Enrollment increase is a positive sign for university

Enrollment+for+the+Fall+2020+semester+saw+a+1%25+increase+from+last+school+year.

Enrollment for the Fall 2020 semester saw a 1% increase from last school year.

Jack Baudoin, Contributor

Many things have changed thanks to the global pandemic, and school is certainly one of them. When in person classes were stopped at the beginning of the pandemic, it was unclear just how much this would affect education in the country. In terms of NIU, things have been looking up for enrollment, and this is a very good sign for the university. 

During this time when many things are uncertain, it would be easy to assume that enrollment would be down. This has not proven to be the case. In fact, enrollment is up by 1% from the Fall 2019 semester, increasing from 16,609 students to 16,769, according to Sept. 8 university data. 

What is even more interesting is that this is the first time fall enrollment has increased from a previous semester since the Fall 2009 semester, according to data in the 2019-2023 Strategic Enrollment Plan. This is a good sign for the university, as people will see that NIU was a good place to learn during such an unsure time.

“Based on our Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, this was the year that we had projected to be pretty much flat with our enrollment,” Sol Jensen, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communication, said.

The Strategic Enrollment Management Plan is the university’s five-year plan in enrolling students and keeping them at the university. 

“When the pandemic hit we really did not know what to expect,” Jensen said. “When you can not travel to recruit in high schools or community colleges, or attend college fairs, that changes things.”

The fact that enrollment did indeed go up is a very good thing. It shows that in uncertain times, NIU is a good place to go to school. It shows that even if people are not sure about many things in the future, they can be sure they are getting a good education.

“We feel pretty excited about how everything did turn out,” Jensen said.

There is a good reason to feel excited. Enrollment going up in these uncertain times shows that NIU is a trustworthy place to go to school.

The strategies used in the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan have been changed around a little due to the pandemic, Jensen said.

“What changed were the very specific tactics that we had in our accountability plan that were feeding into those strategies,” Jensen said.

Seeing as how anything had to change in the five year plan shows just how unexpected the whole situation is, and the increase in enrollment shows that people are seeing that NIU is a good trustworthy place to go to school in uncertain times. This will hopefully encourage even more students to become a Huskie in the future if this trend continues.

“I think a lot of students are finding that NIU is this great university that is accessible, affordable, with an excellent education,” Jensen said. “Part of our plan is to just do a better job at promoting that.”