September 04, 2018

SIU Carbondale enrolls strongest class of new students in recent history

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale welcomed its strongest class of first-time college students in recent history this fall. 

According to official fall 2018 enrollment data, the average ACT score for new students is 23.65, an increase of more than .8 percent over the previous year and the highest in at least 20 years. This is above both national and state averages and places SIU student scores among the top 26 percent nationally. 

“We have undertaken a planned, coordinated effort to attract and enroll students who can be successful at SIU Carbondale,” said Carlo Montemagno, the university’s chancellor. 

“We are attracting strong students who are coming for the high quality of our academic programs and the strength of our faculty,” Montemagno added. “We are in a rebuilding year. Strong students will attract strong students. This new class, plus an increase in freshman retention rates, are positive signals as we work to raise the profile of SIU and grow future enrollment.” 

This year’s student body is 53 percent male and 47 percent female. In line with the past few years, nearly 28 percent are minority, and more than 8 percent are international. 

“We are very proud of the diversity of our campus and the quality of our students,” Montemagno said. 

Focus on enrollment 

Total enrollment is 12,817, down 11.9 percent over fall 2017. 

Montemagno said the decline was expected as the university undergoes major changes intended to drive enrollment to 18,300 by 2025. 

“We knew that this year would be challenging, since many students are already seriously considering colleges in their junior year, and the recruitment season was well underway when we embarked on our transformation,” said Montemagno, who started in August 2017. “Our focus last year was on increasing the quality of new students, retention and positioning ourselves for the future. 

“We anticipate that we will see enrollment begin to turn around with next year’s freshman class,” he added. “Enrollment growth takes time, but we have the plans in place going forward.” 

Among the changes underway are an academic reorganization, exploration of new academic programs, new recruitment messages and strategies, and an increased focus on the total student experience. 

“We are already seeing signals that our evolution is having an impact,” Montemagno said. “Attendance at our open houses for prospective students has increased and applications for fall 2019 are already up over the previous year. We’re on the right track.”

For more information, please see the chancellor’s blog. 

Contact: Rae Goldsmith, Chief Communications Officer, SIU Carbondale, 618-303-9997 (cell)