Freshman class grows by 9 percent at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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URBANA, Illinois — The freshman class at the University of Illinois' flagship Urbana-Champaign campus this fall is the second largest in the school's history and is more diverse than in previous years.

According to number released by the school this week, the class has slightly more Illinois residents and more African-American students than last year. The class also has 1,100 international students and more than 70 percent of them are from China.

After a decade-long percentage decline, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign saw a 9 percent increase in its freshman class, with 7,565 incoming students. That's just below the largest freshman class in school history, with 7,583 students in 2005, said campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

Overall enrollment on campus increased by 1.1 percent, The (Champaign) News-Gazette ( ) reported. This fall, 44,087 students are enrolled, compared to about 43,602 students last fall.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign officials are pleased with the improvements this year, Kaler said.

"We're delighted when we can keep more of our best students in the state," she said. "We admit a lot of students. Our biggest problem is that many of them get really attractive financial offers to leave the state. The fact that tuition has held steady probably helped us in that area."

The University of Illinois' Springfield campus recorded the second-largest student body in its history this fall.

Fall semester enrollment is 5,402 students, slightly less than last semester's record 5,431 students, the Springfield school said Tuesday in a news release. Of those students enrolled this semester, 11.6 percent are African-American and 5 percent are Hispanic.

Enrollment this fall at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale reached its lowest point in decades, with 697 fewer students attending the school than last year, accounting for an almost 4 percent decrease.

Administrators at the Carbondale school expect the enrollment decline will result in $5.2 million in lost revenue.

Information from: The News-Gazette,

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