2007
Benedictine University's enrollment increase shatters national projections

Benedictine University's enrollment increase shatters national projections
November 20, 2007

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094
pbrozynski@ben.edu

Experts predict a slow but steady increase in enrollment at the nation’s colleges and universities. The National Center for Education Statistics projects an enrollment rise of 11 percent among people younger than 25 through 2014. However, Benedictine University does not pay attention to projections. The number of full-time students enrolled in Benedictine’s undergraduate programs rose from 1,692 in 2006 to 1,958 in 2007. The number of total undergraduate students (full and part-time) rose from 2,657 in 2006 to 2,993 in 2007. Including graduate students, Benedictine’s total enrollment increased from 3,924 students in 2006 to 4,573 in 2007, an increase of more than 16 percent. “I believe our enrollment increase mirrors our efforts to improve and broaden our academic offerings and our overall effort to improve and upgrade what we can offer students in terms of facilities, amenities and support services,” said Charles Gregory, executive vice president of Benedictine University. Benedictine University’s current enrollment reflects a steady increase since the late 1990s when the school educated about 2,700 students. Benedictine also remains one of the most diverse campuses in the Midwest with nearly 30 percent of the students of either Asian, African or Hispanic descent. Forty-four percent of new students at Benedictine choose science as a major, but a growing number can be found in business, psychology and elementary education. Benedictine University added two new majors this fall – global studies and bilingual journalism – and partners with College of DuPage and Triton College to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree completion program for Registered Nurses. Benedictine University also has satellite locations in Springfield and Naperville, the latter where Benedictine’s Moser College of Adult and Professional Studies serves a growing adult student population. Additionally, the three-year-old Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex contributed to a 21 percent increase in the number of student-athletes. “Benedictine University is becoming the place to be,” Gregory said. Benedictine University was one of only two post-secondary institutions in Chicago’s western suburbs to experience a double-digit percentage enrollment increase this fall, according to data collected by the West Suburban Deans. The challenge for Benedictine University and other private colleges is maintaining enrollment in the face of dire predictions for the number of students who will graduate from high school in Illinois and throughout the Midwest through 2018. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Illinois will experience a 2 percent annual decrease among high school graduates over the next 10 years. Neighboring states like Michigan (9 percent decrease), Iowa and Wisconsin (6 percent decrease) are also expected to see a dip in the pool of potential college students. “We must continue to provide quality academic programs, first-rate athletic programs and diverse student activities to attract new students to campus,” Gregory said. “We must also reach out to new markets and continue to grow while maintaining the community feeling that makes Benedictine unique.”

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Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.