URBANA — When Chancellor Phyllis Wise welcomed new students to campus last week, she described the group as the most diverse class ever at the University of Illinois.
"You are the global generation," she said to the thousands assembled in the Assembly Hall for new student convocation on Friday.
Preliminary figures released by the university on Monday, the first day of classes, reflect the continuing trend on campus of a growing international student body, one with thousands of students from across the globe.
Nearly 20 percent of all UI students hail from outside the United States, according to the university's statistical abstract of first-day enrollment. That's up from almost 13 percent just five years ago.
Official numbers, including more detailed demographics on the classes, will not be released until mid-September. Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler declined comment until the final numbers are released.
The preliminary numbers show an increasingly global student body, with students coming from more than 100 countries. As has been the trend in recent years, China sends the most students to campus. This year there are 3,739 students from China studying at the UI, including 2,137 undergraduates and 1,594 graduate students. China is followed by South Korea with a total of 1,317 students and India with 878. Other countries represented included Taiwan with 361, Iran with 113, Canada with 109 and Singapore with 103. The breadth of other countries represented at the UI range from Angola and Burkina Faso to Syria to Uzbekistan.
After Illinois (there are about 28,000 Illinois residents studying at the UI), the state with the most residents enrolled at the Urbana campus is California with 566, followed by New Jersey with 260 and New York with 246. Of the Midwest states, there are 229 students from Missouri, 186 from Michigan, 153 from Wisconsin, 146 from Indiana and 66 from Iowa.
Other preliminary findings from the report:
— According to the preliminary numbers, there are a total of 31,784 undergraduates, 9,176 graduate students and 1,101 students enrolled in professional programs on the Urbana campus.
— The Illinois county sending the most students to the U of I was Cook with 10,422 students followed by DuPage with 2,584, Lake County with 2,728, Champaign with 2,450 and Kane County with 849. Vermilion County sends 130 students to the UI.
— Men continue to outnumber women on campus. They make up nearly 55 percent, while woman comprise about 45 percent of the student body, according to the data.
— African-American students studying at the UI number 2,126 and Asians number 5,213. There are 2,798 Hispanics, 856 multiracial students and 110 Native American/Alaskan Native/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders. White students total 22,333.
Enrollment is up on all three of the UI's campuses, according to the university. More in-state, out-of-state and international students applied for seats in the Urbana campus' freshman class. A record 31,454 students applied for the approximately 6,900 slots.