10-day enrollment shows slight increase

By Jonathan Swartz

The campus’ spring enrollment increased by 65 students from last spring according to the university.

Administration officials attributed the increase to investment in recruitment and retention plans, university spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said.

The sophomore class had the largest increase, rising 16.4 percent.

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Goldsmith said these results show how the successful recruitment of freshmen last year has carried over to success in retaining those students this year.

While junior class enrollment remained level, according to the university, numbers of off-campus increased 11.6 percent and transfer students grew 10.7 percent.

Goldsmith said the only class to experience a drop in student enrollment this spring is the senior class. Year-to-year class enrollment of seniors decreased by about 10 percent, she said.

“There are pockets of improvement and pockets where we think we can do better,” Goldsmith said. “The good news here is that we’re holding our own after a number of years of decline.”

Investments toward keeping freshmen at SIU have led to the development of a two-year rolling retention plan, Goldsmith said.

The plan targets specific groups of students prone to dropping out after their first year. Goldsmith said students with undecided majors are a part of this focus, as they show lower rates of return.

Efforts include helping students identify their strengths and choose a major.

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Goldsmith said the positive results of the strategy, combined with the decrease in senior enrollment, is evidence the policies and endeavors aimed at freshmen and sophomores need to be expanded to upperclassmen.

She said focusing on strong advisement, emphasizing the ways students can graduate on time and making sure students are engaged are aspects of the approach.

The colleges of Applied Sciences and Arts, Engineering and Science have notable increases in enrollment since last spring, according to the university.

Goldsmith said while a reason for this is hard to define, a likely cause is the fact that students in those colleges have a direct line to employment.

Easier access to jobs across the nation has also led to increases in enrollment, Goldsmith said.

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