"We continue to attract new students who are coming to SIUE as a first-choice, first-tier institution in Illinois," Ferguson said. The enrollment numbers were released on the heels of the news that U.S.News and World Report named SIUE among the top 10 public universities in the Midwest-Master's category for the second consecutive year-this year SIUE also is in the top one-third of all public and private Midwestern universities. The overall U.S. News scores are based on the academic preparedness of students, graduation rates, faculty characteristics and the reputation of SIUE in higher education.
Also, for the fourth consecutive year, SIUE has been heralded by U.S. News in the senior capstone experience category, among 17 universities-including Yale, Harvard, MIT and Princeton-for its comprehensive program measuring the competency of graduating seniors. According to Scott Belobrajdic, SIUE's assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Management, fall enrollment this year also shows the sixth year in a row of full time enrollment (FTE) growth at 11,635, the highest in the university's history. "FTE is based on the number of hours taken by all students; the number is then divided by 12 semester hours for undergraduates and nine for graduate students, the level at which a student is considered full-time at SIUE," Belobrajdic said.
"The increase in FTE is an indication that we have more students on campus taking heavier course loads than in previous years, which translates to stronger student retention." Belobrajdic also pointed out that SIUE's new freshmen, with a high school average GPA of 3.32, also have an average ACT score of 22.7, more than two points higher than the Illinois average (20.5) and about one point higher than the national average (21.1). SIUE's new freshman ACT average has been 22.7 for the second straight year.
"New freshman enrollment is up 3.6 percent, new transfers are up about one percent and total graduate enrollment has increased by 3.7 percent over last year from 2,037 to 2,113," Belobrajdic said. "We targeted graduate programs for enrollment growth but we once again had to limit enrollment for new freshmen after mid-May," he said. "The demand for seats in the new freshman class again exceeded available spaces by about 150 students. As we look to next year we would really encourage potential freshmen to apply early. Applications for fall 2009 are already running about 25 percent ahead of same date last year."
Belobrajdic also pointed out the ethnic diversity of the student body has increased from last year and that educational outreach programs have increased some 19 percent over last year. "Off-campus and on-line programs have increased, which shows the Educational Outreach office continues to address the diverse needs of Southwestern Illinois students and employers."