West Central Illinois Community Colleges Don’t Stick With State Trend of Overall Enrollment Growth

By Benjamin Cox on October 29, 2022 at 10:04am

Three West Central Illinois community colleges aren’t sticking with the statewide trend in year-to-year enrollment growth. The Illinois Community College System announced Friday that statewide community college enrollment saw growth for the first time since 2009. Lincoln Land, John Wood, and Lewis & Clark all saw Fall-to-Fall dips in enrollment.

Statewide, Fall 2022 enrollments increased by headcount at 1.5% and Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) enrollment by 0.3% from the previous year, according to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) Fall 2022 Enrollment Report. According to the same report, John Wood had enrollment dip by 0.5%, a 3.7% dip was recorded at Lewis & Clark, and an 8.2% dip was recorded at Lincoln Land. Full-time enrollment numbers have also dipped at all three schools.

John Wood was the only West Central Illinois community college to see a Fall-To-Fall increase in dual credit enrollments.

West Central Illinois community colleges are keeping with the national average of declining enrollment, while Illinois as a state overall is bucking that national trend.

ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham says statewide, the Fall Enrollment report shows more students are returning to the classroom in 2022: “We are seeing students post-pandemic here really starting to come back to the community colleges, and I think it’s also really notable that this is bucking the national trends where there is decline and flat numbers in the last couple of years. Illinois is really standing this way.”

Durham says the biggest growth for community colleges has been with online programs: “I think students have gotten comfortable with it as a viable alternative particularly for working adults that have busy lives and children at home.”

The full report can be found at ICCB’s website here.