CARBONDALE - Spring enrollment after the 10-day head count is at 18,442, more than 300 fewer students than spring 2011.
While there is an overall drop from the spring 2011 figure of 18,764, Chancellor Rita Cheng pointed to what she sees as positive trends.
Cheng said expectations were that with factors such as smaller class sizes, the drop was expected to be about 360, rather than 322.
"This number clearly exceeded our expectations," Cheng said.
The university has 99 new undergraduates, which is 14 more than spring 2011. On-campus international enrollment has shown a 6.4 percent increase with 77 new students. Total off-campus enrollment has increased by seven students to 2,072 with 349 students enrolling in distance education, compared to 313 in 2011.
Colleges showing increases include the College of Science with an 83-student increase and the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, including a 54-student increase in radio/television. Engineering, Agricultural Sciences and Applied Sciences and Arts also has increases.
Cheng said factors including graduation and students leaving mid-semester helps contribute to the drop. There was a 32-student drop in master's degree students and 16-student drop in the SIU School of Law. Doctoral students, however, have increased by 13 students.
She said one reason for drops in graduate students could be attributed to a downturned economy and that students may be leaving graduate-level education to return to work because of the uncertainty.
The spring numbers took a drop from the fall headcount of 19,817. She said that drop is normal from fall to spring because of graduating students.
"The census count for spring is always smaller than the census count for the fall," Cheng said.
If going by spring to fall and fall to spring counts, SIU increased by 1,053 students from spring 2011 to fall 2011 and decreased by 1,375 from last fall to spring 2012.
She said recruitment efforts are beginning to pay off and that the increased tenacity in going after undergraduate students is showing.