University of Illinois System
HomeAbout the OfficeCommunicationsPrograms

Strategic Enrollment Management & Planning

University Growth Plans

Each U of I System university (Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield) submitted an enrollment management strategic plan during Summer 2016, resulting in an increase in system enrollment up to approximately 12,150 students over five years (2016-17 through 2021-22 academic year).

Based on current graduation rates, this would result in an increase in U of I System degrees awarded up to approximately 10,000 over the same period.

Strategies for growth vary by university but focus on the creation of new degree programs, the expansion of existing programs by increasing or maximizing capacity, and the addition of program offerings, particularly through online delivery.

Strategic Enrollment Planning Principles

The universities considered a number of principles as they seek opportunities to grow enrollment, including the following:

  • Maintain quality of educational experience at the highest possible level
  • Ensure growth is consistent with strategic mission and goals of the university as well as the System
  • Capitalize on reputational strengths in designing plans for growth
  • Ensure there are adequate resources (e.g., # of faculty, residence hall space, classroom space) to accommodate growth
  • Increase opportunities for Illinois residents
  • Ensure there is sufficient demand in majors and colleges slated for growth
  • Assess employment opportunities in areas of projected growth
  • Benchmark with peer institutions to ascertain likely competition in new areas

Summary: Increase from 81,499 in Fall 2016 to 93,646 in 2021, or a 15% enrollment growth.


Process used:

  • Surveyed every unit for enrollment plans as part of campus budget planning process
  • Reviewed enrollment trends (i.e. increasing/decreasing student demand)
  • Targeted programs based on student demand for high value degrees, available capacity or capacity through technology, and opportunity for revenue improvement
  • Goal to maximize institutional impact in a financially sustainable manner

Enrollment Projection:

  • Current (Fall 2016): 46,951
  • By 2021: 53,255
  • Increase of 6,304

Urbana’s freshman class already ranks among the nation’s highest, so growth focuses on graduate and professional programs, with an emphasis on online programs. 

  • 6th largest freshman class in country in 2014; 66% admission rate
  • Targeted programs include new online iMBA, new online Master in Computer Science in Data Science, new online Master of Science in Accountancy, Master of Science in Library and Information Science and Master of Science in Information Management (expansion), new MD degree, and several other graduate and professional programs


Process used:

  • Surveyed deans regarding current enrollment, existing enrollment capacity, and projected demand for each program
  • Reviewed market (competition), demand, US Bureau of Labor Statistics outlook, and other market analysis for potential new programs

Enrollment Projection:

  • Current (Fall 2016): 29,120
  • By 2021: 33,905
  • Increase of 4,785

Majority of growth is planned in undergraduate programs (93.6%).

  • Approximately one third of the increase would be achieved through increasing enrollment in existing programs to capacity and the rest of this portion through expanding 18 programs and investing in five new programs
  • New undergraduate programs include: Integrated Health Studies (AHS), Nutrition and Wellness (AHS), Integrated Health Sciences (Pharmacy), Disability & Human Development (AHS), and Data Science (CBA)
  • Remaining growth would stem from expanding existing graduate and professional programs to capacity


Process used:

  • Surveyed units to gather viability data and direct cost estimates for new academic programs
  • Formed working group of administrative leaders from academic support services, budget and administrative planning, enrollment management, facilities, information technology, recruitment, and student affairs that analyzed existing institutional strengths; historical enrollment, retention, and degree completion data over the last five years; foreseeable external opportunities for and competitive threats to enrollment growth

Enrollment Projection:

  • Current (Fall 2016): 5,428
  • By 2021: 6,486
  • Increase of 1,058

Strategies for growth include increasing the number of degree programs offered, increasing recruiting efforts in downstate Illinois, and expanding online offerings.

  • Key priorities include increasing marketing for online degree programs at undergraduate and graduate levels, maintaining international recruitment efforts, continuing strategic allocation of scholarships, and increasing enrollments in programs with capacity
  • Plan to increase recruiting efforts in Metro East St. Louis and Downstate Illinois regions
  • New programs include undergraduate offerings (five new programs: Biochemistry, Exercise Science, Public Administration, Public Policy and Theatre; two new concentrations: Finance & Sports Management in BBA, Healthcare Informatics in MIS), a master's degree program in data analytics, a pre-nursing curriculum in association with BSN, and two graduate certificate programs (Educational Technology and Higher Education Online Pedagogy)

report card image

Tuition Commitment

The U of I System is committed to holding the line on tuition and fulfilling its land-grant mission of access and affordability. This fall, in-state tuition increased for the first time in six years, a sub-inflationary increase that followed a five-year tuition freeze that was the longest in a half century.

Four-year Undergraduate Tuition Guarantee

Tuition rates for incoming students remain unchanged for four years under the state’s guaranteed tuition law, launched in 2004 to help students and families plan for the cost of a public university education by fixing tuition rates for the four years required to complete most undergraduate degree programs.

For specific details on estimated student costs at each university, as well as financial aid and scholarship information, visit: 

Visit the Budget & Tuition FAQ