URBANA – With a total of 8,303 students enrolled this fall, the freshmen class of 2025 is the largest ever at the University of Illinois Urbana campus. Yet, a recent university report shows a decrease in minority students enrollment.
Director of Undergraduate Admissions Andy Borst said there was an increase this fall of students coming from all over the United States and outside the country.
“There was a noticeable growth in students coming from California, Texas, Florida and Georgia. We also saw an increase in the number of students coming from India as well as international students who are studying in the United States.”
Borst said the university’s academic reputation and COVID-19 protocols could have encouraged more students to attend the University of Illinois.
“How we manage the pandemic with our testing initiatives was noticeable to many of our students,” Borst said. “We heard positive comments about feeling like they could come to campus and be in a safe environment.”
However, U of I data also shows a decrease in Black and Latino student enrollment over the past three years. Black student enrollment decreased from 8.7% in 2019 to 6.9% in 2021. While Latino student enrollment decreased from 14.9% in 2019 to 13.3% in 2021.
Freshman Melissa Arroyo said money can be an issue for minority students to attend college.
“One of the main things, especially because of COVID, I personally know other students, other my friends having to work and having to help out with their family,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo said she hopes the university will provide more support to high school students during the application process.
Borst said the university offers several financial aid programs, such as Illinois Commitment. The financial aid program covers tuition for Illinois freshmen and transfer students whose family’s annual income is $61,000 or less.
“We have several initiatives and because of those initiatives, we are well ahead of our peer institutions and our diversity. But we still want to be better than where we are currently sitting,” Borst said.