Fall 2013 student enrollment hits new record
If you’re looking for Kevin Browne or Oscar Rodriguez, you might not find them in their offices.
Instead, try Turkey or Kuwait.
Browne and Rodriguez — UIC administrators in academic and enrollment services — are spending more time traveling internationally and throughout the U.S. to recruit students to UIC.
It’s an effort that’s paid off, Browne said, as international and nonresident student enrollment increased this fall.
“Students are not only applying, but they’re also being admitted and coming to UIC,” said Browne, vice provost for academic and enrollment services.
UIC set a new record for total enrollment this fall, up 77 students from last year for a total of 27,589 students, according to 10th-day enrollment statistics.
The student population includes 16,660 undergraduates and record highs at the graduate (8,186) and professional student (2,743) levels. More than 95 percent of undergrads and more than 80 percent of all students are from Illinois.
“The size of the class is almost exactly what we would like,” Browne said. “We never want to be over or under by too much. We were less than a percent off our targets.”
Browne attributes enrollment increases to greater recruitment efforts and UIC’s switch to the Common Application for admissions.
This fall’s international student enrollment rose from 1,975 students last fall to 2,132 this year, an increase of nearly 8 percent.
International students contribute to the university academically by bringing a global perspective to the classroom, Browne said.
They also contribute fiscally, since they don’t receive state or federal aid, he added.
UIC historically has had a healthy increase in international students at the graduate level, so recruitment efforts are specifically targeting undergraduate students from other countries.
In 2009, 227 undergraduates were from other countries, a number that increased to just 265 students in fall 2012.
But since last fall, UIC has recruited nearly 100 more international undergrads for a total of 350 students.
Nonresident undergraduate enrollment also rose this year, up nearly 19 percent to 329 students.
Browne and Rodriguez, director of recruitment and outreach, are representing UIC in the Middle East, northern Africa and Asia.
“If we’re going to be a world-class institution, we need to invite the world in,” Browne said.
Nationally, UIC administrators are increasing recruitment efforts in the Southwest, Southeast and Northwest.
Once students are admitted, they need to see what UIC has to offer, Browne said. Undergraduate colleges, departments and support units hosted dinners, receptions and special events for admitted students in the spring, he said.
“Getting students to campus is critical,” Browne said.
“The campus has made so many changes over the past 10 years that a lot of people who have impressions of UIC find that they are very dated. People who come to campus are in awe of the fact that we have 3,000 trees on campus and green space.
“It’s about putting the university into context so students and families can make a good choice on where they want to go for the next four years.”
New admissions tool
For the first time, UIC used the Common Application, an online admissions application used by more than 500 colleges and universities, for this fall’s admissions.
“We’ve successfully migrated to the Common App — we’re the first public university in the state of Illinois to use that tool,” Browne said.
The application simplifies the admissions procedures for prospective students, allowing them to fill out just one application and send it to several colleges and universities.
Applications for fall enrollment were up 2 percent. The number of nonresident and international student applications also rose after UIC switched to the Common App, Browne said.
“It’s a much more vibrant tool that our old campus application,” he said. “The applications were much more complete.”
UIC will continue to use the Common App for students applying for next fall, he said.
“There’s 24/7 technical support and it’s organized so students can fill out sections, save it and come back later,” Browne said. “It’s a much better tool.
“We’re very happy with the first year of this new technology — it had people nervous because it was new — but it went much better than we could have hoped.”
The number of freshmen this fall is down 0.6 percent from last fall, to 3,104 students. Undergraduate transfer enrollment is up 13 percent this fall to 1,640 students — the highest level since fall 2010.
The racial-ethnic profile was similar to last year, with no single group a majority. For the first time, new transfer students do not hold a racial or ethnic majority.
Total enrollment for all three U of I campuses is about 74,150 this fall.