CSU’s Fall 2023 Undergraduate Enrollment Increases Five Percent

New Freshman Student Enrollment Increases 21 Percent to Surpass Pre-Pandemic Levels

CHICAGO, IL (Sept. 7, 2023) - Chicago State University, Illinois’ only four-year Predominantly Black Institution (PBI), announced today that its fall 2023 undergraduate enrollment is up five percent compared to last fall. This continues the University’s upward enrollment trend following the implementation of student success strategies focused on improving access to higher education for its applicants.

CSU’s data show double digit percentage increases in several categories, including first-time freshman (up 21%), transfer students (up 22%), reinstated students (up 69%), and dual enrollment students (up 23%). Fall 2023 enrollment of undergraduate students has increased by five percent year-over-year, reflecting a total enrollment increase of one percent overall.

CSU credits the undergraduate increase across these student populations to Cougar Commitment, the University’s student success strategy that focuses on innovative programs to support equitable student access and completion. The Rise Academy is one of these key innovation programs, designed as a five-week, first-year experience program that gives participants access to workshops, mentors, and career exploration, on top of a full tuition and fees scholarship for their first-year. These Rise Scholars are supported with wraparound services as they transition into college.

Incoming transfer students to CSU increased by 22 percent. This increase was made possible through meaningful investment in transfer scholarship opportunities, including a guaranteed scholarship for all incoming transfers. Additionally contributing to this growth, 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.

In 2022, CSU began a strategic initiative to reconnect with former students who had previously stopped-out of the University,  enrolling 69 percent more students than had been reinstated in the previous academic year.

“At Chicago State, we are innovating, expanding programming and increasing outreach to get our students into the classroom, and it’s working. And given that the majority of our faculty and staff are people of color, students come to campus seeing leaders and professionals who look like them,” said Oscar Rodriguez, vice president of Enrollment Management at CSU. “We are listening to our students and those in the community to understand their needs and potential obstacles of attending a university and working to bridge the gap.”

“This is great news for Illinois and CSU! Our undergraduate enrollment numbers are proof that our bold investments in student success are changing the lives of students, their families, and their communities,” said CSU President Z Scott. “I’m very proud of the hard work and dedication of everyone on campus who worked to increase college access for students. Over the past 10 years, enrollment of Black students at Illinois colleges and universities declined by 37 percent, a number that was made worse by the global pandemic. At CSU, our focus is to reverse that trend by making higher-education equitable and accessible for our students.”


About Chicago State University

Chicago State University, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois. The University’s continued value to students and the State of Illinois is demonstrated by the ranking by a Harvard economist that places CSU in the top 4 percent of public and private universities nationwide in supporting its graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent community anchor and civic space on the greater south side of Chicago by leading a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities.