September 07, 2010

Fall enrollment stands at 20,037, down 1.5 percent

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Fall enrollment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale stands at 20,037 students, a drop of 1.5 percent compared to the fall 2009 enrollment of 20,350.

Based on nationwide data, University officials expected “softness” in the freshman and sophomore classes, which are down 135 and 172 students, respectively, compared to a year ago.

“The age group of traditional freshmen is declining across the country,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “With that in mind, we have been strengthening our efforts in working with the community colleges in the area, and we are seeing improvement in transfer student enrollment. We will continue building on that.”

There are 122 more transfer students on campus this fall, a 7.9 percent increase over a year ago.

The number of juniors is up 52 compared to a year ago, and the number of seniors is down 145.

Enrollment in the Graduate School stands at 4,162, an increase of 111 students.

“We will analyze all of the enrollment data very carefully as part of our ongoing review of our student recruitment strategies,” Cheng said. “We are continuing to sharpen our message to reflect our strengths in academics and in research, and our focus on student success.”

John W. Nicklow, interim assistant provost in charge of Enrollment Management, said, “I am pleased with the progress we have made in some areas, and I am excited to meet the challenges we have in others.”

He noted that Enrollment Management is already implementing plans and new technologies in an effort to meet goals for 2011.

“We have incredible opportunities for students on this campus,” he added. “Matching new and continuing students to those opportunities will be our focus in an effort to improve campus-wide enrollment.”

The number of international students continues to grow, with 1,222 on campus this fall, an increase of 6.8 percent over a year ago. Of that number, 290 are undergraduates, an increase of 69 students. The number of freshmen is up 27; sophomores are up 21; juniors are up eight; and seniors are up by 13 students.

“That is a significant positive trend,” Cheng said. “Once international students enroll with us, they remain here to complete their degrees.”

In the Graduate School, international student enrollment stands at 930, an increase of 28 students. There also are two international students enrolled in the law school.

Total off-campus enrollment, which includes programs serving military personnel at 29 locations across the country, is up 19 students to 2,041. While off-campus Graduate School enrollment is up by 101 students, the number of off-campus undergraduates is down by 81. One off-campus student was enrolled in the law school last year, but none is this year. University officials expect an increase in enrollment of military personnel when the new federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. Distance education programs currently in development will also contribute to off-campus enrollment.