CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — With a freshman enrollment of 8,303, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has welcomed a record-breaking freshman class for the 2021-22 academic year. The new class brings total student enrollment to 56,299, the largest in university history.
“We are so pleased to welcome this class to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign,” Chancellor Robert Jones said. “Lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, our unmatched COVID-19 testing program and our ongoing innovation have allowed us to continue to provide an excellent education at scale, even in the midst of a global pandemic.”
The totals include 5,835 new students from Illinois, the largest number of in-state students in the freshman class since 2018 and the second largest in 10 years. These students represent 92 counties throughout the state. The university also admitted a record number of in-state students this admissions cycle.
The freshman class includes 1,352 students from 44 other U.S. states. The class of 2025 also represents 42 countries, with 1,112 international students in the freshman class, contrasted with 954 students in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The freshman class includes 20.1% of students (or more than one in five) from underrepresented groups and about the same percentage (20.1%) of first-generation students.
The freshman class has a strong academic profile. The average ACT was 31.4 (29.8 in 2020) and the average SAT was 1410 (1331 in 2020). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACT and SAT tests were optional for admissions this year, with approximately 58% of enrolling new students submitting scores.
“The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign continues to recruit some of the brightest minds across the globe,” said Andreas Cangellaris, the vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. “Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility to mold these brilliant young minds into the leaders who will solve the world’s future problems and advance society.”
The total undergraduate enrollment of 34,559 is higher than the previous record of 33,850 in 2019.
“We are thrilled with the number of students who accepted their offer this year,” director of undergraduate admissions Andy Borst said. “However, we do not plan to increase by this percentage every year. Next year, in order to ensure that we are maintaining our undergraduate enrollment within the bounds of university resources, we are planning to intentionally reduce our target by approximately 600 students to be more in line with previous years.”
Fall 2021 enrollment also set records for total number of graduate students – 20,567, up from a record 17,866 last year – and 1,173 professional students in law, veterinary medicine and medicine, up from a record of 1,123 in 2011. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many international students deferred admission from 2020 to 2021, resulting in 2,859 new international student enrollments for fall 2021 – up from 1,521 a year ago.
Additionally, online graduate programs continue to be attractive options and now account for 45% of all graduate student enrollment. These include the Coursera programs in the Gies College of Business (enrolling 5,440) and The Grainger College of Engineering (enrolling 1,387).
The demand for master’s programs – both online and on-campus – have led to a 22.8% increase, now representing 66% of total graduate student enrollment.
“We are experiencing robust growth in virtually all sectors of graduate education, particularly in master’s degrees and online programs,” said Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, the dean of the Graduate College. “We are encouraged that so many students want to take advantage of a graduate education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.”