University News

New Student Enrollment at WIU Continues Upward Trend

February 4, 2021

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Thanks to considerable recruitment efforts by Western Illinois University's Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions and Enrollment Management, there are 44 new freshmen who have enrolled at WIU for Spring 2021 (29, Spring 2020), and 328 new graduate students have started at WIU this semester (209, Spring 2020). Two hundred and eighteen (218) new transfer students have enrolled in Spring 2021 (204, Spring 2020). The University's Spring 2021 total enrollment remains steady, decreasing by 29 students to 6,965 (6,994, Spring 2020).

In spite of the ongoing pandemic, the drive and dedication that WIU students have shown the past semester, combined with support initiatives put into place from the Division of Enrollment Management, Retention Initiatives and throughout the University, the fall-to-spring retention for new, full-time freshmen has remained stable at 89.3 percent.

In addition, dual enrollment (high school students taking WIU courses) has grown to 121 compared to 47 in Spring 2020.

"Strengthening our recruitment, enrollment and retention efforts remain our top priorities. Our admissions, enrollment management and retention staff, along with many others across campus, have been working tirelessly on recruitment initiatives, as well as providing the essential programs and services our students need to succeed," said WIU President Guiyou Huang. "We are continuing to aggressively recruit students in Illinois, and beyond, including neighboring states and internationally. I am confident that we'll continue to see an increase in not only new students, but in the persistence of our current students. I am optimistic about the future direction of Western Illinois University."

Huang said that Fall 2021 recruitment is underway, with admissions and enrollment management staff working with prospective students, parents and guardians and providing continuous outreach efforts to high schools and community colleges. In addition, virtual visit programs are offered to prospective students in a group setting, and students can also visit campus one-on-one for a personal tour.

To support incoming students, retention staff have revamped new student orientation by connecting students to peers and revising summer orientation experiences. According to Justin Schuch, executive director of retention initiatives, the divisions of enrollment management and student services continue to work to create early, meaningful connections between students and WIU through programming and support initiatives. Incoming first year students are connected with a first year advisor who assists in the first steps of their academic journey, academic support resources are under redesign to better support all students and the Leatherneck Care Referral program continues to provide resources and assistance.

"We are on the right path to increasing our enrollment, and while this is definitely a top priority, so is keeping students on campus through graduation," Huang added. "Retention is critical, and we must ensure that we have the resources in place for students to overcome any obstacles they may face in terms of completing their degree. Students are the most important priority, and their success should guide what we do."

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