University News

WIU Fall 2019 Enrollment

September 5, 2019

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Western Illinois University's Fall 2019 total new student (freshman, transfer and graduate) enrollment is 2,071, which is the institution's lowest decline since Fall 2015. Western's total Fall 2019 enrollment is 7,624 [Macomb: 6,432; Quad Cities: 1,192], according to 10th-day data released by WIU's Institutional Research and Planning. Total undergraduate enrollment is 5,958 and total graduate enrollment is 1,666 [Fall 2018 enrollment figures are available at].

"While this fall's total new student enrollment has not decreased as dramatically as the last few years, I'm still disappointed in the size of the decline this fall. We must – and we will – stop this trend. Western is a phenomenal school, with outstanding academic programs and extracurricular opportunities, along with great faculty and staff, all at a terrific value," said Acting President Martin Abraham. "We cannot change what has occurred the past few years. What we can do is to get better and do better, and we will. Our students deserve that; the residents of Illinois deserve that.

"Our attention is on Spring and Fall 2020, and it's going to take everyone doing his or her part," he added. "We will turn it around, but we have to develop a new approach and have different ways of thinking. We cannot continue to do the same thing from years past. Our goal is to have a larger incoming class next fall, and even larger by Fall 2021. It's a tough goal, but I'm confident we will get this done."

The grade point average (GPA) of the incoming freshman class has increased to 3.40 (compared to 3.31 in Fall 2018). Retention (new freshman fall-to-fall enrollment) has also increased, to 67.5 percent from 65.3 percent in Fall 2018.

Abraham noted that while increasing the number of new students is important, it's vital that the University retains its current students.

"I am pleased we've seen retention rates increase over the past few years; however, we can do better. We will implement new, and expand upon current, early intervention initiatives to ensure our students' success," Abraham said. "We will be more proactive. Our goal is to graduate our students, preferably in four years, and without debt."

Shortly after taking over as acting president July 1, Abraham formed four teams (known as "tiger teams" in the business world) to look at four areas: enrollment, retention, graduate and international enrollment and distance learning. He gave the teams – comprised of six to 10 "subject matter experts" (faculty and staff) – the charge to come up with concrete ideas, solutions and action plans the University can put into place beginning this academic year to reverse the trend of decreasing enrollment. Undergraduate Admissions Director Doug Freed, who came on board at the end of June, is leading the enrollment tiger team.

In addition to aggressive recruitment and retention efforts, the University is also undergoing a brand refresh, with the goal to reach even more students who share the institution's values. The refresh also establishes a brand unique to WIU.

"What sets us apart is that we provide a learner-centered approach and our faculty, staff and administration really believe in our students and their potential. Western is a great school. As our new initiatives and efforts get fully underway, I expect to see the overall enrollment start to move in a positive direction by Fall 2021 and I expect to see our retention continue to rise," Abraham added. "It's going to be a challenge, but I believe we can put programs in place to make this happen."

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