Illinois Wesleyan has succeeded where other universities haven't for the upcoming school year. It managed to keep its enrollment numbers up. President Dick Wilson says Wesleyan is 20 students above its nominal target for the entering class, while university-wide enrollment is what they would normally expect. He says they have several ways to encourage students amid growing enrollment challenges.
"We've had a pretty aggressive planning process to try to stay ahead of this and try to adjust the curriculum on the one hand and adjust the various other aspects of the university," he says. "Even the decision to build student apartments, keep students here."
Wilson says the quality of the university is an important factor in maintaining enrollment numbers, but they've also used more creative methods.
"The decision to add lacrosse was in part enrollment-related because it draws a group of students that are not normally thinking about coming to Wesleyan because we didn't offer the sport," he says.
There are several issues surrounding enrollment, Wilson says, so the university has to stay on its toes to combat them.
"Between financial aid requirements of students, curricular requirements, worries about student debt, every year it just gets more and more of a challenge, and we have to pay attention," he says.
According to Wilson, 570 students have enrolled in next year's freshmen class. Overall enrollment currently sits at around 2,025-2,050 students.
Support Your Public Radio Station