Total enrollment falls for eighth consecutive year

Total enrollment has dropped for the eighth consecutive year at USI, falling to 8,690 students.

This year’s fall enrollment of graduate and undergraduate students is a 3% decrease from last year’s numbers according to Census data numbers released by the university Sept. 17.

Total enrollment has fallen despite an increase in graduate students, which are up by 6.1% from last year. USI officials cite the Romain College of Business’ online MBA program as a large part of the increasing graduate students. USI currently offers a total of 13 master’s programs and two doctoral programs.

Undergraduate enrollment, which makes up the bulk of the student population, is 7,153 students. First-time college students totaled 1,585, which is a decrease of 4% from 2018 and from 7.9% in 2017.

High school students earning college credit through the College Achievement Programs, or CAP, also dropped this year, falling from 2,059 in 2018 to 2,044 this year. CAP students enrolled in USI dual-credit courses from 27 high schools in Indiana.

Transfer enrollment also decreased from 519 to 510 students. Minority and International student enrollment did reach a record high at USI with 15.4%. This is up from 14.7% last year.

The sliding numbers reflect an eight-year trend when undergraduate and graduate enrollment peaked at 10,820 students in 2011. Since then total enrollment has fallen by nearly 20%. Enrollment last fall dropped below 9,000 students for the first time in 15 years.

“More students at this point as well as parents are questioning the value of higher education given the increasing costs and some are choosing other career paths,” President Ron Rochon said at a university-wide meeting Aug. 13. “I expect this number will continue to increase before it flattens.”

Other universities across the state have also recently released their enrollment numbers, with many of them reporting decreases.

Indiana University reported a record freshman class for the third straight year. Total enrollment, however, decreased slightly by 0.8% according to the Indiana Daily Student.

Enrollment at Indiana State University fell 6.9% this fall, a decrease that university officials expected according to the Tribune-Star.

The University of Evansville and Ivy Tech Community College in Evansville have not yet released their enrollment numbers.