Fewer Enroll in Illinois Community Colleges Than Last Year


Published on October 19 2020 10:44 am
Last Updated on October 19 2020 3:34 pm

Preliminary fall enrollment data shows fewer students are enrolling in community colleges across Illinois in the latest enrollment report compiled by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).

The 2020 Fall Enrollment Report shows total fall enrollment throughout Illinois’ Community College System is down 13.7% compared to last year, though three community colleges showed an increase in enrollment for the fall semester. Preliminary data indicates enrollment of students over age 30 decreased at twice the rate as compared to students younger than 30.

While fall enrollments have declined in recent years, a focused commitment from colleges and innovative strategies in improving student success has resulted in a 36% increase in the graduation rate for first-time, full-time students since 2009. The number of graduates in the Illinois Community College System have increased considerably since 2001. Approximately 66,000 students graduated in 2020 compared to 38,420 in 2001.

“We’ve seen small but consistent declines in enrollment over the last several years, but 2020 has presented even greater challenges, especially for struggling adults who may have digital access issues and even greater constraints on their time,” said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham.

Despite the implementation of measures at all Illinois community college campuses to ensure a safe instructional environment and substantial adjustments to instruction by moving many courses to remote or online modalities, the majority of Illinois’ Community Colleges report the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated issues, especially for a high number of at-risk students, ranging from fiscal to technological. Finalization of the student-level data in late-fall will allow ICCB to more fully analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on instructional areas, demographics, and other student characteristics.