Illinois State University fall enrollment is 20,272, aided by a 71 percent increase in students enrolled in off-campus locations. At the same time, the academic quality of students has increased.
Diversity increased with the freshman class. Of nearly 3,000 students, minority students comprise 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,” said Troy Johnson, associate vice president of Enrollment Management.
“Although we are a predominately residential campus, more students are taking advantage of courses Illinois State offers in Chicago and downstate locations. We’re taking classes to where students live and work, whether that’s a student working on an MBA in Chicago or a math teacher working on an advanced degree in Peoria.”
Illinois State also continues to be successful in attracting high-achieving students with the average ACT for the freshman class increasing to 24 from 23.7 last year. There are 156 students with an ACT score of 30 or above; a 27 percent increase over last year. The high school grade point average increased to 3.41 from 3.37. The GPA of incoming transfer students is 3.12 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,” said President Timothy Flanagan. “We’re focused on college completion and that’s important with the financial investment students and families are making in higher education. Our student retention and graduation rates remain high with 81.7 percent of our freshmen returning for their sophomore year and 71.0 percent graduating.”
Freshman Tyler Ross of Normal has a 35 ACT (out of a possible 36) and a 4.39 GPA. Although the actuarial science major visited four universities, he chose Illinois State because of its reputation for having one of the top actuarial programs in the country.
“I grew up in this town and Illinois State has always been on my radar but it was more of an afterthought,” he said. “When I started to really look at Illinois State, I realized how good a school it was. I met with the head of the actuarial program, sat in on a couple of classes and definitely knew this was the place.”
Freshman Nora Fredstrom had a similar experience. She looked at a couple of other colleges in Illinois as well as Nebraska. With an ACT of 33 and a 4.39 GPA, the double major in music and environmental health and safety could have gone anywhere.
“I did a lot of online research but I only applied to one school at the very end,” she said. “I had it figured out.”
What initially attracted the violinist was the music faculty. She also received a Presidential Scholarship, worth $11,000 a year for four years. “It just all fell into place,” she said. “It became an incredible value for me.”
Total Illinois State University enrollment
Undergraduate students: 17,749
Graduate students: 2,523
Students from underrepresented groups: 3,421
Total enrollment by college
College of Applied Science and Technology: 4,103
College of Arts and Sciences: 5,948
College of Business: 3,290
College of Education: 2,692
College of Fine Arts: 1,126
Mennonite College of Nursing: 671