January 31, 2012

Cheng: Enrollment 'exceeds our expectations'

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Spring semester enrollment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale stands at 18,442.

 “This number exceeds our expectations, considering the smaller fall enrollment and the usual adjustments for students who graduate or leave during the Fall semester,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said.  “I am especially encouraged by the largest increase in new undergraduates in more than six years and a sharp uptick in new international students.” 

“Growing our enrollment is a long-term effort.  Important student success efforts, including the University College and new approaches to teaching and learning in some of our math and English courses, are in their initial phases.”

So, too, is the University’s marketing initiative, which launched last fall.

“We are getting positive feedback to our new recruitment materials, billboards, TV and radio spots, and web advertising,” she said.  “The focus is on awareness-building, emphasizing our incredible academic and research strengths.  We also are looking at specific programs that we can highlight in unique ways for prospective students.”

Cheng noted a number of positive signs in the spring report.  There are 99 new on-campus undergraduates, compared to 85 a year ago.  

On-campus international enrollment is up by 77 students, a 6.4 percent increase.  The number of international undergraduates increased from 273 a year ago to 354 this semester, a jump of 29.7 percent.

Total off-campus enrollment held steady, increasing by seven students to 2,072.  Within that category there is significant growth in the number of students enrolling in distance education, 349 students compared to 313 a year ago, an increase of 11.5%

Undergraduate enrollment in the College of Science is up by 83 students, an increase of 7.3 percent.  Key areas of growth include the biological sciences and computer science majors.

Other colleges showing increases are Engineering, Agricultural Sciences, and Applied Sciences and Arts. The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts also recorded an increase, fueled by a jump of 54 students in radio-television.

Spring enrollment of Master’s and Law School students reflects the smaller classes in the fall.  There are 2,757 master’s degree students, a drop of 32 compared to a year ago; 355 law students, 16 fewer than last spring; while the number of doctoral students, 1,224, increased by 13 students.