Northern Illinois University experienced modest growth in new freshman and graduate school enrollment following the first 10 days of classes, according to NIU’s Office of Institutional Research.
The number of new freshman increased slightly by 15 students, marking the second straight year of gains. NIU enrolled 4,917 new undergraduate students, including 2,679 new freshmen and 1,881 new transfers.
“To be able to report an increase in freshman and graduate school enrollment in the midst of a national downturn in college enrollment trends is gratifying, yet we have significant work ahead,” says NIU President Doug Baker.
Enrollment in NIU’s graduate school increased by 36 students to 5,020 on the strength of its business and engineering programs. NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology saw a 33.9 percent increase in graduate students, while the College of Business also experienced growth, up 8.8 percent from the year before. The College of Education also posted a modest gain in graduate enrollment.
“NIU has one of the best engineering programs in the state for an affordable price. They have a great student body where I will be able to bounce ideas around and sharpen my mind,” says freshman Shekinah Bergmann from nearby Sycamore, “I am most excited to be in the honors track, which will be a vital catalyst.”
The University Honors Program generated another strong incoming class with 217 new freshmen and 99 new transfers, offsetting its largest-ever graduating class of 166 in May 2013. The program boasts 1,039 enrolled students, and the class rank of new freshman averages in the 89th percentile with a 3.9 grade point average and average ACT score of 28.47.
“NIU is the perfect choice for me because they offer a high quality business program,” adds Jerseyville’s Corey Meredith, who plans to study accounting. “Because of its close proximity to Chicago, many opportunities will be available to me.”
“I couldn’t find the same atmosphere anywhere else,” says theater major Jaden Sample, from Downs, Ill. “The staff, the students, even the city of DeKalb itself gave me a welcomed feeling with just a hint of excitement for my future there as a student.”
The university’s total enrollment of 21,138 is 3.3 percent less than the 21,869 that attended fall 2012. The overall decrease can be attributed to several factors, including a declining number of high school graduates in the state of Illinois; a 1.7 percent decline in new transfers; a sizeable graduating class in spring 2013; and student retention.
“An increasingly competitive higher education landscape combined with a forecast decline in high school graduates in the Midwest through 2020 require bold, creative and entrepreneurial change in the way we educate our students, provide them with engagement opportunities to enhance their student experience and prepare them for personal and career success upon graduation,” says Baker. “I’ve spent the summer and the fall discussing the numerous opportunities we have to blaze the trail to reach our goal of 100 percent of NIU students finding success in graduate school or in the workforce within six months of graduation.”
Baker is anticipated to lay out new strategic imperatives for the NIU community during his Nov. 13 inaugural address in the Sandburg Room of the Holmes Student Center in DeKalb.