Illinois Wesleyan New-Student Enrollment Up 9%

State Farm Hall
Illinois Wesleyan welcomed 487 new students to the University this fall, a 9% increase in new-student enrollment.

Sept. 3, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Illinois Wesleyan welcomed 487 new students to the University this fall, a 9% increase in new-student enrollment. Total enrollment held steady at  1,636. Official enrollment figures were computed after the 15th day of classes.

“As many universities across the country face significant enrollment declines amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are especially pleased to be breaking this trend with a larger-than expected group of diverse, accomplished students,” President S. Georgia Nugent said. “The strength of this class underscores the value of an Illinois Wesleyan educational experience and the personal attention our faculty and staff provide each student –– whether they opted to pursue their courses in person, online, or with hybrid delivery this fall.”

The incoming class includes 131 students –– 27% of the total class  –– who self-identify as students of color, representing the third-most diverse class of students in University history.

Students from six countries, 30 states and Washington, D.C. make up the incoming class. Locally, a record-high total of 58 new students from McLean County enrolled this fall, a 38% increase over last year’s McLean County new-student total.

“The Illinois Wesleyan Associates continue to invest deeply in the future of local students through support of the McLean County Scholarship Guarantee ,” Nugent said. “Over the past three years, the number of talented McLean County students who have chosen to pursue their undergraduate degree locally at Illinois Wesleyan has increased significantly, thanks in large part to the Associates’ steadfast commitment to the success of our community and our students.”

Transfer numbers also increased this fall, with 42 new transfer students –– a 35% increase –– including nine from Heartland Community College. Academic quality held consistent, with an average class GPA of 3.8 . The incoming class consists of 62 first-generation students and 64 with an Illinois Wesleyan family legacy.

“We're happy that students and families are recognizing that Illinois Wesleyan offers a distinctive education, combining a broad liberal arts curriculum with strong pre-professional programs – a uniquely valuable offering in our rapidly changing environment,” Nugent said. “We also believe that a number of students opted to defer their enrollments due to the pandemic, and we look forward to having those students join us this spring or next fall.”

Illinois Wesleyan continues to recruit and retain high-caliber students, with a 90% average retention rate –– 12% above the national retention rate –– according to College Scorecard data.

By John Twork