University of Illinois plans major enrollment growth, tuition freeze

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University of Illinois is rolling out an ambitious effort to boost enrollment by 15 percent over the next five years, growing the three campuses to more than 93,600 students.

School leaders are aiming to add around 12,150 students by 2021, pinpointing increases in undergraduate programs at the Chicago campus, and graduate and online programs in Urbana-Champaign.

The move comes as the university system tries to attract more Illinoisans and underrepresented minorities. U. of I. President Timothy Killeen is scheduled to detail the plan at Thursday’s board of trustees meeting in Chicago.

All three schools were directed to create enrollment strategies last summer, school officials said.

Urbana-Champaign would aim to create new online master’s level degree programs in subjects like computer science, accounting and business administration. A new medical degree also would be launched in step with the opening of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

Enrollment would go from around 47,000 in fall 2016 to more than 53,000— a jump of 6,300 students.

UIC plans to attract nearly 4,800 more students by adding and expanding programs.

Five new academic programs would be added: integrated health studies, nutrition and wellness, integrated health sciences, disability and human development, and data science. More enrollment also would occur by bolstering another 18 existing programs, and filling other undergraduate, graduate and professional programs to capacity.

School projections show student populations growing from 29,120 in fall 2016 to 33,905.

Springfield would add more than 1,000 more students by introducing new programs, improving marketing for its online courses and broadening its recruitment territory.

Five new undergraduate programs, two new concentrations, two graduate certificate courses and one new master’s level program would be added. Officials also would scour downstate Illinois and the East St. Louis area for prospective students.

“Big numbers aside, this enrollment initiative is really all about opportunity — giving more students the opportunity for a world-class education that will transform their lives and seizing on our opportunity to serve the needs of the state by expanding the pipeline of talent that is so critical to is future,” Killeen said in a statement.

Trustees also are scheduled to vote Thursday on freezing tuition for in-state freshmen for a third straight school year, the longest streak of unchanged admissions rates in four decades.

Administrators are proposing the same base tuition for first-year Illinoisans that the university first established in the 2014-15 school year. Incoming students would continue to pay $12,036 at Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 at UIC and $9,405 in Springfield.

drhodes@chicagotribune.com

@rhodes_dawn

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University of Illinois plans major enrollment growth, tuition freeze

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