2019 marks a record-breaking year with more than 50,000 students enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The number of students pursuing graduate degrees increased significantly this year, with graduate students now representing roughly 30 percent of the total student body.
A record number of applications (30,312) yielded 5,220 new fall enrollments for 2019. Currently, 16,319 students are enrolled in an on campus or online graduate program, an 11.2% increase from last year.
This increase in graduate enrollment is primarily due to the growing demand and success of Illinois’ online graduate programs, most notably the iMBA, the Master’s of Computer Science (MCS), the EdD in Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership (EPOL), and the iMSA in Accountancy. The iMBA increased from 1,592 to 2,448, the MCS from 619 to 935, the online EdD in EPOL from 197 to 332, and the iMSA from 173 to 303.
“Our online programs help us fulfill our land-grant mission, by reaching diverse new populations of strong students who want an Illinois degree, but are not in the position to quit their jobs and move themselves and their families to campus to study full time,” says John Hart, executive associate dean in the Graduate College.
“These degree options provide these students the flexibility to further their education. Both online and on-campus students earn the same degree, so both online and on-campus courses have to deliver the same rigorous learning objectives, and require expert instruction by the same tenure-track and specialized faculty,” says Hart.
Diversity among graduate students is on the rise. Enrollment of graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds (African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) increased by 14.6 percent, with graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds comprising nearly 10 percent of the total graduate student population.
“The increased enrollments of students from historically underrepresented groups is a positive step in the right direction, but we must do more,” says Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, dean of the Graduate College. “Illinois is committed to broadening participation of students from diverse backgrounds and, through our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs we will continue to devote our efforts to recruiting and supporting as diverse and outstanding a cohort of graduate students as possible.”
The number of female students also increased (9.8 percent) as did the number of international students (15 percent). International graduate students come to Illinois from 101 countries around the world. The top countries of origin are China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Iran, Brazil, Turkey, Canada, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
“The growth in applications and subsequent enrollments is testament to the strong and enduring reputation of Illinois as an institution at the cutting edge of scholarship and graduate education. At a time when enrollment declines are making headlines across the nation, it is gratifying that outstanding students from across the globe are excited about coming to Illinois to work with our world renowned faculty” says Chodzko-Zajko.
For more data on graduate education, see the Division of Information Management: http://dmi.illinois.edu/stuenr/
For additional data about Illinois graduate programs, see the Graduate Education Dashboard at https://grad.illinois.edu/dashboard.