Spring enrollment declines, not uncommon


Jason Howell

Information from Eastern Illinois University Planning and Institutional Research

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

Eastern released the spring enrollment numbers, Thursday, showing a decrease in overall undergraduate enrollment and an increase in the number of international students and graduate students.

Blair Lord, vice president for academic affairs, said the decrease in enrollment between fall and spring semesters is not uncommon.

“I wouldn’t say it’s always normal because I haven’t gone back and looked at the statistics from 1893,” Lord said. “It is common, typical and regular in higher education generally that spring semester enrollments are less than the fall semester.”

Lord said the decrease in enrollment is expected, as a result of a variety of factors such as students graduating at the end of the fall or not coming back at all.

According to a press release sent out Thursday, overall enrollment at Eastern dropped from 8,520 to 7,876, which is a loss of 644 students.

“Except for schools that have big entering classes that start in the spring, which is not typical for a school like Eastern, you tend to see a larger fall enrollment than you do in the spring,” Lord said.

Despite the decrease in overall enrollment, Lord said the university did better than expected and compared to the last school year enrollment was only down by 4.1 percent.

“We did better than we thought we would,” Lord said. “That looks decidedly better than what we ordinarily expected and I’m pleased with that.”

Yet, the number of international students and graduate students saw an increase in enrollment.

“We are by far at a record for international students then before and we’re expecting that to continue to grow,” Lord said.

Lord said the university is attractive to international students because of several majors the university offers.

According to the press release, this includes majors in the fields of technology, business, sustainable energy, economics, biological sciences, and kinesiology and sports studies.

Lord said graduate enrollment, which was at a five percent increase according to the press release, was very unusual for Eastern but it is a favorable sign for the university.

“There are some areas that have done very well and we are very pleased,” Lord said.

Lord said overall the university is still challenged by domestic students.

“Everybody is facing an uphill climb,” Lord said.

As for the budget impasse, Lord said the effect on next year’s student class will likely be negative the longer it continues.

However, Lord said there will be a budget by the next fiscal year but does not know what fall semester enrollment will look like.

According to the press release, Eastern’s enrollment for freshmen dropped from 1,673 in Fall 2015 to 1,084; the sophomore enrollment dropped from 1,295 to 1,143; junior enrollment fell from 1,791 to 1,655; senior enrollment increased from 2,385 to 2,562; the number of post-baccalaureate undergraduates dropped from 58 to 49; and graduate students enrollment increased from 1,318 to 1,383.

 The press release said Eastern continues to attract a diverse student, with minorities representing nearly 25 percent of Eastern’s enrollment.

There was a steady increase in enrollment for out-of-state residents and in Fall 2011 students from states bordering Ill. pay the same in-sate tuition rate, according to the press release.


Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]