Enrollment targeted to ease budget stress

By Jami Peterson

NIU succeeded in trimming undergraduate enrollment for the fall and spring semesters, relieving some of the budget stress.

Reduced targets of enrollment were set this year to keep student demand in equilibrium with staffing resources and the availability of funds after the budget cut.

Stronger enrollment qualifications and a “competitive GPA” were initiated on freshmen and transfer students. This allowed undergraduate enrollment for the spring to include 16,444 students, down about 2 percent from last year.

Associate Provost Lou Jean Moyer said the number of undergraduate students has dropped steadily since 1987.

“It (enrollment limitation) did what we had hoped it would do,” she said.

Moyer said transfer students with at least 60 hours of semester credit and freshmen were admitted based on class rank and ACT scores. However, she said all transfer students with less than 60 hours of semester credit were required to have a 3.0 GPA, instead of last year’s 3.6 GPA requirement.

Transfer students with 24 to 59 semester credit hours who did not apply before Feb. 14 or do not have a 3.0 GPA will be placed on a possible admission list. Final target enrollment numbers are not set until March, Moyer said.

Whether enrollment will be limited for next year depends on the number of freshmen applicants and continuing students. “These are considerations that have to be made year by year,” she said.

Undergraduate Admissions Director Robert Burk said the limitations used this spring allowed NIU to catch up with the increased number of students admitted in the fall. More students enrolled during the fall because of the national recession, he said.

“We did have to turn a lot of students away,” he said. “Hopefully students will find a few more classes to take this spring.”

Burk said students were admitted on the number of spaces available. Targets are set early in the year, and the number of students admitted is well controlled, he said.

“We usually come very close to our projections,” Burk said.

Total enrollment for spring semester shows 23,492 students, down .9 percent from last spring. In 1989 there were 23,111 students enrolled at NIU, down from 23,479 students in 1988.