A recent analysis of 57 Midwest public colleges and universities shows that “most Illinois schools suffered significant decreases in enrollment from fall 2015-2016” after the yearlong state budget impasse.
The analysis is from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
“[F]lagship universities in Illinois are in the middle of the pack for midwest schools of comparable size,” the ICPR’s report reads. “However, mid-size and small public universities show falling enrollment numbers that are not on trend with similarly sized schools in the region.”
Overall, Chicago State University had the worst enrollment decline at 24.9 percent.
“While a series of factors can contribute to a change in enrollment numbers, Chicago State may be the most pressing example of how the budget impasse directly affected enrollment,” the report states.
Among small schools, or those with 10,000 students or less, Eastern Illinois University had the third worst enrollment drop at 13 percent.
Among mid-sized schools, or those with a student population between 10,000 and 20,000, Southern Illinois University Carbondale saw the worst enrollment drop, 7.5 percent, compared to one year ago. Western Illinois University and Northern Illinois University had the second and fourth worst enrollment declines at 6.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.
“There can be a myriad of factors contributing to increased or decreased enrollment in schools, so it is difficult to draw a direct correlation to the events of the past year. However, Illinois lawmakers should take into account the long-term affects of withholding funding from state institutions, as it can set Illinois on a downward trend not seen by other neighboring states,” ICPR’s report states.