NIU becoming ‘elitist’

By Claudia C. Curry

SPRINGFIELD—NIU officials raised concerns at a Board of Regents meeting Thursday that too many prospective students are kept out of the university.

“I’m afraid that NIU is becoming an elitist school,” NIU President John LaTourette said. “Because of the budget situation, we have been turning down well-qualified students and cutting down their opportunity for higher education.”

Because the admissions department has been so selective, NIU is admitting the top one-third students in the state, LaTourette said. Also, it has become the second most selective university in the state, he said.

“The deadline for freshman applicants was Feb. 1, and we are expecting to have a cut-off for transfer admissions sometime in May,” LaTourette said. “The only students which could qualify for freshman admission now would be minorities.”

NIU Provost Kendall Baker said, “We have visited community colleges and got our point across that students have to apply early to get their guaranteed admissions.”

A report prepared for the Regents by Chancellor Roderick Groves consisted of NIU statistics of fall 1988 freshman and transfer students’ applications and admissions as of April 1.

LaTourette said for the past five years NIU has had a freshman enrollment target of 3,500 students per year and a transfer enrollment target of 2,050 students per year.

“Judging from the figures that we have now, it looks like we are going to come very close to both our freshman and transfer enrollment targets for the fall,” LaTourette said.

“Our strategy is to downsize undergraduate enrollment, not only because of budget limitations, but also because of space limitations. Our target is to reduce freshman enrollment to 3,150 students and transfer enrollment to 1,900,” he said.

At the undergraduate level, NIU has reached its target, but at the graduate level, there is room for more applicants, LaTourette said. NIU is not trying to downsize the graduate enrollment for the fall, he said.

The differences between the fall 1987 and fall 1988 admissions are 324 less freshman students and 154 less transfer students. LaTourette said, “Basically, we admit the most qualified students in the fall and hold the others until Feb. 1.

Groves’ report states the number of fall 1988 freshman applicants is 13,391 students, and the number of freshman admits is 7,703 students. The total of transfer applicants is 3,837 students, and the total of transfer admits is 1,666 students, the report states.