Community Colleges in QCs & Galesburg Attract More Students
Community colleges in western Illinois and eastern Iowa are bucking a trend in declining enrollment.
Michelle O'Neill reports the Illinois Community College Board reports on average, enrollment this fall at the state's community colleges has dropped 4.2% compared to a year ago.
Only ten of the state's 48 two-year colleges reported enrollment increases this fall. That includes Black Hawk College and Carl Sandburg College which report 3% increases in the number of students compared to last year.
Sandburg President, Dr. Seamus Reilly, says low unemployment is part of the reason more people have signed up for part-time and online classes.
That way they can continue to work at the same time.
Enrollment at Sandburg based on FTE, full time equivalency, increased 1.2%.
Dr. Reilly says employers continue to need workers trained in health care, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Dr. LaDrina Wilson is Black Hawk College's Vice President for Student Services.
She says those same trends apply to the Quad Cities and Kewanee campuses. But Black Hawk's fall FTE figures were down 1.7% compared to last year.
She says one year of increased enrollment in terms of headcount is good, but it's not a trend yet.
Dr. Wilson expects the decline to continue because of population trends, including a decline in the birth rate.
Enrollment this fall at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges also rose 3% compared to last year.
That includes students at all three campuses - Clinton, Muscatine, and Scott community colleges, plus online and dual credit.