CHARLESTON — Eastern Illinois University’s 10-day enrollment report shows an 18-student, or .2 percent, decrease from last year.
“Nationally, the pandemic has created some enrollment unpredictability,” said Josh Norman, EIU associate vice president for enrollment management. “To see our Fall 2021 numbers stay steady while our region, state and nation navigated a global pandemic is extremely encouraging, and it just says so much about the phenomenal relationships we create with our students.”
The university is reporting an enrollment of 8,608 students.
EIU President David Glassman said in previous statements a “right-sized” enrollment for EIU should be around 9,000 students.
The new numbers show a growth in graduate enrollment and a decrease in undergraduate enrollment.
Enrollment for graduate programs, which includes graduate students and post-baccalaureate graduate students, increased from 1,657 in 2020 to 1,705 this fall. This includes 1,661 graduate students, which represents the university’s highest recorded number of graduate students since 2007. This is an increase of 2.9 percent.
“To see EIU’s highest graduate enrollment in almost 15 years speaks to the quality and appeal of our first-rate graduate programs,” said Ryan Hendrickson, L.M. Hamand Dean of the Graduate School. “Beyond that, it also speaks to the importance of higher education in general, and to the amplified demand for skilled workers with advanced degrees in an increasingly competitive global job market. For those reasons, EIU continues to represent excellence in education and unsurpassed value for our students and their families.”
Undergraduate enrollment this year was 6,903, down from 6,969 last year, a drop of .9 percent.
A 93-student drop in enrollment for freshman and sophomores is offset by an increase in students transferring-in to the university, said the report.
The university leaders expressed pride in student success and other retention-oriented efforts, many of which were created in the wake of the pandemic. These include EIU’s “Freshman Connection,” which paired freshmen with upperclassmen to help them form connections on-campus.
Freshmen students who participated in the Freshman Connection were retained at higher rates, said the report.
EIU plans to further improve retention by opening a centralized tutoring center to provide more support for students.
“Studies continue to demonstrate the importance of sustained engagement and high-profile academic assistance outside the classroom,” said Dr. Mona Davenport, Executive Director of the Office of Inclusion and Academic Excellence. “Those supports are the backbone of Eastern’s commitment to year-to-year retention, degree completion, and personal and professional achievement.”
Also included in the 10-day enrollment numbers is 399 international students, which is the second-highest amount in EIU history.
“Hosting 399 students from 51 countries allows our international students to bring an incredible depth of culture and diversity to our campus,” said Hendrickson, who also oversees the University’s Office of International Students and Scholars.
The university saw a 2.5 percent increase in total undergraduate transfer students enrolled, from 2,790 to 2,862, said the report.
The amount of students living on-campus grew by 133 students, or 2.9 percent.
“EIU continues to enjoy a phenomenal reputation for its value and excellence,” said EIU President David Glassman. “I want to extend my personal thanks to every single passionate EIU employee for their commitment to EIU, and to our amazing network of enthusiastic Eastern advocates. We pride ourselves on the relationships we create, and I’m beyond proud of everyone’s ‘ALL-IN’ dedication to student success.”