The University of Illinois turns away far more students than it admits.
Many serious questions have been raised about the future of higher education, including those involving delivery (the Internet) and costs (skyrocketing tuition).
But despite the uncertainties, there is one undeniable certainty — the University of Illinois continues to be a place where people from all over the state and world want to be.
As the new school year begins, UI officials released the admission numbers for the 2012-13 school year.
Here's the big one — more than 31,000 students applied for acceptance to a UI freshman class with 6,900 slots.
If that's not indicative of the UI's elite status in higher education, it's hard to know what would be.
There is no question that many of the UI's more than 42,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students are paying a high price to attend, so high that questions have been raised about affordability to middle-class families. Still, the application numbers would indicate that the UI still is considered a good value to prospective students.
Another number the UI released jumps off the page — 20 percent of its students come from outside this country. That's a dramatic jump from the figure of 13 percent just five years ago. More than 3,700 students come from China alone, making higher education a state export of sorts.
The state of Illinois faces serious financial challenges, and that means that the UI does as well. Still, the institution is managing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, and, based on the demands of the marketplace, more than well enough.