Northern Illinois University again experienced an overall drop in student enrollment this year.
The biggest loss was in total undergraduates, down 666 students from last year (from 13,454 to 12,788). NIU also saw an eight percent decline in the number of transfer students, from 1,716 to 1,577. Total enrollment now hovers at 17,169 students, which is a drop of 4.8 percent from this time last year.
Despite these numbers, there was an increase in the number of students seeking advanced degrees. Twenty-three new students are in masters programs and 11 more are pursuing their doctorates. University officials also note that composite ACT scores for incoming students inched up slightly from a year ago. The 10-day enrollment numbers also show growth in student diversity, with more African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic students.
In the long-term, NIU officials hope to attract more transfer students by improving access to need-based financial aid. They also say they want to improve "regional and national competitiveness" by potentially eliminating out-of-state tuition.