Local Community Colleges A Part of Statewide Trend of Growth in Enrollment

By Benjamin Cox on November 1, 2023 at 7:26am

Enrollment at Illinois community colleges saw the second largest fall-to-fall enrollment increase in three decades.

It was the second straight year that enrollment at the state’s community colleges increased across the board, according to a report released yesterday by the Illinois Community College Board.

The three community colleges that feed into the listening area’s school all saw increases.

Lincoln Land Community College’s fall enrollment across its system was up nearly 18%, based on their 10-day enrollment figures this year. John Wood Community College saw an 8.5% increase, while Lewis & Clark Community College saw a 5.6% jump.

Dual credit enrollments are up at John Wood by 13.5% and 7.2% at Lewis & Clark. Lincoln Land’s dual credit enrollees went from 23 to 715 in the last year. Dual credit students are high school students taking college-level courses at their high school. Lincoln Land enrollment officials said in September that an additional 290 high school students take classes at LLCC locations, giving the LLCC system more than a thousand dual enrollment students.

The Fall 2022 to Fall 2023 increase at all community colleges of 5.7% is the second largest Fall-to-Fall enrollment growth in the last 30 years. Only the Fall 2008 to Fall 2009 increase of 7.4 percent during the Great Recession was higher.

Statewide enrollment data shows 36 community colleges experienced an increase in headcount enrollment from Fall 2022 to Fall 2023, while just 12 community colleges had a decrease.

You can view the full report at this link.

The Illinois FY24 budget includes a 7% increase in operating funds or $19.4 million more for community colleges than the previous year—the highest increase in two decades. It also includes a $100 million increase in the Monetary Award Program or MAP grant that when combined with the federal Pell grant, provides students with an opportunity for a free community college education.