U recruitment efforts in Illinois draw students

by Brady Averill

More students from Illinois are attending the University two years after the admissions office stepped up recruitment efforts in the state.

University Admissions Director Wayne Sigler said early statistics show 82 first-year students from Illinois are attending the University this year. Last year, 55 first-year students were from the state.

“We had never chosen at that point to focus in a way as we are now,” he said.

Recruitment in Illinois is a result of the University’s goal to strengthen the state’s workforce, diversify the student body and offset the decreasing number of high school graduates from Minnesota, Sigler said.

Illinois is one of the few states in the Upper Midwest that is projected to produce more high school graduates in the next several years, he said.

“We hope to have increases each year to the point that we’ll eventually enroll between 150 and 200 new Illinois freshmen each year,” Sigler said. “But it’s going to take time to reach that, of course.”

Minnesota effect

Illinois students do not get reciprocity when paying tuition, but Sigler said there’s still some appeal to attend the University.

Out-of-state, full-time student tuition for this academic year is $9,154 per semester, according to the University’s Onestop Web site. Tuition costs $3,339 per semester for full-time Minnesota residents this year.

The University’s metro location has many parallels with Chicago, where the University concentrates its recruitment efforts on high school graduates, Sigler said.

“They’re comfortable in the sense that we’re both Midwestern cities,” he said.

Instead of going to college close to home, Illinois graduates can attend the University without incurring major transportation costs every time they want to go home, he said.

Sigler said attracting more graduates from Illinois won’t hurt Minnesota residents’ chances to attend the University. In-state residents are the University’s top priority, he said.

Attracting other states

Recruiting methods in Illinois closely match what is done in other states, Sigler said.

Sigler said the University is using the Illinois effort as a pilot initiative to look at high school graduates from other metropolitan centers such as Omaha, Neb., Kansas City, Mo., St. Louis and Indianapolis.

“We decided to continue to be a great national university – you want to have a national student body,” he said.

Aida Guidice, the guidance director at Bartlett High School near Chicago, said the school received University application folders but few students show interest.

Students are typically most interested in out-of-state colleges in Wisconsin and Iowa, she said.