EVANSVILLE − Enrollment at the University of Southern Indiana continues to drop, down 7.3% this fall compared to the fall semester in 2021.

The state-supported university reported a combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment of 7,361 on Monday.

That is down from 7,938 last year and includes a 9.1% decrease in undergraduates. The university reported 5,539 students enrolled in its undergraduate programs this fall compared to 6,093 for fall 2021.

Last year USI's undergraduate count fell 9.6% from 6,739 in 2020.

Total enrollment last year fell 6.7% from USI's 2020 figure of 8,505. In fall 2020, USI's reported total enrollment fell 2.1% from the fall 2019 semester.

Here is a look at how enrollment at the campus has changed in 10-year intervals over the past four decades, back to 1980, when the school was still operating as Indiana State University-Evansville:

  • • 1980: 3,251
  • • 1990: 6,480
  • • 2000: 9,012
  • • 2010: 10,702
  • • 2020: 8,505

First-time freshman student enrollment at USI is 1,251 this year, down from last year’s 1,327 − a return to the downward trend that began in 2017.

USI Provost Mohammed Khayum said colleges across the state and around the country are feeling the challenges of adapting to changing times.

“Our success in increasing graduation rates and the resulting record graduating classes place more urgency on reversing the decline in the size of our new freshmen classes,” Khayum says. “While we made some headway last year as a result of adjustments in our enrollment activities, this year’s decline in the new freshmen class clearly indicates we need to redouble our efforts and make additional adjustments to our enrollment initiatives and activities.”

USI cited National Student Clearinghouse data, showing 662,000 fewer students enrolled in undergraduate courses across the country last spring semester.

The educational national nonprofit reported undergraduate enrollment was down nationally 4.7% in the 2022 spring semester compared to the previous spring. USI also cited Indiana Commission for Higher Education data showing only 53% of high school seniors enrolled in college, meaning 4,000 fewer high school graduates went to college in 2020-21 compared to the previous year.

USI did report continued growth in the number of students of color and international students enrolled, a record number.

The Southwestern Indiana school also reported that of its 1,822 graduate students, more than 90% were in online-only programs, including its accelerated Masters of Business Administration degree.

In-state students make up more than 77% of its student body, with out-of-state and international students making up 22.9%.

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