Eastern student count shows 0.2 percent drop


Corryn Brock, Editor-in-Chief

Eastern is reporting a 0.2 percent drop in total enrollment for the Fall 2021 semester, according to a press release from Thursday afternoon. This equates to a drop of 18 students.

The university called this drop “predictable” and said enrollment remained stable with 8,608 students total enrolled at the university.

“Nationally, the pandemic has created some enrollment unpredictability,” said Josh Norman, Eastern’s associate vice president for enrollment management, according to the press release. “To see our Fall 2021 numbers stay steady while our region, state and nation navigated a global pandemic is extremely encouraging, and it just says so much about the phenomenal relationships we create with our students.”

The number of undergraduate students at Eastern dropped by 168.

The number of graduate-level students increased by 48 students since Fall 2020. The total number of graduate students, 1,705 students, is the highest the graduate student enrollment has been since 2007.

“To see EIU’s highest graduate enrollment in almost 15 years speaks to the quality and appeal of our first-rate graduate programs,” said Ryan Hendrickson, L.M. Hamand Dean of the Graduate School, according to the press release. “Beyond that, it also speaks to the importance of higher education in general, and to the amplified demand for skilled workers with advanced degrees in an increasingly competitive global job market. For those reasons, EIU continues to represent excellence in education and unsurpassed value for our students and their families.”

High school dual credit enrollment increased by 50 students, going from 2,228 in 2020 to 2,278 students in 2021.

Eastern is seeing 399 international students in Fall 2021. This is the second-highest number of international enrollees in Eastern history.

Hendrickson, who also oversees Eastern’s Office of International Students and Scholars, said “The University is also thrilled to host the second-largest international population in the institution’s history. Hosting 399 students from 51 countries allows our international students to bring an incredible depth of culture and diversity to our campus.”

Eastern attributed its stable enrollment to “steady or increased enrollment in continuing, new transfer, international, dual-credit and graduate students.”

The press release on Fall 2021 enrollment stated increasing freshmen retention was also cited as a reason for the stability of Eastern’s enrollment, specifically, the program “Freshman Connection” which pairs incoming freshmen with upperclassmen to help them adjust to life at Eastern.

“We’re proud of our efforts in these critical support areas,” Executive Director of the Office of Inclusion and Academic Excellence Mona Davenport said, according to the press release. “Studies continue to demonstrate the importance of sustained engagement and high-profile academic assistance outside the classroom. Those supports are the backbone of Eastern’s commitment to year-to-year retention, degree completion, and personal and professional achievement.”

University President David Glassman spoke on the increase as well.

“EIU continues to enjoy a phenomenal reputation for its value and excellence,” Glassman said. “I want to extend my personal thanks to every single passionate EIU employee for their commitment to EIU, and to our amazing network of enthusiastic Eastern advocates. We pride ourselves on the relationships we create, and I’m beyond proud of everyone’s ‘ALL-IN’ dedication to student success.”

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].