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Local

Freshman, law school enrollment up at NIU; total enrollment down

A sign hangs outside Swen Parson Hall, home of the Northern Illinois University College of Law in DeKalb.
A sign hangs outside Swen Parson Hall, home of the Northern Illinois University College of Law in DeKalb.

DeKALB – For the first time in six years, Northern Illinois University freshman enrollment has increased, but total enrollment is down.

According to 10-day enrollment data, NIU welcomed 1,852 freshmen to campus for the 2017-18 school year, a 3 percent increase from last year.

The university also experienced a 2 percent growth in College of Law enrollment, a 1 percent improvement in overall student retention, and a 20 percent jump in new doctoral students.

Because of the departure of larger graduating classes, however, NIU’s total enrollment decreased by 5 percent. The overall enrollment for the fall is down from 19,015 last fall to 18,042, including 13,454 undergraduate students, 4,319 graduate students and 269 law students.

Sol Jensen, NIU’s vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications, said in a news release that the university is encouraged to see that increased efforts to market the university has led to a bigger freshman class.

“The number of high school graduates and community college students in our state has been on the decline for several years, and uncertainties created by the two-year budget stalemate has Illinois students choosing out-of-state schools at a record rate,” Jensen said in the release. “In fact, we were one of the few public universities in the state to overcome those hurdles this year and make some gains.”

He said that more focused and personalized marketing efforts will be the key to meeting the goal of offsetting the loss of such large graduating classes.

Acting NIU President Lisa Freeman said she also is encouraged by the freshman growth.

“We are excited to see improvement in those areas despite these challenging times,” Freeman said in the release. “It demonstrates a renewed confidence in NIU that is the result of contributions from every other corner of the university.”

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