CSU’s Fall 2022 Enrollment Shows Strong Student Pipeline
Innovative Student Access and Success Programs Continue to Fuel a Foundation for Positive Enrollment Trends of Undergraduate, Graduate Students


CHICAGO, IL (Sept. 19, 2022) - Substantial growth in total freshman and sophomore enrollment, along with increases in incoming transfer and graduate program students, define the fall 2022 enrollment cycle for Chicago State University (CSU), the city’s public university on the far south side and Illinois’ only four-year Predominantly Black Institution.  

The total freshman class, including new incoming first-time freshmen and continuing freshmen who originally entered in previous terms such as spring 2022, grew substantially by 62.1 percent from 235 to 381 last year. The total sophomore class enrollment also grew significantly 25.7 percent from 179 to 225 year-over-year.

“We have seen a significant increase in our student applications as Chicago State University continues to draw diverse, talented students from throughout our region. We have widely advertised and expanded our relationship with schools and other organizations that support students in the college selection process.” said CSU President Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, Esq. “We have corporate partners across the city, including Discover Financial, Spark Foundry, Leo Burnett and Hyatt Corporation who are working with our students to provide real world experience and networking opportunities that lead to successful careers. CSU's commitment to access and affordability is highlighted by the fact we have one of lowest Illinois public university tuition rates and programs such as our freshman year program Rise Academy. These programs and partnerships will produce a needed pipeline of diverse leadership for the future.” 

CSU credits these freshmen and sophomore increases to Cougar Commitment, the University’s student success strategy that focuses on innovative student access and success programs. The Rise Academy is one of these key innovation programs, designed as a five-week, first-year experience program that names incoming freshmen students as Rise Scholars and gives them access to workshops, mentors, and career exploration. Combined with a full tuition and fees scholarship for their first-year, Rise Scholars are supported with wraparound services as they transition into college. For fall 2022, CSU enrolled 102 Rise Scholars, an increase of 14.6 percent from the previous year.

Incoming transfer students to CSU increased by 6.1 percent. This increase in transfer students was made possible through meaningful investment in new transfer scholarship opportunities, including a guaranteed scholarship for all incoming transfers. Additionally contributing to this growth, in 2022, the University was awarded a U.S. Department of Education-grant to launch the CSU Pathways to Success program, which supports strategic initiatives for recruitment, retention, and graduation of transfer students over the next five years.

Total CSU enrollment for fall 2022 is 2,296, a slight decrease of 2.1 percent from a year ago. This decline was anticipated due to environmental conditions of the ongoing global pandemic, pandemic-related impacts on students, and historic job market. 

“Between 2013 and 2019, Black students at Illinois colleges and universities declined by 34 percent, and that was before the pandemic. This data demonstrates that higher education is not fully serving our Black community and our future diverse leaders,” said CSU Provost Dr. Leslie Roundtree. “As Illinois’ only four-year Predominantly Black Institution, CSU has invested, and will continue to invest, considerable resources to remove barriers to access and success for all of our students.”

Last year in fall 2021, CSU was the first member school in the pilot program of Hope Chicago, an innovative two-generation college scholarship program committed to investing $1 billion in postsecondary scholarships to Chicago Public School students over the next decade. In fall 2022, CSU expanded its partnership, ensuring that Hope Chicago scholars became eligible for a full suite of comprehensive support including all college expenses, tuition, transitional support, on-campus housing, and academic, social, and emotional support resources. This fall, 17 incoming students are Hope Chicago scholars at CSU.

CSU’s commitment to its Dual Enrollment program produced a dramatic 84 percent increase in enrollment, from three students in fall 2021 to 87 students in fall 2022. Dual Enrollment offers college credit courses to high school juniors and seniors at no tuition cost to the student. This program supports and encourages students to pursue higher education and reduces the overall cost of college.

Incoming graduate students to degree programs supported by the CSU School of Graduate and Professional Studies increased by 8.7 percent over the prior academic year. Similarly, this increase was made possible through scholarship investments for incoming and continuing graduate students. The University's graduate programs, ranging from a master of occupational therapy to a master of science in Library & Information Science, are distinct regionally by offering small size classes that provide for individualized attention from professors rather than graduate or teaching assistants.