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EIU’s enrollment comeback isn’t all it seems

Monday, Sep 30, 2019

* Eastern Illinois University posted a 10 percent enrollment increase last year and a 4 percent increase this year. But, as Gabriel Neely-Streit reports, there’s a catch

Over at least the past two years, the university has begun to include high schoolers enrolled in dual credit courses and dual enrollment programs in its total enrollment count.

The young programs have been very popular, adding over a thousand students to EIU’s overall headcount, and helping the university build strong relationships with high schoolers across the state.

They have also allowed EIU to claim enrollment increases despite a declining on-campus population, possibly muddying the true picture of the university’s size and health. […]

The “dual enrollment” courses are taught by EIU faculty over videochat and online learning platforms at 10 high schools within 60 miles of the university, explained Professor Rebecca Throneburg, Chair of EIU’s Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences, who co-led the university’s early dual credit efforts. […]

Dual credit students don’t pay full EIU prices, she said, yet the university must pay faculty salaries.

Go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - JT - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 9:06 am:

    Is the school just now offering dual credit in the past two years or have they been offering it for longer and not counting those dual credit students? If the latter, they have been misreporting to the federal government until now.


  2. - JS Mill - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 9:38 am:

    Using dual credit kids in the count is misleading. Most are only taking a course or two per semester and don’t count as full-time students.

    Kids enrolled in early college programs would be different- they spend most if not all of the day on campus and still get high school credit.


  3. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 9:44 am:

    Wait till 2026 then there is another nationwide drop of 9 percent. It was the topic on the Rock Pearson show yesterday.
    It’s also discussed in WIU BOT meetings . They never came up with a plan.


  4. - JT - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:05 am:

    JS Mill - every school that offers dual credit is reporting these students, or at least should be according to federal requirements. You raise a valid point about how their enrollment patterns compare to “regular” students though and the federal government should develop better ways to account for these differences. The amount of dual credit activity varies from one school to another with community colleges making up the majority of the numbers but the four-year schools are tapping into this market too.


  5. - DuPage - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:08 am:

    Some of the community colleges have been offering dual-credit arrangements for many years.


  6. - Annonin' - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    Someone might want to fact check this little item
    EIU was working to offer dual credit courses in the NW ‘burbs. If students don’t pay full EIU price. Why not. Most dual credit classes cost more.


  7. - HB Advocate - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:32 am:

    The article barely touches on how unique these dual enrollment/credit programs are, and how rare faculty originated programs like this are across the national higher education landscape. This isn’t your standard dual credit model, which may be why it has grown so quickly.


  8. - Central IL - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    This is why FTE is used for enrollment numbers. It considers total credit hours enrolled and calculates how many full time students that equates to - for comparison purposes. One high schooler taking one class is not being counted the same as a residential full-time student.
    Are these high school students any different from a working adult taking one online course a semester through EIU? Do part-time, nontraditional or distance/online students not count anywhere?
    Of course they count. They count as a portion of an FTE according to federal reporting guidelines. So EIU is reporting them as such.
    SIU admits they aren’t tapping into this market. That is their choice. But EIU is, and thus these students are earning college credits from EIU.
    All legislators talk about is improving partnerships and pathways and offering innovative delivery models, and EIU does just that while also increasing its enrollment and then gets dinged for it with this headline? SMH


  9. - Smalls - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:09 am:

    Western is also doing dual credit classes with high schools. I don’t know if they are doing the same gimmick with their formal enrollment numbers. If they are, things are really dismal there.


  10. - 62656 - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:38 am:

    The article says Western’s dual credit classes only had 78 students for Spring 2019 semester.


  11. - FIO - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    This development actually makes the strong case that Illinois devotes too many resources to bricks and mortar facilities when higher education and other forms of learning can be done from anywhere.


  12. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    WIU uses other tricks with the extension catagory.


  13. - swIll - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    Hope they can bring in some of these dual credit students. EIU’s full-time undergrad enrollment continues to drop, with fewer than 4000 students on campus this semester.


  14. - HB Advocate - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 4:15 pm:

    Shouldn’t be a problem if they keep up the double-digit percentage increases in New Freshman they have seen the last two years. Dual credit or not, that isn’t something most of the Public Universities have seen the past two years.


  15. - ArchPundit - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 5:23 pm:

    —-Wait till 2026 then there is another nationwide drop of 9 percent.

    Illinois has something like a 9 percent drop around that time period, but not the nation.

    WICHE has the best data on this https://knocking.wiche.edu/data

    Illinois needs to right size the college and university systems there’s no doubt about that, but EIU should generally be applauded for taking the initiative on these issues.

    Illinois is still more complicated than Minnesota as far as I can tell. One of my daughters is a junior in high school and full time as dual enrollment at The University of Minnesota (TC). She’s not in extra classes, but in the regular college classes the U offers. While Dual Credit and Dual Enrollment are good, it still seems like Illinois is making it more complicated than it needs to be.


  16. - Susan - Monday, Sep 30, 19 @ 7:47 pm:

    I believe the 10 day count is not FTE #s but actual student headcount.
    Therefore those numbers of new students are deceiving.


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