Board of Trustees committee looks at how to improve NIU enrollment

By Northern Star Staff

The Board of Trustees’ ad hoc Enrollment Committee looked at how NIU is working to recruit and retain students at a Friday meeting.

Vice Provost Anne Birberick said NIU is considering expanding MAP-Works surveys to second- and third-year students. MAP-Works participants take a survey, and the results show them their strengths and weaknesses.

Birberick said students who engage in MAP-Works have been shown to perform better academically and enroll in more credit hours.

Eric Weldy, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and other administrators said NIU has noted improved retention among students who engage in “high-impact” practices like internships and study abroad trips. Birberick said one of the university’s goals is to ensure students engage in these practices throughout their time at NIU.

NIU’s enrollment fell from 21,138 in fall 2013 to 20,611 this semester, but the drop marks the smallest decrease in five years. Freshman retention rose from 66 percent to 71 percent between the same period.

“Retention has really become everyone’s interest and everyone’s business,” Birberick said.

The next meeting has yet to be scheduled, but committee members said they are aiming for the beginning of 2015.