Fall Enrollment drops for fourth year in a row

Enrollment numbers for fall semesters from 2008 to 2019.

Fall 2019 enrollment numbers have been released, and SIUE has reduced enrollment for the fourth consecutive year.

According to SIUE Marketing and Communications, the total enrollment has dropped 1.6 percent to 13,061 this semester. 

This is the smallest loss in enrollment since fall 2016, with freshman enrollment dropping 2 percent and new transfers dropping by 6 percent.

For comparison, Southern Illinois University Carbondale reported their overall enrollment dropped by 8.75 percent from fall 2018, but the Eastern Daily at Eastern Illinois University reported a third year of growth for EIU.

Chancellor Randy Pembrook said he believes one reason for the continued dip in enrollment is the size of the current junior and senior classes.

“The two largest classes that we had coming in were the Fall 15 and Fall 16 classes. … As those large classes by definition get replaced by slightly smaller classes, that means that you’re going to have a decrease as those two large groups work their way through the two years or four or five years that they’re here — depending on whether they’re transfers or new students,” Pembrook said. “Until those two classes kind of clear the system, if you would, there’s going to be a little bit of a decrease.”

According to enrollment statistics released by the university, the largest dips in overall enrollment came from freshman students, senior students and male students. 

Freshman enrollment dropped by 138 students. Senior enrollment is down by 222 students. 

Overall male student enrollment dropped by 194 as compared to female enrollment dropping by 26 students.

The biggest increase in enrollment came from off-campus students, which have been steadily rising since fall 2015. Compared to fall 2018, there are an additional 256 off-campus students in 2019.

“Our professional schools, graduate school and international student populations have all increased slightly this year and continue to provide a stable enrollment base for the institution,” Scott Belobrajdic, the associate vice chancellor for enrollment management said in a press release Wednesday.

There was also a record level of enrollment within the School of Nursing, with 1778 students enrolled in the program between graduate and undergraduate programs. 

The school had a 2 percent increase in undergraduate students and a 17 percent increase in their master’s and doctoral level enrollment

Dean of Nursing Dr. Laura Bernaix attributed the increase in nursing enrollment to the school’s faculty, clinical partners and the job market for graduating nurses.

“There is expected to be a shortage of nurses through 2022-2023. I think you’re seeing nursing as being a very competitive, highly sought-after profession and one that doesn’t guarantee employment. But certainly, there’s positions out there and the potential for advancement within the profession and furthering your education and the additional opportunities that nursing offers to anyone is certainly is attractive,” Bernaix said.

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