ISU sees promising future with ISU Advantage

A ten-year look at ISU's enrollment numbers. *Fall 2020 and Fall 2021 numbers do not include dual-enrollment students.

Indiana State University announced enrollment of 9,459 for the Fall 2021 semester, down 12.6 percent from Fall 2020. Additionally, ISU will have several hundred “dual-credit” high school students taking courses for college credit. Following best practices, ISU eliminated dual-credit students from its enrollment count starting in Fall 2020. In the Fall 2018 and 2019 semesters, an average of 577 dual-credit students were counted. 


ISU had Spring 2021 enrollment of 9,662, a number exacerbated by the pandemic. 


Several programs posted an increase or maintained historic high demand in Fall 2021, including Cyber Criminology, Elementary & Secondary Education, Interior Architectural Design, Math & Computer Science, and the MBA. Enrollment in the Honors College remains strong and continues to represent about 10 percent of total enrollment. 


Fall 2021 freshman enrollment was 1,434, down from 1,776 a year earlier. Yet the high school grade point average of the Fall 2021 freshmen was 3.29, the highest in at least 20 years. “High school GPA is the best predictor of success in college,” said Jason Trainer, Vice Provost of Enrollment Management. 


Overall, ISU has 2,526 new students — first-time freshmen, graduate students, and transfers. 


“We are pleased to recognize some of these positive trends, but there is much work to be done,” ISU President Dr. Deborah J. Curtis said. “Enrollment is not where we need it to be, and we need to own this challenge. Recruiting and enrolling well prepared students to ISU is job one for everyone on campus. 


“We are being aggressive in addressing recruitment challenges that are all too familiar to those being faced by our colleagues at institutions similar to ISU. We know we have to adapt to changing demographics and attract traditional students as well as those among the 700,000 Hoosiers with some college and no degree. We have all of the talent and resources we need to bring a life-changing ISU education to more people.” 


The Indiana State Advantage, announced earlier this month, is a bold, three-pronged guarantee starting with freshmen in Fall 2022. It includes a grant of up to $3,000 for an out-of-classroom educational experience for all on-campus first-time full-time students. That experience can include an internship, study abroad, research, or a service project. 


Pell Grant-eligible students from Indiana who qualify academically will have what amounts to free tuition and those eligible are guaranteed the ability to graduate in four years or the rest of tuition is free. 


The Indiana State Advantage involves a realignment of existing scholarship resources. 


The newsletter Indiana Education Insight said the “immediate reaction was highly positive.” The Indiana Commission for Higher Education said it “warmly welcomed and supported” the Indiana State Advantage. The Indiana Chamber called it a “strong initiative.” An editorial in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star said it’s “important and necessary.” 


Applications to ISU for Fall 2022 are higher than they’ve been at this point in five years.