CUPB discusses enrollment, budget concerns

AJ Fournier, City Reporter

The Council on University Planning and Budgeting discussed concerns about enrollment and Eastern’s future at its first meeting Friday.

Eastern President David Glassman said enrollment was reduced by about 1,000 students this semester, but it could have been worse.

Glassman said the plan now is to focus on moving the university forward to get greater enrollment numbers in the future.

However, rumors from both social media and word-of-mouth about the university closing caused the enrollment to drop, Glassman said, and as a result new students did not think Eastern would be open.

He added that social media might have hurt the enrollment numbers, but social media can also turn them around by getting people excited for Eastern.

Glassman said he thinks in two to three years, enrollment will go back up, and the university will have more funds.

Glassman said marketing Eastern is a big issue and the university is trying to get the word out about the university.

“We have four Rural King trucks that will be driving all over Illinois and neighboring states that are fully dressed in EIU apparel,” Glassman said.

The 17-foot trucks show pictures of graduation and have Eastern’s image and logo on them.

The trucks were donated to Eastern, with the university only having to pay for the decal on three of the four trucks because one was donated by the Alumni Association.

Gloria Leitschuh, a professor in counseling and student development, said when she first started at Eastern in the 1990s, the university had a surplus of money.

“Our function has reversed,” Leitschuh said, “rather than advising on how the money should be spent, we’re advising on how the money should be saved.”

Because enrollment has gone down every year for the last ten years, and because of the state appropriation not giving Eastern higher amounts of money, Glassman said this is the reality.

Glassman also said SafeWise released their ranking on the safest college towns in America, with Charleston being ranked second.

This information is a benefit as Eastern markets itself because it shows parents of future new students that Charleston is a safe environment.

Blair Lord, Eastern’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, said Kelly Miller has taken over as director of admissions following the departure of Kara Hadley-Shakya.

Lord said the university was able to replace some admissions counselors who have previously departed over the years.

AJ Fournier can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]