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Campus News / News

Rockford University Welcomes Surge in 2020-21 Enrollment

10/06/2020 10:00 am

Increases in Undergraduate, Freshman Class, and  Advanced Education Degrees

ROCKFORD, Ill. (October 6, 2020) – Rockford University, the region’s leading private four-year institution, today shared the results of its 2020-21 enrollment, noting significant year-over-year growth and some of the largest enrollment numbers in more than three decades. The highest-growth enrollment areas for Rockford University this academic year are the freshman class, total undergraduates, and Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Education programs.

First-Year Class Enrollment

The size of the freshman class increased 39 percent over last year, from 152 students to 212. This year’s first-year class marks the largest group of students in at least 30 years.

“We were gratified by the significant growth in new students coming to Rockford right out of high school this fall,” said Dr. Eric Fulcomer, President, Rockford University. “In the midst of a global pandemic, we saw increases in students from our region while also continuing to enroll students from across the country and around the world. It seems that word is getting out about the excellent education that our students receive, coupled with the success of our graduates.”

Full-Time Undergraduate Enrollment

This fall, Rockford University has 924 full-time undergraduate students, a 10 percent increase year-over-year. This matched enrollment figures from 2016, which was the largest number of full-time undergraduate students since 1994.

“The uncertainty caused by the pandemic has resulted in many students reevaluating careers paths and determining that now is an ideal time to pursue a higher education. While certainly good for Rockford University, it also bodes well for our region. The growing number of full-time undergraduate students enrolled is an encouraging predictor for the region’s overall educational attainment level,” said Michael Quinn, Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management. “As importantly, our returning students recognize the excellent faculty at Rockford University, and the retention of our students underscore the confidence in the high level of education in a safe environment.”

Advanced Education Degrees

Rockford University also saw significant year-over-year increase in its advanced education degrees. The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program had a 36 percent enrollment increase over 2019, and the Master of Education degree (M.Ed.) degree increased by 53 percent over last year.

“The demand for educators remains high nationally, and Rockford University is the region’s premier source of professional educators. Whether earning an initial teaching license or additional endorsements in high needs subjects like special education and bilingual education, students are choosing Rockford University’s bachelor’s and master’s degree programs because of their strength in outcomes,” said Kimberlee Wagner, Ed.D., Chair, Department of Education, “Additionally, partnerships with RPS 205 and the Belvidere School District encourage and support professional advancement for area teachers.”


Rockford University is a private four-year, co-educational institution founded in 1847 offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in traditional liberal arts and professional fields. The University offers more than 80 majors, minors and concentrations, including the bachelor’s degree completion program for a B.S. in Management Studies. Through its Graduate Studies department, degrees are extended to include the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and Master of Education in Urban Education, (M.Ed.). Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and is a U.S. News & World Report Best Midwest Regional University, Rockford University currently serves approximately 1,250 full-and part-time students.

For more information: Bridget Jennison, Rockford University, 312-213-6242/; or Rebecca Epperson/Emily Hartzog, Chartwell Agency, 815.282.9976/

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