NIU’s fall 1988 student enrollment decreases

By Stephanie Bradley

Fall 1988 enrollment for freshmen and transfer students will be down from last year’s enrollment by approximately 500 students.

According to Nick Noe, NIU director of institutional research, enrollment will drop from last fall’s 5,582 students to anywhere between 4,900 and 5,200 students.

The decrease is related to the limited amount of space NIU has because of its budget, Richard Durfee, NIU director of records and registration, said.

Higher admissions standards are also a factor in the reduced number, NIU Admissions Director Daniel Oborn said. NIU’s policy previously was to have restricted admissions and put all other students who made the minimum criteria on hold, he said. The restricted admissions would include students ranking in the top third of their class with an ACT score of at least 21. The minimum would be a class rank in the top half and an ACT score of 17.

After restricted criteria students had been accepted last year there was still space available, so others with lower criteria were accepted. Oborn said because “there was no additional space available” this year, only students with the higher standards were accepted.

Oborn said there was no additional space because of an increase in the amount of applicants with higher class ranks and ACT scores. “This will be a pattern for a couple of years if things stay as they are,” he said.

However, because of the lower birth rate, fewer students are graduating from high school. Despite that, more students are attending NIU because of its programs and location, Oborn said.

The higher standards should be beneficial for NIU because they encourage a “more competitive environment with better students. It gives a good reputation to NIU and the demand for admission has gone up in the past two years,” Oborn said.

The number of freshmen applicants, as of June 23, is 13,762, Noe said. Of that number, 8,099 have been accepted. Last fall, 4,808 transfer students applied, but only about half were accepted, Noe said.

The projected number of freshmen that will actually enroll is between 3,100 and 3,300. Between 1,800 and 1,900 transfer students also will enroll, Noe said.

Robert Burk, NIU associate director of admissions, said a method for NIU to get the better students is enforcement of the high school requirements for NIU admissions. These requirements include three years of English, two years of math, two years of physics or biology with a laboratory, two years of social science and one year of art/film/foreign language/theater.

Freshman admissions were cut off in mid-February and transfer admissions on May 13, about one month before transfers were closed last fall, Burk said. Admissions applicants were up about 5 percent, he said.

The number of students who have signed up for the summer orientation program is a good indicator of the number of students who will be enrolled in the fall, Durfee said. The actual number of students who have enrolled will not be known until every student’s tuition has been paid, he said. Approximateley 4,000 students registered for the summer orientation program.

The honors program also has been affected, James Marett, assistant director of the University Honors Program, said. The number of students that meet the requirements has increased, but only 275 freshmen can be accepted. He said 762 students have applied and have been accepted for the fall semester so far. This accounts for students who apply but do not enroll.