University Council addresses enrollment decline


By James Krause

Acting President Lisa Freeman addressed the University Council at their first meeting of the academic year Wednesday.

Freeman addressed 10-day enrollment numbers that were released Tuesday and said decreases in enrollment were expected as a result of the large graduating class from previous academic years.Overall, enrollment dropped 4.8 percent, according to the 10-day enrollment report.  

“This was an expected result given an incoming class that doesn’t offset the departures associated with a large graduating class,” Freeman said.

Freeman addressed her disappointment with a steep drop in transfer students, as the number of such students is down by 139 students. Freeman said the university plans to present more opportunities for transfer students to come to NIU in the future.

“Clearly, this is a trend that needs to be addressed in a targeted fashion,” Freeman said. “We plan to increase financial aid and scholarships offered to transfer students.”

NIU currently offers multiple merit-based scholarships to transfer students with 30 or more credits and a GPA ranging between 3 and 4.

Sol Jensen, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications, also addressed the University Council and said enrollment is a responsibility that falls on the entire university. He said he is happy with the partnership he has made with deans from many colleges.

“Enrollment is really everyone’s role on campus,” Jensen said. “It’s great to see the partnerships that are out there and I can see there is a lot of willingness among all colleges across campus, with recruitment and retention.”

Jensen, who took his position in June 2017, said he has met with several deans to get a better understanding of the goals of each college and the students they want to reach out to. Jensen was previously the Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Services for the University of North Dakota for nearly six years.

Jensen said one factor that lead to the decrease in transfer enrollment is a decline in community college students and high school graduates in Illinois.

“There are fewer students at Illinois community colleges,” Jensen said. “We’ve shown a chart before, at least last year, about the number of high school graduates in the state that will continue to decline for about 20 years.”