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September 24, 2019

NIU Welcomes Larger Classes of Freshmen, Transfer and Graduate Students

Positive trends are consistent with the university's strategic enrollment management goals and desired stabilization of enrollment

DeKalb, Ill. — The Fall 2019 incoming class at Northern Illinois University is larger, more diverse and boasts a better academic profile than in 2018.

The university welcomed 4,791 new students to campus this fall. That number includes 1,897 new freshmen (up 2 percent), 1,611 new transfer students (up 2 percent) and 926 new graduate and professional students (up nearly 9 percent).

The academic quality of this year's freshman class also improved, with the average high school grade point average climbing from 3.31 to 3.36 and increases in the number of students who graduated in the top 10 percent or the top quarter of their high school classes.

This year's class is also more diverse, with more than half of all freshman and transfer students coming from traditionally underrepresented groups.

Despite the gains in new students, the university enrollment declined about 3 percent to 16,609. The drop is primarily because recent graduating classes have been significantly larger than incoming classes. That decline was anticipated in the projections of the strategic enrollment plan rolled out by the university last year.

"This past year, we developed and launched a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan that respects our mission and values and maps out a multiyear approach for creating a sustainable enrollment," President Lisa C. Freeman said. "This 10-day report affirms that our analysis and strategies are succeeding in attracting excellent students from diverse backgrounds to NIU."

Sol Jensen, NIU's vice president for Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communication, is also encouraged by the enrollment trends and academic credentials of NIU's newest Huskies.

"I'm happy that NIU has been able to attract more students while also boosting the quality of our freshman class at the same time," Jensen said. "Talented students from inside and outside of Illinois know that they receive a unique and innovative hands-on learning experience here. NIU provides the excellent and affordable higher education that today's students want, and our work to promote that message is clearly getting through."

NIU has for several years held the line on undergraduate tuition and room-and-board, capped tuition at the 12-credit-hour level and lowered fees. NIU also actively markets scholarship opportunities and works with students to apply for them. Every applicant, whether an incoming freshman or a transfer student, is automatically considered for merit scholarships based on high school or transfer GPAs and SAT/ACT scores.


Northern Illinois University is a student-centered, nationally recognized public research university, with expertise that benefits its region and spans the globe in a wide variety of fields, including the sciences, humanities, arts, business, engineering, education, health and law. Through its main campus in DeKalb, Illinois, and education centers for students and working professionals in Chicago, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Oregon and Rockford, NIU offers more than 100 courses of study while serving a diverse and international student body. The 17 NIU Huskie athletic teams compete in the Mid-American Conference at the highest NCAA Division I level. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Joe King, NIU Institutional Communications
Phone: 815-753-4299