By Blake Haas
NORMAL – Illinois State University’s fall enrollment declined slightly from the last academic year, while graduate student enrollment is up over the past year.
The University welcomed 3,353 first-year students to campus, which is down from 3,860 students. The campus population includes 17,980 undergraduates, while the fall enrollment of 2,733 graduate students is up 4% over the past year.
On the 10th day of class, ISU reported a total enrollment of 20,720, which is down 0.8% from last year. Jana Albrecht, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, says COVID-19 played a part in the decline of enrollment.
“I think you could say that is part of it because our new freshman class is down from usually 3,500 to 3,600 students. So the incoming freshman class is a little bit down. Some of the conversations that we’ve had with students and families is that they have more concerns this year about finances, and many of them are going to community colleges. The good news for ISU is that we are a transfer-friendly institution, so those students are still very excited about ISU. They just decided to maybe wait a year or two years.”
ISU recorded the second-highest honors class and the third-highest percentage of racially diverse students in school history.
“We begin the 2020-2021 academic year in a world changed by COVID-19,” ISU President Larry Dietz said in a news release. “Illinois State’s strong fall enrollment figures attest to the University’s commitment to providing an excellent educational experience and individualized attention, even during the most challenging circumstances.’
Official enrollment figures were computed after the 10th day of classes.
Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.Haas@Cumulus.com.