Western Illinois University - Quad Cities campus Friday, April 12, 2019, in Moline.

Enrollment at Western Illinois University continues to decline.

That’s the takeaway from new enrollment numbers released on Thursday.

Total enrollment for fall 2019 fell 10% over the last year. WIU has two campuses, one in Macomb and one in the Quad-Cities.

"We must — and we will — stop this trend,” said Acting President Martin Abraham in a release, calling WIU a “phenomenal school.”

Undergraduate enrollment declined 12% over the last year. In the fall of 2008, the school had more than 10,700 undergrads. In the fall of 2019, it had just 5,958.

Total graduate enrollment fell 5% over the last year.

The numbers also show a decline of 6% at the Quad-Cities campus.

In an interview with the Dispatch-Argus-QCOnline.com in July, Abraham said, "There’s no future that I can foresee in which Western Illinois does not survive.”

In the release on Thursday, Abraham re-emphasized that the university is hoping to increase enrollment for fall 2020.

"We will turn it around, but we have to develop a new approach and have different ways of thinking,” Abraham said. “We cannot continue to do the same thing from years past.”

In better news for the university, the grade-point average of the incoming freshman class has increased to 3.40 from 3.31 last year. 

Retention rates also improved. The rate of new freshman fall-to-fall enrollment increased to 67.5% from 65.3% last year.


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