Enrollment Exodus

Isabel Campbell was standing in a long line of freshmen waiting to move into the new dorms on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus last month when she was approached by a man wearing a blue polo and sneakers.

As part of our statewide “Enrollment Exodus” collaboration, WNIJ’s Peter Medlin spoke with Tri States Public Radio News Director Rich Egger. They talked about Egger’s reporting on Western Illinois University and how enrollment decline affects every part of their community.

A four-year degree is not the only option for students when they finish high school. But many choose community college in an effort to join the workforce sooner and save on tuition costs.

When Francisco Gamino arrived at Parkland College four years ago, he didn’t know how to balance work and find the time he needed to study.

Illinois State University had another great recruiting year, with a 1.2% increase in total enrollment and the largest freshman class in 33 years. It's another stable year. Several other schools throughout the state continued years of enrollment drops.

International students, especially those from China, play a crucial role in funding the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Illinois colleges and universities have been under pressure for years from smaller graduating classes, out-of-state competition and changing demographics. Private higher education institutions in the state face the same challenges public schools do and a couple extra.

What happens when universities see enrollment plunge year after year? For many Illinois schools, they focus on how to hold on to the students already walking their halls. Students often leave between their first and second year.

Tammy Yates was excited to come to Macomb seven years ago. Yates and her partner Chad Hunziker opened Chubby's, a restaurant on West Adams Street, just a few blocks from the Western Illinois University campus.