Western Illinois University sees enrollment decline
MACOMB, Ill. (AP) — Western Illinois University officials are considering how to address the university’s declining student enrollment.
Combined enrollment at the Macomb and Moline campuses dropped from 11,700 students in 2013 to about 9,400 students in the fall of 2017, the Quad-City Times reported .
Projected enrollment for this fall is about 8,000, which is a decline of 14 percent, said Mark Bernards, an agriculture professor.
“If we continue this pattern of decline in enrollment, I calculated WIU will have a student population of less than 4,000 by the fall of 2022,” Bernards said. “The board of trustees has a responsibility to maintain WIU.”
Bargaining between the university and the faculty union may have kept some prospective students away, said Seth Miner, director of admissions. The campus should come together to promote the positive things about the institution, he said.
“As we move forward, we need to take a look at how we promote ourselves to the public,” Miner said. “The decline last year in our freshman class was from external forces; it was from the uncertainty put on us by the state.”
The union contract signed recently sets faculty salaries for 2019-2020 at 2 percent below 2018-2019 pay. Officials could use that money to do more to promote the university, said Christopher Pynes, a professor and faculty senate chair.
“Part of the problem is students don’t have enough money to come here,” Pynes said. “We are more expensive than we used to be. I’m asking you to spend the money that the senior faculty of this campus have given up to promote and to recruit students.”
Some students can’t re-enroll because they owe the school money, said Registrar Angela Lynn. About 4 percent of students were put on financial hold last year, and 10 percent of students were put on hold this year, she said.
Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com