September 04, 2012

SIU Carbondale releases fall enrollment numbers

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale, which offers the academic experience of a nationally ranked research university in a supportive, welcoming environment, today (Sept. 4) released official 10th day enrollment figures.

The number of first-time on-campus entering undergraduate students stands at 2,286; there are 1,816 students who transferred to SIU; and overall enrollment is 18,847. Last year at this time, the comparable figures were 2,344, 2,076, and 19,817.

Administrators are reviewing the data, but initially attribute the dip to a decrease in available financial aid, smaller new student classes in 2009 and 2010, and a decrease in students enrolled at area community colleges, which impacts the pool of students eligible to transfer. 

In a fuller context, though, the trend lines before recent months showed SIU had experienced four straight semesters of new student growth (Spring 2011-Spring 2012). Despite the dip, the number of first-time entering undergraduates is up by 58 students, or 2.6 percent, compared to two years ago. Moreover, SIU saw an increase in interest among new freshmen in 2012, evidenced by a 5 percent increase in admissions over 2011. The enrollment of international undergraduates is up 16 percent this fall.

In the two years prior to 2010, enrollment among new first-time students fell by -12.9 percent. Since 2010, the University has experienced an increase of +2.6 percent. Until the smaller junior and senior classes graduate, the impact of 2008-09 and 2009-10 will continue to affect overall enrollment, even with recent gains.

"We have increased our efforts on recruitment and retention to make sure everyone knows about our academic programs, research efforts and other initiatives," Chancellor Rita Cheng said. "The increase in admitted students shows that we are getting the SIU story out there."

The number of new first-time students increased in six of SIU's eight colleges. In addition, the average high school class rank and average GPA among this year's freshmen is up compared to both 2011 and 2010.

"We will continue to be unrelenting in maintaining and improving the student experience on campus, which includes increasing student support services through University College, reexamining our financial aid offerings, and refurbishing campus buildings, classrooms and grounds," she said. "Of course, we are facing a national economic crisis, changes in state and federal funding, and a decreasing population of prospective students in our region, which can challenge even our best efforts."

SIU faculty and staff are dedicated to enhancing the student experience. Services available to freshmen include SIU's Saluki First Year program, which helps students make the transition from high school to college life and is part of the University College. This model centralizes and coordinates all services supporting new freshman and transfer students to further enhance student success.

The Princeton Reviewrecently named SIU as one of its "Best in the Midwest" colleges. The selection was based on SIU's excellent academic programs and what students attending reported about their campus experiences through a student survey. SIU is also ranked by U.S News and World Report among Tier 1 National Universities.