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Community college enrollment sees largest rise in 15 years

By Bradley Zimmerman,


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois community college enrollment saw its largest year-over-year growth in 15 years, new data shows.

The Illinois Community College Board released its annual Spring Enrollment Report on Tuesday. The data shows that between the spring of 2022 and the spring of 2023, community college enrollment grew by almost 17,000 students, or 7.2%.

It’s the first time in five years that enrollment grew between spring semesters. The 7.2% increase is also the largest in terms of percentage change since 2009-2010, when enrollment grew by 7.8%.

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“This upward enrollment trend is encouraging and continues to signal a shift towards pre-pandemic levels,” said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham. “This data furthers our confidence that efforts to expand learning opportunities and increase access to a community college education are working.”

The Spring 2023 Enrollment Report also found that, among other things:

  • 39 community colleges experienced an enrollment increase between the spring of 2022 and the spring of 2023
  • Instructional areas primarily dependent on in-person instruction had two of the largest enrollment increases: Career and Technical Education (9.6%) and Vocational Skill Training (10.1%).
  • Enrollment for transfer programs, the largest instructional area in the Illinois Community College System, increased 6.4% while General Studies Certificate programs increased by 9.1%.
  • Adult Education, which encompasses a substantial at-risk population, increased enrollment by 29%.
  • Enrollment for dual credit courses, which allow high school students to simultaneously earn high school and college credits, increased 10.4% from 2022 and increased 24% from 2021

The Illinois Community College System is the third largest community college system in the nation.

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