CHICAGO (AP) — Only 86 full and part-time freshmen enrolled at the financially troubled Chicago State University for the fall semester and overall enrollment is down 25 percent, according to figures released Tuesday.
The school, which is dealing with money troubles due in part to loss of state funding amid the budget crisis, has fewer than half the students it did six years ago, the Chicago Tribune reported. About 3,600 students are taking classes this fall, down from about 7,350 students in 2010. Undergraduate enrollment is down 32 percent in one year.
The school receives about 30 percent of its revenue from the state and has little private fundraising or reserves to make up for it. It declared a financial emergency in February, about 40 percent of its employees have been terminated or laid off and academic programs and services have been reduced.
The school's president, who spent nine months on the job, resigned this month and is leaving with $600,000 in severance. The university also was sanctioned by its accreditation agency.
Chicago State's student body is unique: The majority of undergraduates are black, and most students are women. Nearly half have at least one child and most are low-income. More than half are at least age 25.
The turbulence has proved difficult for students like junior Adrian Mercado, a residence hall leader who said at a recent trustees meeting that he's "having a hard time seeing the future for Chicago State University.
"How do I talk to my residents and the people that come to me for help all the time about the future of Chicago State University?"
Chicago State officials didn't have immediate comment on enrollment numbers.