Lincoln Land Community College Beneficiary of State’s Increase in Higher Ed Funding

By Benjamin Cox on March 20, 2023 at 2:16pm

LLCC Trustee Dr. Vicki Davis, State Representative Mike Coffey, State Senator Doris Turner, LLCC Trustee Jeff Fulgenzi, Governor J.B. Pritzker, LLCC Board of Trustees Vice Chair Gordon Gates, LLCC President Dr. Charlotte Warren, LLCC Ag Student Keziah Gragg (Courtesy of LLCC on Facebook)

Governor J.B. Pritzker has been touring the state touting his proposed investments in higher education.

Pritzker has visited a number of the schools to highlight programs and services that community colleges are creating to strengthen and train the state’s workforce. On Wednesday, Pritzker made a stop at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. Pritzker said during the stop that his proposed budget would call for the largest funding increase for community colleges in over two decades: “As we have made college more affordable for students, we also need to invest in modernizing community college campuses – updating curriculum and resources, and ensuring that these amazing, local economic engines are running at their best. My budget proposal also includes $8.3 million to expand dual credit and non-credit workforce development programs, options that transform outcomes for low-income high school students and support retention and skills training for employers.”

Pritzker says he would also like to pump an additional $100 million into college MAP grants to more low-income students pursue higher education.

President of Lincoln Land Community College, Dr. Charlotte Warren, outlined on Wednesday some of what the school has done with its increased funding from the state: “The recent state funding is helping Lincoln Land provide free classes and training to increase the pipeline of healthcare, early childhood, and highway construction workers and remodel our student service areas to be more welcoming and easier for students to navigate. This summer, we are offering 3 free programs to help new students bridge into college career training including a free class of their choosing. In addition, our workforce equity initiative is expanding access to career training for many marginalized students. The program has achieved a 70% completion rate and 75% employment rate.”

Interim Associate Vice President of Academics Joel Dykstra says that the free summer programs are focused on particular groups of people looking to advance academically and in the workforce: “We are doing these programs this year as a bridge to college or back to college, depending upon who you are. They are really designed for students who are moving from high school to college or students who have been out of college for 2 semesters or more, or possibly an adult student who has never gone to college and would like to try it for the first time. It’s really open to any student to apply if they meet those criteria, and if they are a degree or certificate-seeking student. So, they have to have applied for one of our programs.”

Dykstra says they are specifically reserving spaces in the programs for minority, low-income, and first-time college students. Dykstra explains the difference between the 3-For-Free Program and Summer Boost: “The 3-For-Free allows you to take 3 free credit hours. The idea here is that you can try out a college class for free in the summer to see how it goes and see if you like it, and to kind of get you ready for taking a larger load of courses in the Fall. The Boost program is not credit-bearing courses. It’s a shorter bridge program that has sort of mini-courses. There’s no homework. There’s no tuition costs. It’s really no strings attached. The program is just your chance to come into Lincoln Land and kind of see what it’s like to be in the college atmosphere, try out a couple of classes maybe that you like with a topic that interests you. The real goal for that program is to boost student confidence so that when they arrive in the Fall and become a full-time student here, they kind of know what it’s like to be at college. Maybe they know some people that they met in the program and they feel really confident about sitting in a classroom and doing the work that’s expected of a college student.”

Dykstra says the 3-For-Free offering is available at all of the outreach centers for Lincoln Land or for an online course. The Summer Boost program is only available on the Springfield Main Campus June 12-29th.

The third program, Career Exploration, will be available June 19-July 24. The program allows adults with or without a high school diploma to learn about career field and get ready to enter a workforce training program. Participants will attend workshops on the main campus 3 days a week with guest speakers and tours of workforce training labs.

More information and registration for these programs are available at

In addition, the LLCC Board of Trustees recently voted to keep general tuition costs stable for the coming year. Standard, in-district tuition is $137 per credit hour.