Minority enrollment up at regency schools

By Vickie Snow

Enrollment is up, especially for minorities, at NIU and two other Illinois colleges.

At the Board of Regents meeting in Normal last week, statistics for this semester’s enrollment were announced by the presidents of the three regency schools.

All three – NIU, Illinois State University in Bloomington and Sangamon State University in Springfield – have shown significant improvements in general population enrollment as well as with minority students.

NIU President John La Tourette said NIU is “right on target” for fall enrollment.

The totlal number of new freshmen increased by 7.6 percent, while 23.5 percent of new freshmen are minorities, he said.

Minorities include African-Americans, American Indians, Asians and Hispanics.

According to a Wednesday press release, figures compiled by Nick Noe, NIU assistant vice president and director of institutional research, show the number of black undergraduates rose by 105 students to 1,247.

Additionally, there are 16.3 percent more Hispanic undergraduates and 9.7 percent more Asian undergraduates.

NIU has more minority graduate students this semester.

According to the release, there are 45 percent more blacks, 34.8 more Asians and about 7 percent more Hispanics.

The total number of minority graduate students falls at 350 out of 5,981 students, the release stated.

The two other regency schools also face improved minority statistics.

ISU’s minority enrollment reached a new peak.

Although last year ISU had the highest minority enrollment increase in the state, this years black enrollment is the highest in seven years, said ISU’s President Thomas Wallace.

SSU President Durward Long said, “we have the most number of underrepresented students than ever before.”

Underrepresented students include minorities, women and the disabled.

Long said SSU, with a total enrollment of about 4,300, has problems recruiting Hispanics although the numbers show an increase of 65 percent.

“We’re making significant, dramatic headway,” said Regent’s Chancellor Roderick Groves. Many people are putting in lots of hard work that is paying off, he said.

Under a 1987 act, each regency university is required to make annual reports on efforts to serve unnrepresented students.

The univerisities must release these reports to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The IBHE then informs the Governor and the General Assembly of each college’s current efforts and future plans regarding programs, recruitment and retention.

NIU’s report will be presented at the IBHE meeting Oct. 2 at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby.