Transfer students on the rise

By Joe Bush

New transfer student enrollment increased more than any other enrollment category at NIU this fall, compared to last year’s figures.

Last fall, 1,754 students transferred to NIU. This year, 2,130 transferred, reflecting a trend that has seen more graduating high school seniors enrolling in community colleges.

Lou Jean Moyer, associate provost, said university tuition is the major factor for the increased two-year college enrollment. She said NIU is encouraging students to satisfy their core curriculum at a two-year school and even get a two-year degree, if appropriate, for their majors.

The transfer number was higher than NIU anticipated. The target figure, the number the university needs to satisfy its projected income funding, was between 1,900 and 2,000, Moyer said.

The number of new on-campus freshmen dipped slightly from 3,168 in 1988 to 3,137 this fall. This number also is above the projected mark, though it is within the target of 3,150 to 3,200 freshmen.

The decrease is not surprising, Moyer said, because of the nationwide shortage of high school-age students now and for the next several years. Next year’s graduating class is expected to be eight percent smaller than this year’s.

This demographic fact, coupled with the increase in high school graduates enrolling in community or junior colleges, will increase student competition in universities, Moyer said.

Admissions were held open this fall until the first day of classes for the first time, Moyer said. Because so many students applied late in the summer, and because freshmen numbers were higher than anticipated, Moyer said not all the freshman class demand was met.

In other totals, graduate and at-large (graduate students not admitted into a graduate program) students, as of the end of the first week of classes, number 4,367; total undergraduate enrollment this fall is 17,813, compared to last year’s 17,878 and total on-campus enrollment is 22,180, up 14 students from last year.

Moyer said future enrollment trends include more off-campus students and an increase in older students or returnees.