281, down 3.7 percent. Freshman class down 4.6 percent.
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