ISU’s fall enrollment is 20,272 students. Students enrolled in off-campus locations increased by 71 percent.
Troy Johnson, associate vice president of enrollment management, said the university has set and hit its target enrollment between 20,000 and 21,000 students for 17 consecutive years based on individual academic departments’ needs, as well as classroom and living constraints.
“ISU is a very intentional university, forward thinking and wants to be sure to provide a very high quality education for its students,” Johnson said.
“When that is your mission – to provide a strong education for your students – you want to know what the appropriate size is so that students will be able to have what we promise at Illinois State which are small classes, getting to know faculty and, those things that really enhance and make the education rich,” Johnson added.
Keeping enrollment numbers stable in a state that has consistently declining high school graduation rates has been a challenge throughout the years, Johnson said.
However, the university has leaned upon its reputation with student success.
Currently, “student retention and graduation rates remain high with 81.7 percent of freshmen returning for their sophomore year and 71 percent graduating,” President Timothy Flanagan said.
“Being very clear about the university’s priorities when talking to students and parents helps tremendously when advocating that ISU is a great choice,” Johnson explained.
According to the ISU Media Relations website, “Diversity increased within this year’s freshman class. Of nearly 3,000 students, minority students make up 26 percent – a 13.4 percent increase from last year. There was a 27 percent increase in African-American students and a 9 percent increase in Hispanic students.”
“In a competitive recruiting environment, the fact that we’re able to attract and enroll high-achieving, diverse and motivated students speaks to the strength of Illinois State,” Johnson added.
The freshman class average ACT score also increased from 23.7 last year to 24 this year.
“In the state of Illinois, the average ACT test score declined by three-tenths of a point,” Johnson said.
“So in a year when the state average decreased, the university was able to attract a student body with an increased test score which is pretty impressive,” he added.
There was also a 27 percent increase of students who scored 30 or above on the ACT.
High school grade point averages (GPA) have increased from 3.37 to 3.41, and incoming transfer students have an average GPA of 3.12 measured on a 4.0 scale.
“We have well-prepared students choosing Illinois State and we will graduate those students with the preparation they need for today’s knowledge-based global economy,” President Flanagan said. “We’re focused on college completion and that’s important with the financial investment students and families are making in higher education.”