Amid Declining Enrollment, WIU Engineering Recruits Area High School Students

Sep 1, 2017

Western Illinois University is trying to convince local high school students to study engineering at the Quad Cities campus amid a drop in enrollment.

Students tour the "Maker's Lab" at Western Illinois University on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.
Credit Mariah Woelfel/WVIK

On Friday, about 70 students from Pleasant Valley and Riverdale High Schools toured WIU's engineering facilities, and questioned current students about their experience there.

Program director William Pratt says enrollment in the school's engineering and mechanical engineering programs is down 16 percent this year. 

"One of the problems that we have is that no one knows we exist, so we're taking the bull by the horn and doing our own recruiting."

Pratt says he wants to be more aggressive in the recruitment of high school seniors, and says Illinois' fiscal uncertainty could have contributed to the drop in enrollment. 

The engineering program as a whole has about 140 students this fall, compared to 169 last year. The program started eight years ago with six students.