A photo of people gathering for new student orientation at Northeastern's El Centro location

Friday, January 20, 2023

Northeastern Illinois University had the greatest year-to-year growth percentage of first-time, full-time freshman enrollment among all Illinois public universities for the 2022-23 academic year, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s (IBHE) “IBHE First Look - Fall Enrollment 2022-23” report. The report notes the increase of freshman enrollment at Illinois public universities by five percent in Fall 2022 compared to the Fall 2021 term. Northeastern achieved the greatest year-to-year growth with a 58.6 percent increase of first-time, full time freshmen. 

“In the current higher education landscape, increasing Northeastern’s first-time, full-time freshman enrollment numbers by such a high percentage is a significant achievement for our University, while recognizing that additional work needs to be done with transfer and continuing students,” Northeastern Illinois University President Gloria J. Gibson said. 

A press release issued by the Office of Gov. J.B. Pritzker noted Illinois outpaced the national enrollment growth rate of African American and Latinx freshmen with enrollment of Latinx freshmen in Illinois increasing by a remarkable 12.9 percent, compared to a decrease of 0.7 percent at the national level. National data also showed that national enrollment of African American freshmen decreased by 4.3 percent, but in Illinois enrollment of African American freshmen increased by 10.5 percent. Among Northeastern’s 2022-23 class of first-time, full-time freshmen, 48 percent identify as Latinx and 20 percent as African American or Black.

"Here in Illinois, our universities are bouncing back—bucking national trends and exemplifying excellence at every turn," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. "While other states battle dwindling enrollment numbers, our public universities are seeing extraordinary growth—largely driven by Black and Latino incoming freshmen. This just goes to show that when you invest in the young people of our state, the returns are exponential."

According to the IBHE report, Northeastern also increased its annual participation in dual credit/dual enrollment programs by 716.7 percent. 

“Northeastern Illinois University worked as a collective unit and assisted hundreds of students through the enrollment process,” Northeastern’s Vice President for Enrollment Management Kimberley Buster-Williams said. “Over 16 percent of our students received our NEIU For You scholarship, which helps make Northeastern a very affordable place to obtain a four-year degree for many Illinois students. This team effort has continued as new student enrollment looks promising for Spring 2023. I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished.”

While total credit-hour enrollment is currently down by 11.7 percent for Spring 2023, enrollment data for the term is encouraging. Compared to Spring 2022, Northeastern’s new transfer enrollments for Spring 2023 are up by 19.9 percent (283 students) and new graduate enrollments are up by 13.1 percent (268 students). 

“This improvement would not have been possible without the work of our entire University community,” Gibson said. “I especially congratulate our enrollment staff for doing a fantastic job of identifying and recruiting new students.” 

Northeastern Illinois University is now accepting applications for the 2023-24 school year. Deadlines and admission requirements can be found on Northeastern’s Admissions webpage.