SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — The Illinois Board of Higher Education released their report showing more college freshman are attending Illinois’ higher education institutions.
While overall undergraduate enrollment decreased by 0.5%, Illinois averaged a 5% increase in their freshman class across all from the Fall 2021 semester to the Fall 2022 semester.
Of Illinois’s 12 public universities, all but three experienced an increase in the size of their freshman class in the fall 2022 semester. The three which had a smaller freshman class than fall 2021 included University of Illinois Springfield, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Government officials believe the freshman statistics are especially promising for future years.
“Here in Illinois, our universities are bouncing back—bucking national trends and exemplifying excellence at every turn,” Governor JB Pritzker said. “While other states battle dwindling enrollment numbers, our public universities are seeing extraordinary growth.”
Pritzker said the increase was largely driven by Black and Latino incoming freshmen. Nationally, the rate of freshman enrollment for Black and Latino students went down, but in Illinois it went up by 10.5% and 12.9% respectively.
“We are encouraged by the increases in freshmen enrollment of African American and Latino students and will work hard to ensure this positive trajectory continues,” IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro said. “We continue to work with the state’s public universities to ensure we are supporting and equitably serving students, especially those from underserved backgrounds, so they obtain their degrees, flourish in our state’s workforce and help our communities to thrive.”
Retention at Illinois public universities also slightly decreased from the Fall 2021 semester by 1.4%. Breaking down by race, the largest decrease for retention was for African American college freshmen, which decreased by 3.6%.
The full enrollment report compiled by IBHE can be found here.