Fall enrollment downsized by 655

By Stephanie Bradley

The reduction of NIU on-campus enrollment by 655 students this fall from last fall will have both a positive and negative impact on NIU and the DeKalb area.

John Lewis, NIU director of corporate relations, said the result of the reduction, or “downsizing” of on-campus students from 23,118 to 22,463 will be mostly beneficial to NIU.

Lewis indicated the downsizing will make it easier for students to obtain classes at registration time. He said, “650 fewer students each taking five classes results in 1,600 fewer class spots to provide.”

While not solving all problems, the downsizing also is better in terms of the services that can be provided for existing students. “That is the purpose of downsizing,” he said.

Lewis said the disadvantage is the exclusion of otherwise qualified students from enrolling in NIU. These students will be unable to attend school because the requirements are too high, Lewis said. This fall’s crop of students was in the top third of their high school graduating class and had an average ACT score of 23, he said.

Richard Durfee, NIU director of registration and records, said the requirements for freshman admission are stiffer, with a course pattern requirement they must follow. Freshmen are required to take three years of English, two years of math, two years of biology, two years of social science and one year of art, film, foreign language or theater, Durfee said.

Lewis said students who want to attend NIU but cannot “are being denied a public education” and will be forced to go to other schools. He also said students might have to attend another university or a community college before transferring to NIU.

Lewis said NIU plans to downsize the student body by 1,000 eventually and is more than halfway there, which is faster than expected. The downsizing should be complete within the next five years, with most completed by the fall of 1989.

According to information obtained from NIU’s Office of Institutional Research, the total NIU enrollment is 24,255, down 1,200 from last fall’s 25,455. This includes on and off-campus students.

Durfee said there was a drop in the number of students registering for late registration this fall.

Although overall enrollment shrank, four divisions showed increases from last year. Minority enrollment is up five percent, there are 96 more on-campus graduate students, the number of law students is up by 20 and the senior class rose by 244.

Lewis said the downsizing of the on-campus student population will result in $1.8 million less being spent in DeKalb County.

However, this does not spell financial disaster for the county. Lewis said DeKalb County is growing in population and in its economic base, so the $1.8 million really will not be felt.

Lewis said the “economic slack” has been picked up by factors such as the high employment rate—DeKalb County has one of the highest rates in the state.

In an earlier interview, NIU President John LaTourette said there were almost 14,000 potential freshmen competing for just more than 3,000 spots.