CARBONDALE -- Growing numbers of international students and large freshmen classes are encouraging SIU officials that their efforts to boost enrollment and retention are paying off.
SIU reported Tuesday a 25-student increase in enrollment, bringing the school's student enrollment just 11 students shy of 18,000.
The modest increase ends a nine-year trend of falling enrollments that saw the school's student body shrink by more than 16 percent in less than a decade.
The nine-year streak was broken, in part, by a 2.4 percent increase in freshman enrollment, a 2.3 percent increase in transfer students and an almost 25 percent increase in undergraduate and graduate international student enrollment.
"Our hats are off to the faculty and staff who have created the exciting learning and living environment that has attracted and retained a great student body at each of our campuses," President Randy Dunn said in a release.
The School of Medicine welcomed 72 new students, bringing its total student body to 213 training at the Springfield campus.
SIUE reported a record-setting freshman class of 2,126 and a record full-time student body of 13,972. This year's transfer class is the second largest in school history and the school also experienced a 27 percent increase in international enrollment.
The SIU School of Dental Medicine in Alton has 50 new students enrolled.
"We've stepped up our game and we're showing why the SIU system, with its many campuses and learning locations from Carbondale to Edwardsville, Alton and East St. Louis to Springfield and Lake County, is where students and families want to invest in quality and affordable higher education," Dunn said.
The SIU system reported a total of 31,961 students in programs at all of its locations.