University News

Fall '12 Enrollment

September 6, 2012

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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University's Fall 2012 total enrollment is 12,205, down 2.7 percent (349 students) from Fall 2011, while new freshman enrollment has decreased by 201 students compared to the Fall 2011 freshman cohort, according to 10-day enrollment reports.

The Fall 2012 student headcount of 10,003 at the Western-Macomb campus is down from 10,423 in Fall 2011. Macomb extension has increased to 825, up 66 from last fall. The total headcount for the Quad Cities and Quad Cities extension is 1,377 compared to 1,372 last year.

Total new freshman enrollment for Fall 2012 is 1,754 from 1,955 in Fall 2011. While new freshman numbers are similar to Fall 2010 numbers, new transfer student enrollment has increased to 1,328 from 1,301 in Fall 2011. New graduate student enrollment has decreased from 605 in Fall 2011 to 580 in Fall 2012.

"It is certainly understandable during these difficult economic times that we, along with some of our peer institutions, have experienced a decline in enrollment. However, our goal is to further work on containing costs so that students can, and will, continue their education at Western Illinois University," said President Jack Thomas. "We remain hopeful that as the Western Commitment Scholarship gains momentum and as admissions staff work to market Western throughout the state and beyond, that we will begin seeing an increase in our new student numbers.

"Seeing an increase in the number of freshman applicants tells us that there is a growing interest in our institution," Thomas added. "Now, we must work harder to get these applicants to select Western as their school of choice, and we must also turn our attention and energies to retaining our students."

According to Andy Borst, director of admissions, while Western did not see an increase in new freshmen, the University did receive a record number of freshman applications (10,326). Borst noted that with the declining number of high school students in Illinois, admissions is focusing on crossing the state's borders. New freshmen from Illinois' border states total 86, which is nearly 5 percent of the new first-year class.

"The new Western Commitment Scholarship is beginning to have an impact on the academic quality of our student body. We have seen increases in our average ACT scores and grade point averages for our regularly admitted students," Borst added. "As of August 1, we offered 1,621 Western Commitment Scholarships. We are optimistic about the future of the Western Commitment Scholarship program as yet another incentive for high achieving students to enroll at Western."

In addition to scholarship incentives for incoming students, the University has launched a new retention program this fall. The goal of the new Building Connections program is to provide the necessary support for incoming freshmen, many of whom are first-generation college students. As part of the program, nearly 220 staff and faculty at Western have volunteered to serve as mentors for incoming freshman students.

For more information about Western Illinois University's Commitment Scholarships, visit For more information about Building Connections, visit

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations