Governors State Reports Largest Freshman Class
Contact: Zion Banks
Governors State University
For Immediate Release
University Park, IL—With targeted state and university initiatives to increase enrollment and graduation rates, Governors State University is reporting the largest freshman class in the university’s history, a 24 percent bump in new graduate students, and a 20 percent overall increase in international students.
Overall enrollment remained relatively flat, posting less than a one percent dip for the 2019-20 academic year. Statewide enrollment declines from 2015-2018, in part, prompted the state to launch AIM HIGH scholarships to encourage students to attend Illinois schools. Applicants must meet rigorous guidelines.
Governors State, unique among Illinois public universities, included talent in its merit definition. As a consequence, GSU has recruited student artists and debaters to join the freshman class.
University officials point to the AIM HIGH initiative for a large part of the 30 percent boost in freshman students. Of Governors State’s 263 new freshmen, nearly 40 percent received AIM HIGH grants for academic achievement, resulting in a better prepared freshman class, said GSU President Elaine Maimon.
“AIM HIGH has allowed Governors State to attract outstanding students who might otherwise have gone out of state – or even worse, nowhere,” said Dr. Maimon. “In past years, GSU’s biggest competitor was “nowhere,” indicating a loss of human capital that Illinois can ill afford. AIM HIGH is turning that around.”
Another contributing factor to the university’s historic freshman class—the largest since the university began admitting freshmen in 2014—is the re-tooled Honors program, which admitted 35 new students this year, compared with 23 in 2018. Honors students have higher graduation and retention rates.
The 52 percent jump in Honors freshmen resulted, in part, from streamlined recruiting and better communication with prospects.
Contributing to the double digit increases—423 new students in 2019 compared with 341 in 2018—at the graduate level is a newly created position at the university. The Director of Graduate Admissions and Retention began in February of 2019, executing strategies to recruit and retain graduate students.
All reported figures are generated from Census Day, the university’s 10th-day enrollment report, nationally accepted as the standard for tracking university and college enrollments for each academic year.
Other GSU census data highlights a two percent increase in Hispanic students to just under 15 percent of the student body. Additionally, the university’s living-learning community Prairie Place is at capacity with a wait list.
Dr. Maimon said the university is advancing its mission to offer an exceptional and accessible education that prepares students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to succeed in a global society. “GSU is proud to provide a high quality education to a diverse group of students.”