NIU officials to restrict future enrollment

By Jami Peterson

NIU officials increased enrollment limitations for the spring semester and next year, allowing the university to catch its breath after a surprise fall enrollment increase.

By sharpening admission policies for new and transfer students, the university is allowing current students better opportunities to get into the classes they need, said acting Admissions Director Bob Burk.

“We want students already here to have course selections available to them,” Burk said, adding he doesn’t expect any classes to be cut.

He said the number of students enrolled at NIU took a jump during the 1991 fall semester, when the state cut one percent of NIU’s budget in July. Burk is taking the reins while Admissions Director Daniel Oborn is on sabbatical leave.

“During times of recession more students choose to go to college,” Burk said. “We almost closed our doors completely.”

The university is “more restricted now than in the past,” he said. NIU is using academic criteria such as the “competitive GPA,” which requires transfer students with less than 60 hours to receive a 3.6 GPA instead of the usual 2.55 GPA requirement, to restrict admission numbers.

Also, students with the opportunity to remain at a community college were less likely to be admitted than those who graduated from a two-year college, Burk said.

Although the exact number of students enrolled this spring cannot be determined until classes begin and a ten-day report is issued, the university is “really conscious right now” of the number of students enrolled and “hopefully things will go well this spring,” he said.

“We’re still kind of in the dark as to what’s going to happen,” Burk said.

Provost Kendall Baker said he expects the freshman class this spring and next fall to be smaller than usual, but determining the exact number of freshmen and transfer students is a difficult process.

Higher enrollment “puts more students in the pipeline and reduces the number of students the university can bring in,” Baker said.

Associate Provost Lou Jean Moyer said the university plans to reduce the overall undergraduate enrollment during the upcoming spring and fall semesters.

However, she said, “we don’t know yet exactly how we’re going to do it.” Presently, the number of freshmen and transfer students admitted is being looked at very carefully, she said.