Overall student enrollment up for spring semester

Cassie Buchman, Editor-in-Chief

Overall spring enrollment went up from 6,673 students in Spring 2017 to 7,016 in Spring 2018, making for a five percent increase according to tenth day numbers.

This includes increases of 13 to 24 for first-time freshmen students, 153 to 192 for first-time domestic graduate students and 260 to 1,335 undergraduate transfer students.

Included in the undergraduate transfer numbers are those students in high school taking dual credit courses through Eastern.

“Each student is being counted as a student enrolled at the university,” Josh Norman, associate vice president for enrollment management, said. “This is how many students are enrolled at Eastern Illinois University. That’s why they’re being counted that way.”

Roughly 1,000 of the 1,335 transfer students being counted are in the dual credit category, the rest of the around 335 being students who transferred to Eastern.

Because dual credit classes are fairly new, Norman said they went to the Illinois Board of Higher Education to see how to count students who are enrolled in these courses.

Norman said applications have doubled compared to last year from every institution where dual credit courses are taking place.

“We have really gone out of our way to make those folks (from the high schools) feel like they are part of EIU,” Norman said. “That’s really going to help us going forward.”

Norman attributed the jump in enrollment to these dual credit classes, an increase in scholarships as well as new programs, services, outreach and marketing initiatives designed to recruit more students. These ideas came from enrollment groups on campus as well as the vitalization project, he said.

One area that did go down is new international students, both undergraduate and graduate.

The main issue in this area is that students are getting their visas denied.

“It’s not that they don’t want to come, they can’t because visas are not being issued,” Norman said.

The biggest growth seen was in online and domestic graduate students, which made up for the loss in international grad students.

Going forward, Norman is trying to be “cautiously optimistic,” about future enrollment prospects.

“The trend of our increases in new student populations, I’m convinced is going to continue into fall 2018 based on indicators I can see,” he said. “Our freshman admits are up higher than they’ve been (at this) point in time in ten years. Our marketing and branding efforts, our new scholarships, campus support and advocacy are all culminating to pay off.”

Norman said it is this awareness that Eastern had previously been missing.

“We’ve had no tool to shape perception- if you’re not shaping the narrative, you’re letting everyone else define it, so that’s been huge,” he said.

Though the migration of Illinois students to other states has been a problem in past years, Norman said Eastern has initiatives both to keep students in state and to bring students in from places such as Ind. and Mo.

“We’ve got target markets out of state, we’re growing applications out of those areas at a good clip,” he said. “The next step is commitment.”

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]