Since 2011, enrollment on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus has increased by nearly 2,000 students while total university enrollment has decreased by almost 10,000.
Officials say a combination of economic and demographic shifts have caused the decline at IU’s regional campuses, which are particularly susceptible to those changes. But it’s a different story for the university’s flagship campus.
“Bloomington is a classic example of a campus that can overcome demography and economy,” said John Applegate, executive vice president for university academic affairs. “Clearly, they have done so very impressively.”
Higher education enrollment runs counter-cyclical to the economy. When the economy is doing well, enrollment tends to decrease. When economic conditions are poor, enrollment tends to increase.
That was certainly the case at IU. In the spring of 2008, when the Great Recession began, overall enrollment was about 93,000. Three years later it shot up to more than 102,000. Since then, it has fallen to below 2008 levels.