* The Dispatch-Argus takes a deep dive into Western Illinois University enrollment, which has declined 35 percent over the past decade…
Ten years ago, WIU had just 515 Hispanic and 887 black undergraduates. In the current academic year, WIU has about 850 Hispanic undergrads and 1,400 black undergrads — an increase of more than 60% for each group. […]
But the diversification of campus has accompanied white flight. While black and Hispanic enrollment has climbed, white enrollment has done the opposite, falling about 50% since fall 2008. […]
A review of data from the 62 Illinois counties deemed “rural” by the federal government shows that rural enrollment at WIU has fallen by 48% over the last decade.
But the rate of rural decline is surpassed by the rate of suburban decline. A large part of WIU’s decrease comes from the five “collar counties” surrounding Chicago, including Kane County west of Chicago (down 51%), north suburban Lake County (down 59%), and Chicago’s western neighbor DuPage County (down 63%).
In 2008, the collar counties sent 2,725 students to WIU. In 2018, that number had dropped to 1,190.
While rural areas experienced a 15 percent decline in high school graduates between 2006 and 2016, the suburbs saw a 7 percent increase.