(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has reached the largest overall enrollment in the history of the school at 13,940, breaking the previous high of 13,700 recorded in 1970. The record enrollment numbers were released today on the heels of U.S.News & World Report ranking SIUE as one of the “Top Up-And-Coming Schools” in the nation, fifth among Midwest master’s granting institutions and among 77 schools from all degree categories throughout the country. In the “Top Up-And-Coming Schools” category, SIUE was cited in U.S. News by its peers and reported as an “up and coming school firmly focused on improving the job they’re doing today.” All the rankings are in the magazine’s Best Colleges of 2010 issue that hit newsstands last month.
SIUE Provost Paul Ferguson released the fall numbers, which include undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. The new freshman class of 1,940 is up from 1,922, representing the largest group of new freshmen ever. The figures represent the fifth consecutive year of growth in new freshmen enrolled at SIUE. “We continue to attract new students who are coming to SIUE as a first-choice, first-tier institution in Illinois,” Ferguson said. He also noted “this national recognition from our peers and national associations strongly supports the commitment of SIUE to continuous quality improvement and academic innovation in all of our academic programs, and is a wonderful affirmation of the excellence of our faculty, staff and students.” For the fourth consecutive year, SIUE has been ranked among the Top 15 public universities in the Midwest-Master’s category. SIUE also continues to be ranked by U.S. News in the top one-third of all public and private Midwestern master’s level universities.
According to Scott Belobrajdic, SIUE’s assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Management, this is the second consecutive year of overall enrollment growth at the University including a 2 percent increase in returning undergraduates over last year and a 12 percent increase in graduate school enrollment. Applications to SIUE undergraduate and graduate school programs reached 15,373 this year. That is 16 percent more than last year and a 21 percent increase over fall 2007. “We believe we are seeing some early returns on increased undergraduate retention efforts and several graduate programs are seeing the benefits of very intentional program modifications,” Belobrajdic said. “Overall, the growth this year has been balanced but the growth in the graduate school has been impressive.”
“We worked very hard to control the growth of the freshman class this year,” he said. “Faced with an 18 percent surge in freshman applications the University had to stick to published deadlines and try to anticipate any possible negative enrollment impact from the economy,” Belobrajdic said. “We were inundated with a record number of federal financial aid applications for new and returning students so we knew interest in SIUE was high, but we did not know how the economy would factor into the enrollment picture.”