Elmhurst University enrolled its second-largest class of new students ever for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Included in that tally is the largest class of new graduate students in the institution’s history—which marks a third record-setting year in a row in that category.
In all, 1,217 students started at Elmhurst in the new academic year, a 10% increase from pandemic-affected 2020. The school’s overall enrollment stands just above 3,400.
“I believe we achieved these results through our fundamental dedication to adhering to our core values,” said Timothy Ricordati, vice president for admission at Elmhurst, “which attract students interested in social justice; diversity, equity and inclusion; and social responsibility.”
A diverse group of first-year students—almost half of whom identify as first-generation college students—helped strengthen the overall enrollment picture. They are joined by more than 300 transfer students and 293 graduate students.
“Our record new graduate student enrollment was influenced by a combination of factors,” said Tim Panfil, the University’s senior director of graduate admission and enrollment management.
“Elmhurst’s name change to ‘University’ in July of 2020 helped elevate the level of awareness of our graduate programs nationally as well as internationally. Additionally, our program offerings give students maximum flexibility to attend classes. Finally, our admission staff and graduate program directors take the time to get to know the applicants and assist them throughout the enrollment process.”
The numbers also reflect a variety of innovative program offerings and approaches to higher education. Elmhurst piloted a test-optional application process in the 2020-2021 academic year that remains in place. In another example, 27 undergraduates are participating in this year’s launch of a Distance Accelerated BSN program, designed for nursing majors who live outside of the Chicagoland area.
“We find that students appreciate our efforts to go the extra mile, and this shows up in terms of our enrollment and retention results,” Panfil said.
This year’s new Bluejays landed at Elmhurst at a historic moment. The University continues to celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding in 1871, with special events planned through the Commencement ceremonies in May.
The new class joins returning Elmhurst students who have come back to on-campus learning and living. In-person events are back as well, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.