Fall Enrollment Increased at Private Colleges in the QCs

Jan 19, 2018

This fall, more students enrolled at private colleges in the Quad Cities. That reverses a trend of steady or decreasing enrollment over the last several years.

Michelle O'Neill gives us the numbers from Augustana College and St. Ambrose University.


About 800 new students arrived at Augustana College in August, bringing total enrollment at the Rock Island campus to 2,600.

Karen Dahlstrom, Director of Admissions at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL
Credit submitted / Augustana College

Karen Dahlstrom, Executive Director of Admissions, says that's a 4% increase compared to last year. Like many private colleges, Augustana has stepped up recruiting, actively seeking international students. Dahlstrom says new sports and the school's 12-to-one faculty-to-student ratio help attract students.

In 2020, Augustana College will switch from trimesters to semesters. That should improve retention and make it easier to transfer credits.

James Loftus, St. Ambrose University's Vice President for Enrollment Management, says not as many students enrolled over the last several years. But that's changed. Total enrollment at St. Ambrose is around 3,100. That includes nearly 2,400 undergrads & 750 graduate students.

Loftus says he can't blame the recession for the previous years' enrollment declines. The faculty-to-student ratio at St. Ambrose is 15-to-one, and Loftus says the university adds academic programs as needed. The most recent is a Masters of Public Health Administration.

Credit file

For fall, enrollment at Western Illinois University in the Quad Cities decreased 7% compared to a year ago. Over the last seven years, WIU says undergraduate and graduate student on-campus enrollment has steadily declined, while off-campus and extension undergraduate graduate enrollment has increased. 

Western's faculty to student ratio is 14-to-one. In addition, the university eliminated 11 jobs over the past year.

(This story originally aired in November, 2017.)