University of Illinois among highest campus enrollments in US

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In this March 13, 2012 file photo, University of Illinois freshmen Jill Marik, left, and Jeremy Vivit study on the Quad on campus in Urbana, Ill. | AP Photo/The News-Gazette, Robert K. O’Daniel

URBANA — Enrollment totals for this fall show the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign is the seventh-largest public university campus in the country with 44,880 students.

Charles Tucker, vice provost for undergraduate education and innovation, said the campus has grown by about 1 percent annually for several decades, largely at the undergraduate level.

A campus committee has created a plan to expand the university by up to 20 percent over the next six years, in terms of degrees awarded.

Tucker said most of that growth would be through new online or graduate programs.

These programs include business, information sciences, engineering, media, social work and the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine, which could bring in more than 6,300 students.

This year’s freshman class, which has nearly 7,600 students, is the largest class in the school’s history and is among the five largest in the country, The News-Gazette reported.

The university is also close to its capacity for undergraduate residential enrollment.

“That number is growing larger and larger,” said Keith Marshall, vice provost and director of enrollment management. “We have plenty of qualified students. If we have any issues on this campus, it is a yield issue.”

According to Tucker, the yield among in-state students, or the percentage of accepted students, who enrolled to the university, is up to 43 percent this year.

While other universities have experienced flat or falling percentages of enrollment. One reason for the decline could be due to students commonly applying to 10 to 12 schools and having more options.

In the past, financial concerns have been a barrier for students. According to Marshall, the school has increased its financial aid over the past decade and now gives out over $80 million per year. This year, it increased scholarships for students admitted through the Campus Honors Program, which professor Kim Graber told the newspaper has been “enormously helpful” for students.

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