September 05, 2017

SIU Carbondale enrollment declines, quality of freshman class continues to increase

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Official fall 2017 enrollment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is 14,554, a decline of 8.96 percent over 2016.

New chancellor Carlo Montemagno, who started August 15, said the anticipated decline comes as the university is undertaking a comprehensive review of programs and processes with the goal of increasing future enrollment.

Montemagno said he sees positive signs in a continuing increase in ACT scores for new freshmen and ongoing growth in freshman retention rates.

“These increases signal that we can continue to build on our efforts to attract outstanding students to SIU,” he said. “I am confident that we can rebuild enrollment by clearly identifying ourselves as a comprehensive doctoral research university – the only one of our kind in our region. As the flagship of the SIU system, we will reassert our position as a leader in research, an innovator in education and an enabler of prosperity.”

In addition to increasing enrollment, the university will continue to build the quality of the student body while maintaining its longstanding commitment to diversity, Montemagno said.

“Growing enrollment must be a collaborative effort,” he added. “It will take several years to manifest our success.”

Montemagno said there are multiple reasons for recent enrollment declines, including the state budget impasse, but he added that “reasons cannot become excuses.”

“Instead, they should motivate us to work together to make the changes necessary to go forward,” he said. “In my few weeks here, I have been impressed by the positive energy I find at SIU. Our faculty, staff, alumni, friends and community are committed to SIU’s success.  We need to harness that energy and commitment around a shared vision for our future.”

A first step is the restructuring of recruitment and retention initiatives to build an enrollment management unit that will work across campus and report directly to the chancellor, Montemagno said. A review of academic programs and enhanced outreach and marketing efforts are also underway.