CHARLESTON -- Eastern Illinois University students head to classes Monday for the start of the fall semester with a noticeable change: The university will see more attendees walking the campus.
University leaders are expecting an increase in overall headcount, a first in at least decade.
For years, the university struggled with sharp drops in enrollment numbers, exacerbated by external forces like the state budget impasse that froze funds to state universities. Over the course of a few years, EIU faculty and staff have worked to turn that trend around.
EIU's enrollment is projected to increase overall in the fall for the first time in a decade, riding a continued momentum of success, said Josh Norman, EIU’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management.
This time around, the numbers will be more representative of the other student populations including freshmen, transfers and graduates, Norman said. He noted freshman numbers are expected to see a 25 percent increase.
"We are really excited about 10th day numbers," he said. "I cant wait... You can feel (a momentum) on campus."