CHARLESTON -- Enrollment at Eastern Illinois University increased for the second year in a row and included a nearly 100-student jump in first-time college students.

That's according to the 10-day enrollment figures the university released this week, showing an overall increase of 3.7% from a year ago.

The figure for the 10th day classes, the nationally accepted standard for tracking university and college enrollments, was 7,806 students compared to 7,526 in the fall of 2018, according to the university.

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Josh Norman, EIU's associate vice president of enrollment management, said the enrollment numbers are "extremely positive" overall, and especially promising within the east central Illinois region EIU primarily serves.

He said freshmen enrollment numbers included a 48% increase in students who live within 60 miles of Charleston.

“Once again, our freshman enrollment numbers have been phenomenal,” Norman said. “Clearly, EIU is reinforcing its reputation as a first-choice option for higher education in Illinois, and doing its part to keep Illinois’ best and brightest students right here in their home state.”

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The overall increase for this year's freshmen was 12.5%, a total of 888 compared to 789 a year ago, according to the university's announcement.

It also said the number of freshmen and sophomores enrolled in on-campus classes increased by 10%.

For 2019, the total number of undergraduate students increased by 3.6% to 6,229 and the number of graduate students increased 4.2% to 1,577, according to the university.

This year's enrollment increase follows one of just more than 7% a year ago, which was the first increase in a decade. Enrollment at the start of the spring semester in January also showed a 7% increase.

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In addition, the number of transfer students increased by 50% and international student enrollment increased slightly, the announcement said.

Jay Gatrell, the university's provost and vice president of academic affairs, said enrollment numbers benefited from offerings in dual credit and dual enrollment programs.

He said the programs help students reduce costs and accelerate degree completion rates.

"These options are growing in popularity because they offer busy students in-demand programs and flexible learning options for earning college credit while still in high school," Gatrell said.

Also in the announcement, EIU President David Glassman credited the university's faculty and staff for "tireless work" to help make Eastern "a first-choice option for higher education in Illinois."



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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