This report summarizes preliminary fall-term 2021 headcount and full-time-equivalent (FTE) enrollments at colleges and universities in Illinois. Fall-term enrollments provide a “snapshot” of Illinois higher education enrollments on the 10th day, or census date, of the fall term. Two institutions, the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and the National College of Naprapathic Medicine, did not respond to the survey.
Total preliminary fall 2021-22 headcount enrollment across all sectors and all levels was 683,125, reflecting an increase of 0.6% from fall of 2020-21.
There was some variation across the sector as Illinois public universities experienced 1.2% year-over-year growth in total headcount enrollment, while total enrollment within the for-profit sector increased by nearly 20% (18.8%). Institutions within the out-of-state sector experienced a nearly -30% decline in total enrollment relative to fall of 2020-21, while Illinois community colleges declined by -1.6% and not-for-profit private institutions declined by -0.8%.
Undergraduate headcount enrollment across all sectors totaled 523,574 in fall of 2021-22 which roughly paralleled undergraduate enrollment from a year prior (no change).
Specific to undergraduate headcount enrollment, all sectors experienced year over year declines except for the for-profit sector; the declines ranged from -0.9% at Illinois public universities to 37.1% for institutions within the out-of-state sector. Robust year-over-year undergraduate enrollment growth in the for-profit sector (+25.5%) made up for the declines in the other sectors.
Graduate headcount enrollment was nearly 160,000 in fall of 2021-22, equating to 2.5% year-over-year growth. The public universities (+6.4%) and the institutions in the for-profit sector (+6.5%) experienced growth in graduate/professional enrollments; not-for-profit private colleges experienced a slight 1-year decline in graduate headcount enrollments (-0.2%) but increased FTE enrollments by 1.6%; graduate enrollment at out-of-state institutions declined at a rate of -15.6%.
Including enrollments at out-of-state institutions authorized to operate in Illinois, fall 2021 preliminary headcount enrollments at degree-granting institutions total 683,125 (see Table 2 for institutional level data). Fall 2021 FTE enrollments total 515,888. Enrollments by sector are shown below in Table 1.
Table 2 summarizes the percent change in the preliminary headcount and FTE from 2020 to 2021. These differences are based only on those institutions that provided information in both years, so the changes reflected here are actual changes in enrollment patterns and not due to the response rate for the survey from one year to the next, nor do the changes reflect institutional closures.
When considering all sectors, overall headcount enrollment was up by 0.6% year-over-year, or nearly 4,000 additional students, and FTE enrollment was down slightly (-0.1%). The for-profit sector experienced a nearly 20% year over year increase in overall headcount enrollment (increase of around 9,200 students) and the public universities increased headcount enrollment by 1.2% (increase of around 2,200 students). All other sectors experienced overall enrollment declines.
Undergraduate enrollment declined in all sectors except the for-profit private sector, which experienced a 25.5% year over year increase in headcount enrollment, equating to over 8,000 additional undergraduate students. Because of the large increase in undergraduate enrollments within the for-profit sector, undergraduate enrollment across all sectors was flat year over year. The largest percentage decline in undergraduate enrollment was within the out-of-state sector (-37.1%, equating to a loss of over 1,600 students).
Graduate headcount and FTE enrollment increased at Illinois public universities (+6.4% or nearly 3,400 based on headcount) and at for-profit private colleges (+6.5% or nearly 1,100 based on headcount). The out-of-state sector experienced declines in both headcount and FTE at the graduate level. The year over year graduate-level enrollment changes for schools within the not-for-profit private sector were mixed with a slight decline in headcount enrollment and an increase in FTE enrollment of 1.6%.