Reduced enrollment could hurt NIU

By Brian Slupski

NIU, which has been restricting undergraduate enrollment for several years, might face budgetary problems if enrollment does not pick up for the fall 1993 semester.

Director of Admissions Daniel Oborn said until last year, NIU was still trying to restrict enrollment, which was being reduced because of budget constraints.

By reducing enrollment, NIU hoped to increase course availability for students, Oborn said.

The criteria to enter NIU had not changed, just the number of students being accepted and admitted.

However, last year restrictions on undergraduate enrollment were “loosened” and enrollment was supposed to stabilize somewhat, Oborn said.

NIU might have overshot its mark, as of Feb. 3, applications to enter NIU were down 14 percent from last year.

The number of applications being accepted by NIU was down 18 percent and the number of students who have said they will actually enroll at NIU is down 26 percent.

Nick Noe, director of Institutional Research, said with the dip in applications, enrollment is “bound to be down a little.”

He said if enrollment was down as many as 200 to 300 students, “it could cause some budgetary problems.”

With a 200 to 300 shortfall in undergraduate enrollment, NIU would be out about $500,000 in tuition money. If enrollment were off by 500 students, NIU would be out $1,000,000 in tuition, but Noe said he doubts enrollment will be off by that large a number.

Noe said although 85 to 90 percent of applications usually are in by early February, it still is hard to judge enrollment until April or May.

Noe said it is difficult to judge enrollment because student confirmations sometimes are misleading or unreliable. Some students don’t confirm until late in the year and some don’t confirm at all—they simply show up at the start of the semester.

Noe said there a couple of reasons why applications to NIU are down.

One possibility is because NIU had been restricting enrollment for several years and prospective students might be reluctant to apply, fearing they will be rejected.

A second possibility is the economy. Noe said since the economy has been poor, more prospective students might be staying home and going to a junior college.

“It appears that applications are down in many places in Illinois and throughout the Midwest,” Noe said.