The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Eastern’s spring-to-spring enrollment remains steady

Mackenzie Fehrenbacher
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Editor’s Note: The previous version of this story contained correct numbers that were misinterpreted by the reporter. This version contains the correct interpretations.  

Eastern’s 10th day enrollment report stated that spring 2024 enrollment is steady at 8,688 students, a 0.7% decrease from spring 2023.  

On-campus students also decreased by 1.13% to 4,482, compared to spring 2023’s headcount of 4,533 students.  

Total undergraduate enrollment on and off campus has also decreased by 2.5%, while total graduate enrollment has decreased by 2.86%. 

However, Eastern has seen a 4% increase in international students and a 2.1% average combined increase in both first year and transfer students.  

Eastern also reported that the senior class of 2024 has slightly increased, making this year’s senior class the first to see an increase since 2019. 

Eastern largely credits Plan 2028 for their steady enrollment numbers.  

“We’re on a sustained path to enduring success thanks to Plan 2028 and to the dedication and hard work of every EIU student, employee and community member who supports our commitment to student learning and to our EIU mission,” said Eastern’s President Jay Gatrell. 

Eastern’s report states that Plan 2028’s four main themes– achieve, engage, create and resource– ensure EIU remains focused on every element of the Eastern experience including recruitment and retention through classroom, commencement and career placement. 

The university hopes to raise their future enrollment and is confident that Plan 2028 will help meet students’ needs and ensure increasing enrollment rates.   

The report stated, “University leaders are pleased with the stability of EIU’s enrollment and remain confident EIU is on a purposeful path forward, guided largely by Plan 2028– the University’s strategic, multi-year blueprint for growth and student success.” 

One of the 14 initiatives within Plan 2028 is the board of trustees’ approval of three new programs: a Master of Arts in teaching, a customizable bachelor’s degree in applied arts and sciences and a second B.A.A.S in emergency management. These new programs will first be offered beginning fall 2024. 

These programs are designed to enable students to work in their field while pursuing higher education, Provost Ryan Hendrickson said at the board of trustees meeting earlier this semester. He estimated around 50 students for all three programs combined. 

These new programs are aimed to bring more students to Eastern. Accompanying the new degrees, a master’s degree to earn an accelerated registered dietitian credential will be complemented by a faculty initiative in the Department of Public Health and Nutrition. 

Although Plan 2028 was just recently adopted in summer 2023 by the board of trustees, Eastern’s leaders are confident that their initiatives will continue to benefit the university.   

“EIU is aimed at purposeful, incremental enrollment increases consistently and over time. Our five-year progress is evident, but we are committed to doing even more,” Eastern’s Associate Vice President for enrollment management Josh Norman said. “Enhancing enrollment will remain a top priority for EIU moving forward,”   


Audra Gullquist can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812. 

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About the Contributors
Audra Gullquist, Assistant News Editor
Audra Gullquist is a junior journalism major. She previously served as editor-in-chief at The Navigator.
Mackenzie Fehrenbacher, Photographer
Mackenzie Fahrenbacher is a sophomore public relations major. This is her first year at The News. 

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