University of Illinois increases financial aid and acceptance of applicants from Illinois

An AP analysis of the Urbana-Champaign campus (UIUC) of Illinois’ largest state university indicates that admissions of students who gave an Illinois address as their home address recently increased by 11% over the previous year. The year-over-year increase used the 2014 UIUC fall term as the baseline and the 2015 fall term as the active population.

The UIUC admissions office had to make changes in other variables in order to achieve this significant change in the population of students who accepted their admission to UIUC. A slight drop was recorded in average figures posted by admittees on the primary test, the ACT, used by UIUC for admissions purposes. The university also offered slightly more generous packages of financial aid to many of its admitted students, with financial aid increasing by $5.4 million over the previous year. UIUC financial aid is concentrated among students from low-income families and under-represented identity groups.

The changes reported by UIUC and tabulated by the Associated Press represent a partial strategic turn away from the university’s previous “business model” of concentrating its recruiting efforts among international students. In many cases, international students have very high test scores and pay full or nearly-full tuition rate schedules. UIUC continues to conduct significant recruitment efforts overseas. Illinois’ flagship campus reports that 5,295 students with a Chinese home address are enrolled in Urbana-Champaign this fall, representing 12% of total campus enrollment.