Fall enrollment at Southern Illinois University is seeing a decline of nearly 9 percent compared to last year.
SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno says the school's fall enrollment will total about 14,500. The largest drop is seen in the incoming freshman class, which has 408 fewer students than fall 2016.
Montemagno said the decline was anticipated, and cited multiple reasons including the state budget impasse. However, he says "reasons cannot be excuses."
He expressed confidence the university can rebuild enrollment by clearly identifying the institution as a "comprehensive doctoral research university."
Montemagno cited multiple positive developments at the university, including increases in ACT scores for new freshman, and rising freshman retention rates. He adds the university will continue to build the quality of the student body and remain committed to diversity.