CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – With more than 50,000 total students for the first time in university history, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has welcomed a record-breaking freshman class for the start of the 2019 academic year. The new freshman class is also the largest, most academically talented and most diverse in the history of the university.
“We are so pleased to welcome this record-breaking class to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,” said Chancellor Robert Jones. “As one of the nation’s top public universities, we have an opportunity to provide an excellent education at scale. This new milestone demonstrates our unmatched capacity to provide affordable access to a world-class educational experience.”
A new high in applications (43,509) yielded the freshman enrollment of 7,665, topping the previous record of 7,609 in fall 2018. Total enrollment of 51,196 surpassed 49,339, the previous record set last fall. Of the total enrollment, there are 33,850 undergraduates, 16,319 graduate students and 1,027 professional students.
The new freshman class has the strongest academic profile of any prior class, with an average SAT of 1348 and a core academic GPA of 3.60. The new freshman class is also the first ever to have an average ACT score over 29.
There are 5,698 students from the state of Illinois, once again making Illinois the largest provider of undergraduate education to the state. These students represent 92 of the 102 counties in the state. Freshmen from central and southern Illinois have increased 18 percent.
The Class of 2023 is also the most diverse class in history with 23.2 percent coming from underrepresented backgrounds, with increases in African American students and Latinx students and a higher percentage of first-generation students at 24.7 percent. The 949 international students are more globally diverse, hailing from 40 countries, more than in previous years.
The university welcomed 1,448 transfer students, the highest number in the last 20 years. The Class of 2023 includes students from 43 states.
More than 30 percent of new freshmen and new transfer students from the state of Illinois qualified for the new Illinois Commitment program that was announced in August of 2018. Illinois Commitment is a financial aid program that guarantees free tuition and fees to any admitted student with a family income of $61,000 or less, the median income of state residents.
The Class of 2023
Graphic by Michael B. Vincent
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“The Illinois Commitment program has helped the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign drive quality, size and diversity of students,” said admissions director Andy Borst. “I’m really pleased to see that even more of the state’s best and brightest students decided to enroll at Illinois this year, and we were also excited to see so much geographic diversity across the state – including a significant increase in central and southern Illinois.”
The total enrollment of 51,196 includes both on-campus and online students. At the graduate level, there have been significant increases in enrollment for the iMBA, the online Master of Accounting and the online Master of Computer Science programs.
"We are pleased that we continue to retain and graduate our students at one of the highest rates among our peers," said Kevin Pitts, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. "Our newest class is already one of the most accomplished in our history, and we know they are just getting started. We can't wait to see what they accomplish in their time at Illinois."