Spring enrollment at Northern Illinois University down 4.7 percent

DeKALB – The enrollment slide at Northern Illinois University has continued, with a near 5 percent drop for the spring semester, according to a news release from the university.

The spring enrollment is 16,673, a 4.7 percent decline compared with last spring, and similar to the 5.1 percent dip in the fall.

“Based upon the 5.1 percent drop in the fall, we would have expected to see the same in the spring,” Sol Jensen, NIU vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications, said in the release. “So these numbers are actually slightly better than anticipated. It is a subtle but significant point as we look for indications that we are beginning to turn the tide.”

Jensen put similar optimistic stock in the university’s semester-to-semester retention numbers, with 88 percent of freshmen and 91 percent of transfer students sticking with NIU in the spring after attending in the fall.

“The strength of those numbers is very encouraging, as they demonstrate that students who choose NIU are continuing to find value here and connecting with the university,” Jensen said.

The freshman retention rate has held rather steady the past five years after leaping from an 84.7 percent retention rate in 2012 to 88.2 percent in 2013.

Law school enrollment is up from 245 to 253, a 3.3 percent increase compared with last spring. Graduate school enrollment has fallen 6.3 percent year-over-year, from 4,358 to 4,082.

State universities throughout Illinois are combating enrollment slides. Western Illinois University saw a 9.1 percent nosedive this spring, while Southern Illinois University in Carbondale plummeted 8.8 percent.