Daily Egyptian

University’s spring enrollment falls 8.81 percent

By Amelia Blakely

Enrollment at the university in the official 2018 spring semester declined 8.81 percent, according to a university press release.

“Spring enrollment usually corresponds directly with fall enrollment, since new students do not typically enroll in spring,” Chancellor Carlo Montemagno said in the press release. “Spring enrollment is also typically lower than the fall due in large part to the number of students who graduate in December.”

This spring the university officially enrolled 13,346 students, a reduction of 1,290 students compared to last year’s enrollment of 14,636 students. According to previous Daily Egyptian articles, during the university’s peak year in 1991 enrollment totaled more than 24,000 students.

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In the past 20 years, the landscape of higher education has drastically changed Montemagno said. Now students look at unique and diverse opportunities that certain universities can offer them when they choose where to go for college.

“Our enrollment, I believe, began to fall because we lost our distinguishing features that herald getting an SIUC education,” Montemagno said.

The distinction of an SIU degree included campus life and national recognition of the university’s programs, Montemagno said.

For a period of time other universities were catching up to SIU as the university continued to adapt and evolve as time progressed. Due to financial struggles, competing universities have caught up SIU’s standard.

“What we’re doing now with the reorganization, we are freeing up how our resources work with one and another so that we can provide new unique programming opportunities and experiences for our students that distinguish what happens when you get an SIUC education,” Montemagno said.

The reorganization is just the academic portion of Montemagno’s drive to increase enrollment; the other portion involves the student experience at the university.

“That’s the essential component that helps define what an SIUC degree should be,” Montemagno said.

One of the reasons students come to the university is for the learning that happens outside the classroom, Montemagno said. He said he wants to expand experiential learning opportunities and merge them within the new curriculum that comes with the reorganization.

These efforts include creating a concert series, opening the Student Center for longer hours and creating an esports program.

“The idea is to create a vibrant and exciting life for students,” Montemagno said. “That’s the other element that will drive and attract students.”

Montemagno said right now the university right lacks a sense of place. Adding these extra activities will give students reasons to attend the university.

“I come to campus at seven o’clock and it’s dead,” Montemagno said. “This should be a 24/7 area of high activity. That’s what I want to restore.”

In comparison to the fall’s enrollment decline of 8.96 precent, enrollment has slightly improved.

“Enrollment is our primary focus as we revitalize SIU,” Montemagno said in the university press release. “We are working through proposed changes that will create excitement and opportunities for students as well as faculty.”

Staff writer Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected]

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