With the promise of a state budget that offers a two percent increase in appropriations for Eastern, the freshmen enrollment is also expected to increase for Fall 2018.
Josh Norman, the associate vice president for enrollment management, said freshmen deposits are up 28 percent from last year.
Last fall freshmen enrollment dropped about 14 percent from 739 freshmen in 2016 to 634 in 2017. In Fall 2015 freshmen enrollment was at 1,085.
Norman said this year is a “turn around” point for enrollment and said the goal is to have more than 750 freshmen enrolled.
Eastern President David Glassman said, the admissions office has been working hard all year, Eastern has increased marketing across the state and now since Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a $38.5 billion budget into law, he said the university is heading in the right direction.
Though it is expected that there will be a significant increase in the number of incoming freshmen, Glassman said it could take anywhere from five to seven years before Eastern can see overall enrollment numbers between nine or ten thousand.
Glassman said, although it is not a fast increase, it will be consistent.
When asked how many years it will take before Eastern can be “where it used to be,” in terms of enrollment Paul McCann, the interim vice president of business affairs, said there is no right answer.
He said the thing to take into consideration is the comparison of the freshmen class to the graduating class and how many freshmen are needed to make up for the students who leave the university.
McCann said he is hoping that by 2020 that gap between incoming students and exiting students is balanced and by 2022 the number on incoming compared to students who leave starts to grow.
“The answer is, we still have a lot of work to do,” McCann said.
The numbers for transfer students and international students are still up in the air. Norman and Glassman said it is hard to tell what the numbers will be for international students because of changing visa requirements and restrictions.
Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]