WIU spring enrollment flat, sits steady around 7,000 students

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 4:45 PM CST
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MACOMB (WGEM) - Since 2019, spring enrollment at Western Illinois University has been in the neighborhood of 7,000 student and the trend continues this spring as well.

The University reports a total headcount of 6,966 students compared to last spring’s total of 6,980.

Vice President for Enrollment Management Amber Schultz said even though WIU saw a 14 student drop from last spring, she’s happy with stability.

“This is a really tough landscape, a very competitive environment in higher education right now so flat is something to be proud of,” Schultz said.

Schultz said despite enrollment being relatively flat, certain factions of students saw an increase this semester. She said new entering transfer student numbers jumped to 228, up from 192 last spring.

Schultz also reported a slight increase in enrollment at the WIU Quad Cities campus.

She said the focus for spring enrollment typically revolves around retention of students rather than new entering students.

By 2027, she’d like to see enrollment reach 9,000 students.

“We’re always hoping for a 3% increase in our new entering student populations,” Schultz said. “We want a 3% increase in new entering first year students, 3% on new entering transfer and 3% on new entering graduate students.”

One challenge she said is recruiting transfer students.

Akeem Mitchell is an international student from Grenada, a computer science major, transferred and is new to campus this school year.

Mitchell said it wasn’t always the plan to travel more than 2,000 miles away from home for a bachelor’s degree, but a visit from Associate Vice President for Global Studies, Randy Glean, swayed him.

“He spoke a lot about the campus experience and dedication as well, the opportunity to meet different people, different cultures and personalities,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is also part of a large wave of international students that have enrolled at WIU over the past two years.

While new international student numbers for this spring, 157, are down from last year, 247, the university has seen overall international numbers jump from 818 last year to currently 1,069.

This past fall, WIU saw its largest freshman class and amount of area students enrolled in the last five years. Overall, numbers were up 2.5% from last Fall.

Schultz said communication will be key if she wants to continue on an upward trajectory.

“We need to make sure we’re communicating with both prospective students and returning students in the manner they want to be communicated with,” Schultz said. “We’ll be implementing some new software that’ll allow us to improve our communication, to make sure we’re addressing everything they’re interested in.”

You can also take a look at WIU’s Total Student Enrollment History.


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