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Northern Illinois University says fall enrollment is down by almost 5% but its incoming freshman class is larger than last year's.

The university said Wednesday that overall enrollment is down 4.9% to 21,869 students. New freshman enrollment is up 2.9% to 2,664.

Northern Illinois President John Peters says the decline in overall enrollment follows several years of smaller incoming classes. Peters said that trend may hold overall enrollment down for the short term even as freshman enrollment increases.

The biggest freshman enrollment growth is in NIU's engineering, education and business schools.

Several other public universities in the state have announced enrollment declines this fall. The University of Illinois said Wednesday that its freshman enrollment is off slightly but overall enrollment hit a record of just 42,800.

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