Fewer Illinois students attending the University

By Daily Illini Staff Report

This year, fewer students traveled to the University for their freshman year of college — even students from Illinois.

Since 2006, the number of incoming in-state freshmen that enrolled at the University has decreased from 6,385 to 4,927 this year.

Charles Tucker, vice provost for Undergraduate Education and Innovation, said in an email in September that the University regularly admits between 69 and 70 percent of Illinois students who apply to the campus. For the 2014-2015 school year, 71 percent of students admitted to the University were from Illinois, compared with 73.1 percent last year.

“We recruit aggressively within the state, and this year we had more freshman applications from Illinois (17,331) than in either of the two previous years,” Tucker said.

For the 2014-15 academic year, 35,822 students applied to attend the University, and 59 percent were admitted. Of those admitted, 32.8 percent, chose to enroll. 

Last year, fewer students applied, but 35.4 percent of admitted students enrolled to the University.

Tucker said the most common reason that admitted students turn down the University is net cost.

“For some students we cannot offer enough financial aid to offset our tuition,” Tucker said.

The Board of Trustees recently approved an increase in financial aid from $68 million to $84 million. University spokesman Tom Hardy said in a previous interview that the University typically increases the level of financial aid on a yearly basis along with the rate of tuition, which largely funds financial aid.

According to Tucker, the University works hard to keep cost from being a factor that deters qualified students from coming to the University.

As for the increasing number of international students from China, Tucker said the University office in Shanghai, which opened last December, is not a reason why 62.1 percent of international students are from China. Instead, he said, the University is focused on building connections with alumni, corporations and other universities.

“The large number of applications we receive from international students reflects the strong reputation of our university worldwide,” Tucker said. “We do not spend much on international recruiting.”

Tucker said one way the University helps students understand and work together with one another is by building a diverse class of bright, talented students.

“Part of the Illinois experience is getting to know people who are different from you,” Tucker said. “Having a student body that is diverse in many dimensions — gender, race, ethnicity, country of origin — improves the educational experience for everyone.”