September 04, 2007

Focus on enrollment pays dividends

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Enrollment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale increased in several key areas this fall, setting the stage for future growth.

University officials today (Tuesday, Sept. 4) announced their analysis of SIUC's 10-day enrollment numbers, which give administrators an official head count of students. SIU President Glenn Poshard said key categories, including freshman and overall campus enrollment, showed significant increases, helping reverse a decline in enrollment at the University.

"This is all wonderful news, and it reflects a total focus and extensive effort on the part of many people," Poshard said. "I am especially pleased to see an increase in the number of students from Southern Illinois. As we keep saying, this University should be their top choice."

University officials said the increases show the "pipelines" feeding students into SIUC are filling up, an important indicator that new efforts to reverse declining enrollment are working.

The number of freshmen, for example, is up by 12 percent, while overall on-campus enrollment increased by 303 students, or about 2 percent. Almost every academic college at SIUC also showed gains. Transfer students also increased by about 4 percent. In addition, housing contracts are up 9 percent.

A gain in students from the Southern Illinois area also marked an important milestone for SIUC enrollment, officials said. The University has redoubled its efforts in recruiting local students, including the recent opening of several System Service Centers in regional community colleges that will help direct students into the SIU system after they finish their studies there.

The numbers reflect enrollment as of Friday, Aug. 31.

"As President Poshard said, these increases are the result of hard work by people across the campus," SIUC Chancellor Fernando M. Treviño said. "We have every reason to be confident that we are headed in the right direction."

The University experienced a 317-student drop in its off-campus programs, most of which is made up of military personnel taking classes on their base. Officials attributed the nearly 13 percent drop in that category to the large number of troops shipped overseas in recent months. They expect that trend to reverse when that changes.

Even with the drop in military program enrollment, overall enrollment slipped by just 20 students to 20,983 from 21,003 at the same time last year.