- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Southern Illinois University plans to shift its recruitment focus to students from the southern part of the state, returning to a strategy that worked in the past in an effort to boost enrollment.

SIU enrollment reached an all-time high in 1991 with nearly 25,000 students, the Southern Illinoisan (https://bit.ly/1sdUeLr) reported. More than 20 years later, the Carbondale-based university has less than 18,000 enrolled students.

“If you look historically at SIU Carbondale, for many years, particularly at the height of its enrollment in the late ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, you would find a tremendous yield of students to SIU Carbondale from what I would call a ‘catch basin’ from central Illinois to the southern tip of the state,” President Randy Dunn said.

Now SIU is attracting fewer students from the area south of Interstate 72, according to Dunn. More than 1,200 students from the “catch basin” counties attended the school in 1991, compared to 768 students from the same area during the 2013 school year. Nearly 1,000 more students from Jackson County were enrolled in SIU in 1991 than those enrolled in 2013.

“We’ve got to get back to that catch area because we can do better than what we’re doing there,” Dunn said.

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, https://www.southernillinoisan.com

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