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New student enrollment falls short from budgeted numbers

photo by Tony Xu

As the third full week of the school year concluded last week, Bradley announced its official count of this year’s enrollment.

According to the information provided by university officials, Bradley recruited 1,048 first-year undergraduate students and 950 new students for graduate programs. The total number of currently enrolled students is 5,929, including 1,293 graduate students.

Compared to the budgeted number, first-year undergraduate student recruitment was short by 12 students. This class is smaller than last year’s class by 42 students. Graduate programs are short by about 100 students from the budgeted number, but had about a 100 student increase compared to last year’s recruitment.

The class of 2023 is composed of students from 30 states and five continents. About 27 percent of the students are racial minorities and 26 percent of the class are first-generation college students. In addition, the average freshman GPA was 3.79 and the average SAT score was 1175.

According to Justin Ball, vice president for enrollment management, higher education as a whole is facing enrollment pressures from the demographic changes.

“This year, nearly all of the private institutions, that are our peers, had major shortfalls in their freshmen numbers, many with shortfalls that dramatically impact their situations,” Ball said. “We’re facing major demographic challenges in the numbers of students graduating from high school and attending college, specifically in the state of Illinois and throughout the Midwest.”

Part of the pressure on enrollment came from last year’s enrollment shortfall, where Bradley suffered in both new student recruitment and student retention. As a result, the university had about an $8 million deficit for the last fiscal year.

Ball also said the Division of Enrollment Management focused on emphasizing the topic of the financial aid process to Illinois high schoolers and their parents.

“Given its significance in the college decision, we have chosen to focus on providing students and families more information earlier in the process about managing the investment in a Bradley University education and the types of financial aid available to them,” Ball said.

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