WIU creates programs designed to enhance enrollment numbers

Danny Davis

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A jump in enrollment is showing a positive upswing compared to the decline in undergraduate enrollment of past years. One of the main contributing factors for the increase is GRADTRAC.GRADTRAC guarantees a student a four-year bachelor’s degree at WIU. Implemented by Charles Gilbert, director of Institutional Research and Planning, the purpose of GRADTRAC is to ease the complications between students and the university. Started this semester, WIU has set the standard for being one of the few universities that offer a program such as this.

Programs such as the four-year, fixed-cost GRADTRAC are helping to increase the number of students who register at WIU.

As of now there are currently 12,610 students attending WIU, which amounts to an increase of 410 people. The question then arises whether it could be the result of incentive programs such as these.

“I think the key factor is that we have a progressive marketing program; the GRADTRAC and the four-year guaranteed tuition got great press for that. Plus the fact that the graduating class in Illinois went up 12 percent. Those two in combination accounted for the increase,” Gilbert said.

The four-year, fixed-cost program has hopes of bringing the numbers up considerably more. It was created for students to have a steady cost and will be used to attract students in the fall 1999 class.

“We think the GRADTRAC probably had some positive influence,” Gilbert said.

With an increase of 9 percent in freshman enrollment, the incentive programs at WIU, including GRADTRAC, are making an impact. Students, however, have to give a commitment to the programs.

Both these programs require students to maintain a certain GPA, in addition to maintaining contact with their academic advisers.

Today’s students are averaging about four-and-a-half years to complete degrees. And at a retaining rate of approximately 7 percent, GRADTRAC and the four-year, fixed-income program are working to help students graduate in only four years.

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