NIU Enrollment Down, Retention Up

Sep 9, 2015

NIU’s enrollment has slightly declined this fall, while the university says retention and quality of students have increased. The university’s official 10-day count showed enrollment at 20,130 students. It represents the smallest dip in several years. 

Credit NIU

Officials say NIU’s efforts to attract higher achieving students has paid off, as class rank, grade point average, and ACT scores have risen.

Eric Weldy is in charge of enrollment management at NIU. He spoke at a town hall meeting last week, telling staff there is fierce competition for students.

"Illinois is second among the states whose high school graduates go on to attend college out of state," Weldy said.

The one-year and two-year retention rates are at their highest point in four years. The university is striving to attract international students and participation in the honors program. According to a news release, President Doug Baker still sees room for improvement, but is pleased with the encouraging signs of progress.

Speaking at a town hall last week, Baker says there's important work to do on recruitment and retention.

"Enrollment is critical to us. That's our mission, it's why we're here. The students help us do the teaching and learning activities that are core to what we're about. Luckily they also help pay some bills around here too," Baker said.

WNIJ's Susan Stephens contributed to this report.