csu graduate enrollment increases 5%

students respond to demand for educators, health care workers and enhanced technical skills

chicago, (september 11, 2020) – for the first time in over five years, new graduate student enrollment at chicago state university has increased. the number of new graduate students at csu this fall is 966, up 5% from fall 2019.

“despite the challenges presented by the covid-19 pandemic, our new graduate and professional students have pivoted during this crisis, pursuing the advanced degrees required to meet the needs of today’s labor market,” said zaldwaynaka scott, esq., chicago state university president.

enrollment increased in 18 programs in the graduate college compared to the previous year. enrollment in 11 programs increased by over 50%, including school counseling, business administration (mba), early childhood education, elementary education, special education, principle preparation endorsement, library information sciences and public health.  enrollment increased by nearly 50% in several other graduate programs, including social work, physical education and technology performance improvement studies. the program growth aligns with labor-market demands for educators, health care workers and enhanced technical skills.

chicago state university is first in illinois in equity in black student access and success (USC Race & Equity Study, 2018).  The graduate and undergraduate university student body is 71% female; 70% african american, 7.3% latinx, 6.6% white, 11.9% other, and 4.2% asian/pacific islander/american indian; 89% of students are pell grant-eligible; and the average age of undergraduates is 32. overall, csu is vital to the socioeconomic and racial diversity of illinois’ workforce.

the university’s total enrollment is 2,620 according to data released by csu’s office of institutional effectiveness and research. the figure is based on enrollment 10 days after classes started (known as the 10-day census). overall enrollment declined by 11.5%.  the decline was driven by undergraduate and international student enrollment.

csu surveyed students who elected not to return to the institution, finding the primary reasons students did not return this fall were financial hardships, inability to pay, conflicts with work, and health concerns. prospective and continuing international students reported challenges with securing visas and traveling to csu as key issues impacting their enrollment decision.

“csu has made tremendous strides in making a college degree more accessible and is committed to expanding our student success initiatives. however, our students and their families are one hardest hit by covid-19,” said president scott.  “our students are essential workers on the frontlines, live in communities with highest rates of covid-19 illnesses, and have families disportionately harmed economically. csu will continue developing partnerships to ensure our students and communities can secure a college education.”

this summer, csu launched cougar commitment, a comprehensive, evidence-based program of financial, academic, and well-being resources that expand access to higher education and support students through graduation.  this includes a freshmen student success initiative called rise academy. full-time freshmen receive their first year tuition free and other academic, well-being, and financial resources to ensure success in their first year of college.

for more information about cougar commitment, visit csu.edu