September 08, 2009

SIUC releases fall ’09 enrollment figures

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Official 10th day figures released today (Sept. 8) show a total enrollment of 20,350 students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, compared to 20,673 at this time a year ago, a drop of only 1.6 percent. On-campus enrollment stands at 18,328, and off-campus enrollment is 2,022.

There are 15,551 undergraduates enrolled this semester, compared to 15,980 a year ago, a drop of 429 students, or 2.7 percent. The number of freshmen increased by 56 students, and sophomore enrollment went up by 132. There are 231 fewer juniors and 362 fewer seniors enrolled compared to fall 2008.

Enrollment in the School of Law stands at 393, an increase of 26 students over a year ago. At the School of Medicine, enrollment is 293 students. The number of graduate students increased by 82; this fall’s total is 4,051 compared to 3,969 a year ago.

“I would rather that we were in the plus column of enrollment growth, but given the many challenges we had to face in this very atypical year, we did reasonably well,” Chancellor Samuel Goldman said. “We are headed in the right direction and we have already begun planning for next year’s recruitment efforts.”

He praised the admissions recruitment staff and the college deans for extensive efforts aimed at recruiting and retaining students.

“The fact our sophomore class not just returned, but is larger than a year ago, says we are doing many good things,” Goldman said. “Overall, the general direction for enrollment is very positive.”

Applications from five surrounding states were up by 176, led by Missouri and Indiana. Beginning this fall, SIUC is offering a tuition rate equal to one times the in-state rate to students from Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.

“We expect to see continued positive trends in those five states as we step up our targeted marketing, particularly in St. Louis, Evansville, Nashville, Memphis and the Paducah area,” Goldman said.

He also is confident that a variety of new programs, campus-wide and within specific colleges, will contribute to student recruitment and retention. SIUC introduced two programs this fall focused on student success. Saluki First Year is a comprehensive program that helps first-time freshmen make a successful transition from high school and become acclimated to the University. Next year, the expanded focus will include first-year transfer students.

Also new this fall is Saluki Cares, a campus-wide program offering support and care for students, regardless of the problem or issue. This is an early alert initiative in which faculty, staff, parents, other students, or even a student experiencing difficulties, can submit a confidential referral. In turn, someone from the Saluki Cares team will connect them with appropriate resources.

The constant addition of new academic programs enhances the already extensive variety of career options available to students. For example, through a partnership with the SIU Edwardsville School of Nursing, SIUC is now offering nursing classes. The number of students enrolled in the pre-nursing program in the College of Science this fall jumped by 40.

Among other new programs is a dual enrollment initiative between the Department of Aviation Technologies, in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ School of Transportation, and Shawnee Community College.

As a doctoral/research-extensive university, SIUC offers more than 60 master’s and 30 doctoral programs. Extensive research opportunities are available to undergraduates as well, including the Research Enriched Academic Challenge, Saluki Research Rookies and the McNair Scholars Program. In addition, students can take advantage of undergraduate assistantships, which offer paraprofessional experience in students’ majors.

John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and graduate dean, is pleased with the 2 percent increase in Graduate School enrollment.

“Most of the increase is at the doctoral level (6 percent), and much of that with international students (5 percent),” he said. “This suggests that our reputation as a research university continues to rise.”

Here are the undergraduate numbers by college:

• Agricultural Sciences: Enrollment is 882 this fall, compared to 822 a year ago, an increase of 60 students, or 7.3 percent.

• Applied Sciences and Arts: Enrollment in bachelor’s degree programs is 1,699, compared to 1,713 a year ago, a drop of 14 students, or .8 percent. Enrollment in associate programs stands at 234 students, compared to 252 a year ago, a drop of 18 students, or 7.1 percent. However, many of the associate programs are in “teach-out” mode as they will no longer be offered.

• Business: Enrollment is 1,467, compared to 1,541 a year ago, a drop of 74 students, or 4.8 percent.

• Education and Human Resources: Enrollment is 2,028 compared to 2,027 a year ago, an increase of one student.

• Engineering: Enrollment is 896 compared to 899 a year ago, a drop of 3 students, or .3 percent.

• Liberal Arts: Enrollment stands at 2,844 students compared to 2,861 a year ago, a drop of 17 students, or .6 percent.

• Mass Communication and Media Arts: Enrollment is 866 students, compared to 964 a year ago, a drop of 98 students or 10 percent.

• Science: Enrollment is 1,271 this fall, compared to 1,243 a year ago, an increase of 28 students or 2.3 percent.