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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

NIU Officials Discuss Enrollment And Diversity Goals In Statehouse Testimony

NIU's Altgeld Hall
Susan Stephens
NIU's Altgeld Hall

Northern Illinois University is working to increase its overall enrollment and provide more aid to disadvantaged groups.

University officials testified this week in front of the Illinois House Appropriations Higher Education Committee.  Provost Beth Ingram said the school’s goal is to stabilize NIU enrollment at 17 to 18,000 students, as part of a multiyear campus plan. She also said there’s been more diverse hiring over the past year.

“I’m pleased to report," she said, "that of the 30 new tenure-track faculty we hired, 50%, 15, were from underrepresented groups." 

Vice President for Enrollment Management Sol Jensen added that two forms of state-funded scholarships have been of great assistance to disadvantaged groups.

"53% of those who received our AIM High scholarships were Pell eligible," he said, "and [of] our matching grants, about 63% of the students receiving that were Pell eligible." 

AIM High targets students that are most likely to leave the state. Matching grant are for students less likely to attend college at all.  Jensen also highlighted the University’sHuskie Pledge, a program that provides eligible low-income, in-state students with a full year of free tuition.