SIU officials address declining enrollment - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

SIU officials address declining enrollment

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University leaders address another decline in enrollment after the campus lost more than 1,700 students since last fall. 

Public Relations Director of SIU Rae Goldsmith said the 12% decrease in enrollment this year was not surprising. 

"We were not surprised, they were actually better than what we projected them to be due to the changes that we were planning for the future," Goldsmith said.

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville also declined in enrollment by more than 3%, but overall has more students than SIU for the first time ever.

The University of Illinois released their 2018 enrollment numbers on Wednesday. For the eighth year in a row, the Champaign-Urbana Campus has broke its enrollment record.

But Goldsmith told News 3, it's not a competition.

"So one of the great values of higher education in the state of Illinois is that there are different kinds of institutions," Goldsmith said. "We are not necessarily all competing against one another. There are community colleges, there are research institutions like us, we all kind of look at who we are and make sure we are projecting who we are to the students."

Rex Budde is the CEO of Southern Illinois Healthcare. SIH endorsed SIU-C's planned addition of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

"A new program is going to enthusiasm at the university, it's going to bring in more students to the university," Bubbe said. "We need more nurses. we need a better education for our nurses, a more complete education for our nurses. Community colleges do a wonderful job but they are only a two year degree."

Goldsmith agrees adding a new program could help draw in more students.  SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno also has initiatives planned to help increase enrollment. 

"We are looking at our academic programs and looking at the academic experience," Goldsmith said. "We had a new chancellor start a year ago and he is already implementing a number of changes that we believe we will help turn our enrollment around and we are already seeing some of that."

Montemagno's goal by 2025 is to have the university back up to 18,300 students. That's 6,500 more than what are enrolled now at SIU. 

The SIU Board of Trustees are meeting on Thursday in Edwardsville. 

One of the items on the bust agenda is the consideration to hire a funding allocation consultant. 

The funding split between the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses has been a hot topic this year. Edwardsville gets about 40% of the money from the state. Officials there said that's unfair, especially because now they have more students than Carbondale. 

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