July 02, 2008

SIUC’s summer enrollment dips slightly

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Summer enrollment is down slightly at Southern Illinois University Carbondale compared to a year ago.

The official 10th day count showed a total enrollment of 9,265, compared to 9,460 last year, a drop of 195 students, or approximately 2 percent. Of the 9,265 students enrolled, 6,246 are undergraduates, compared to 6,345 a year ago.

Enrollment of graduate and professional students this summer is 3,019, a drop of 96 from last year’s total of 3,115.

The figures do not reflect students who enrolled after the 10th day, meaning that final numbers at the end of the summer term may in fact be 100 to 150 students higher.

University officials believe the nation’s economic situation, notably the continuing dramatic increase in gas prices, contributed to the small drop in enrollment. Some students may be spending the summer closer to home because of gas prices rather than commuting to campus.

In addition, there traditionally are fewer courses and services -- such as in University Housing -- available during the summer.

Fall enrollment numbers are running nearly even with last fall, when the University enrolled 20,983 students.

Earlier in the spring, Interim Chancellor Samuel Goldman appointed a broad-based committee to create a strategic, long-term enrollment plan. The group, chaired by Victoria Valle, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, includes faculty representatives, the directors of admissions, financial aid and records and registration, as well as the coordinator of the first-year experience program.

The committee is exploring various ideas as they relate to future enrollment, budgets, academic needs, financial assistance, housing, social concerns and retention. Once the plan is created, this group will continue to explore new options and recommend improvements.

“We are maintaining a very focused, strategic approach to enrollment and retention,” Goldman said. “This will remain a top priority for the entire campus community.”