UIC enrollment grows for incoming freshmen, international and online students

Students return to campus for the first week of the fall semester Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022. (Joshua Clark/University of Illinois Chicago)

Incoming freshmen, international, online and graduate student enrollment increased this year at the University of Illinois Chicago, the city’s largest and only public research university.

Incoming freshmen increased by 1.6% to 4,244, and for the sixth consecutive year, new transfer students were greater than 2,000, with 2,110 choosing UIC. The number of degree-seeking international students continued its rise to 4,263 from 3,890, an increase of 9.6% over last year. This figure includes 2,621 graduate and professional students and 1,642 undergraduate students and exceeds pre-pandemic international student enrollment.

“UIC continues to gain momentum in reaching students to deliver a transformational world-class education that impacts our communities in Chicago and beyond,” UIC Interim Chancellor Javier Reyes said. “At the helm of UIC’s accessible and affordable education is innovative teaching, research and learning experiences.”

Fully online programs jumped by 17.5% over last year to 1,434 students. This growth is primarily attributed to the demand for fully online programs prior to and following the pandemic. This year, an online MBA program that began in 2021 showed an 810% increase in enrollment from 19 to 173 graduate students this fall.

In addition, the number of total graduate students increased 1.3% to 7,798 students compared with 7,697 students last year.

While UIC’s overall enrollment dropped slightly to 33,747 from a record 34,199 in 2021, it remains 1.1% higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

All figures are based on enrollment from the first 10 days of classes, the traditional benchmark for enrollment data among U.S. colleges and universities.

UIC continues to be one of the most diverse campuses in the country — 42% of freshmen are Hispanic, 21% are Asian and 8% are Black.

Among UIC’s 16 colleges, the College of Business Administration showed the largest enrollment gains with an increase of 7% or 340 new students, for a total enrollment of 5,114 undergraduate and graduate students. The College of Engineering also showed an increase of 95 students, for a total enrollment of 5,744 undergraduate and graduate students. For the health sciences colleges, the largest gains were seen for professional students in Applied Health Sciences (26% increase) and for undergraduate students in the College of Nursing (6% increase).

About UIC

Located in the heart of one of the world’s great cities, the University of Illinois Chicago is Chicago’s largest university and only public research institution. Its 16 academic colleges serve nearly 34,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UIC is recognized as one of the most ethnically rich and culturally diverse campuses in the nation, a leader in providing access to underrepresented students. Around 80% of undergraduates receive financial assistance. With one of the largest colleges of medicine in the nation, and colleges of dentistry, pharmacy, public health, nursing, social work, and applied health sciences, UIC is the state’s principal educator of health professionals and a major healthcare provider to underserved communities. UIC students become professionals in fields ranging from business and engineering to education, liberal arts and sciences, urban planning, law and social work, as well as architecture, design and the arts. UIC is an integral part of the educational, technological, and cultural fabric of one of the world’s greatest cities.

On why UIC:

First-year UIC students posing
(Left to right) Grace Travis, Emily McCartan and Eliza Abdullai are all first-year students who said they are happy they chose UIC because of the opportunities it provides them and enjoy living in Chicago. (Jenny Fontaine/University of Illinois Chicago)

Eliza Abdullai, a first-time student studying civil engineering from Hinsdale, said what drew her to UIC was that it was the only public research university in Chicago.

“UIC is a very good school for engineering; it’s one of the top research institutions,” Abdullai said. “You’re in Chicago, so you are always surrounded by opportunities.”

Oscar Hernandez-Daguer, a graduate student from Colombia working on his doctorate in physics, said he chose UIC because of the opportunity to learn from professors involved in their own innovative research.

“In the future, I would like to be able to do X-ray research, and one of the biggest research groups working on that topic is here,” Hernandez-Daguer said.

Oscar Hernandez-Daguer
Oscar Hernandez-Daguer

Emily McCartan, a first-time student from Chicago, said she chose to attend UIC because her father had also attended the school and spoke highly of his education here. She said that she also chose UIC because it allowed her to start her college career without having to declare a major, though she is leaning toward nursing.

“I didn’t really feel super big pressure on me to immediately decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, because I felt I could ease my way into college,” McCartan said.

Grace Travis, who is also a first-time student, said she is studying occupational therapy and UIC’s pull for her was that she fell in love with the campus and UIC had the major she wanted. The icing on the cake was that UIC was in the heart of Chicago.

“I just love the city. I wanted to be in the city,” said Travis, who is from Evergreen Park.

On the diversity of UIC:

Viet Nam are international students at UIC
Sanchit Vinod Gangwal, a business student from India (left) and Annie Luu, a marketing student from Vietnam are international students at UIC. (Jenny Fontaine/University of Illinois Chicago)

Sanchit Vinod Gangwal, a senior who is from India, came to UIC in the fall of 2019. After exploring different majors, he decided to settle on business and felt UIC would give him “a head start toward the American dream.”

“UIC is not just based in one of the most progressive cities in the entire world but also has diversity as one of its prime agendas to make students feel at home even when far from home,” he said. “I have friends from my high school studying at universities across the United States. But I have not heard about a culture that genuinely focuses on the growth of students on an individual level like UIC’s.”

Annie Luu, who is from Vietnam and is a second-year student studying marketing, credited school leaders with helping foster diversity on campus and was impressed by the academics, especially within her field.

“There’s so many people from all around the world coming here,” Luu said. “They have a really good business career office where they can help us find jobs. That was one of the reasons I wanted to come here.”

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