MACOMB, Ill. — CORRECTION: An earlier version cited a different number of new freshmen. There were 1,074 new freshmen enrolled at WIU in fall 2022.
Western Illinois University reports signs of recovery in its total attendance after years of financial and enrollment struggles.
Additionally, the school reported its largest new freshmen class in five years and a record-high total of international students.
"We are not locking ourselves into any boxes," WIU's Associate Vice President of Global Studies Randy Glean said. "We are building meaningful partnerships, sustainable partnerships."
The overall increase is around a 2.5% jump from this time in 2021. The new freshmen numbers are up 16.7%.
"We've certainly broadened our outreach to non-traditional markets," Glean said.
The school now has 7,643 students in total; 1,074 of which are new freshmen.
"In higher education right now, two and a half percent is a huge, huge, huge accomplishment," WIU's Vice President of Enrollment Management Amber Schutlze said.
The spike also includes 1,108 international students from 49 counties; the most in the school's history.
"We're talking about what it's like to be here when you are here for a campus visit or when we're out in your neck of the woods," Schutlze said.
The university has rolled out a new 'international cohort' program on its Quad Cities campus that pairs up foreign students who have the same focus.
"We focused on Asia, Africa, and the islands of the Caribbean," Glean said. Those areas where we believe students would be comfortable in an environment such as Macomb and the Quad Cities."
"I've made a couple friends on campus, we tend to hang out together, we go to the library," international student Aalyiyah Elfridge said. "We're also in a couple of the same classes."
The program currently has five international transfer students, and officials hope to double that number every year.
"Everyone is quite supportive," international student Josh Alexander said. "If you have a problem related to your school work, you can go to them for assistance."
"We had so much help with the moving process," Kaitlyn Gaillard said. "They assisted us with getting apartments. They assisted us with getting resources that we needed."
The school also reported its largest graduate student enrollment since 2008 with 2,334 students.
WIU has set a goal to increase overall enrollment by 15% by 2027.
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