Southern Illinois University Carbondale sees largest freshman class in six years

Total enrollment at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is down, but SIU is touting its largest freshman class in six years.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 6:02 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Total enrollment at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is down, but SIU is touting its largest freshman class in the last 6 years.

SIU for this fall semester has 11,107 students, just 1.4% lower than 2021.

This fall, 1,518 Salukis are starting their college career, an increase of 6.8% over their predecessors.

In 2021, the university welcomed 1,422 new students.

“We intensified our focus locally, especially with getting out there and getting information to kids as quick as possible and to their parents as well as to the community colleges,” said Wendell Williams, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment at SIU.

Williams said focusing on local students is paying off.

He also said they are already looking to increase the numbers on campus even more.

“We’ve already started for the next semesters starting outreach efforts this coming Wednesday,” Williams said. “We’ve got almost 6-700 people signed up to come for our SIU day here on campus.”

For the first time since 2004, the university has increased its Freshman class for three consecutive years, and it did that during a pandemic.

“I’m a legacy student so that was a large part of it. And they gave me a pretty good financial aid package,” freshman Mariam Al-Faruqi said.

Having a parent who attended Southern Illinois influenced this student to attend SIUC.

“I knew that this school existed and I knew that it was here. But I really didn’t think that I was going to come here until my senior year, until I actually started to realize that the programs were good for psychology so I think that was a big deal,” said Al-Faruqi.

And for this sophomore, he’s hoping the numbers continue to climb.

“As a future educator, I would love and want to see more people get enrolled into SIU. Get in those fields like education, administration, business because SIU has a lot to offer,” sophomore Daniel Franklin said.

Williams also credits the Saluki Step Ahead program.

It allows community college graduates to earn their bachelor’s degrees remotely for a lower cost in select programs.

“We believe new creative programs like that will be the key to making the enrollment growth and reaching that target of 15,000,” Williams said.

Williams said he does believe SIU will hit their goal of 15,000 students by 2030. He said programs like the Saluki Step Ahead, recruiting locally and recruiting highly populated areas are some of the keys to do that.