Student enrollment at Western Illinois University this fall is down 10% from last year with a total student enrollment of 8,502 for both the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses.
Ron Williams, Western Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, said WIU is working to stop the decline and stabilize enrollment. He told Tri States Public Radio it’s not helpful to compare enrollment to the past.
“There’s a lot that has happened and we try to be as optimistic as possible and not continue to focus on the past, but we do have to take a shot of the past in order to chart a course for the future,” Williams said. “So while we are not pleased at where enrollment is, we are pleased that we are ahead of where we thought we were going to be.”
Williams said early estimates in March predicted new freshman enrollment would be around 800. That figure was based off of the number of students who been accepted to the university and already committed to Western. But, he said Western surpassed that estimate and ended up with 934 new freshman attending this semester.
“I’m grateful we have more students than we anticipated,” Williams said.
Previously, WIU President Jack Thomas has discussed plans to stabilize enrollment at 10,000 students.
Williams said he would like to get back up to that level, but he said it can’t be done in a single year and he’s not developed a timeline yet as to when that can be accomplished.
WIU did not immediately have student retention information available as part of the 10 day student enrollment numbers.