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Lake Land enrollment steady, beats national average

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MATTOON — Lake Land College officials are pointing to the lingering affects of COVID-19 for a slight enrollment decline to start the new academic year.

The 10-day enrollment numbers show the college with 3,644 students, a 5.6 percent dip from last year. The national average is 12 percent.

While there is no firm data, Vice President for Student Services Valerie Lynch said the college expects the pandemic negatively impacted enrollment.

 “We have persevered and are proud to be offering quality education to our students while at the same time taking all appropriate measures to keep the campus community safe,” Lynch said.

The numbers were shared with members of the board of trustees at its meeting this week. 

According to the report, 427 students had to withdraw from courses last academic year due to the pandemic. The college was later able to provide these students COVID Recovery Waivers which allowed each student to receive up to five credit hours.

Higher Education Emergency Relief funding, or HEERF, funded this initiative, with a total outlay of $190,970.

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According to the 10-day enrollment report, the areas that saw growth were the dual credit/dual enrolled and transfer student populations.

Dual credit/dual enrolled students increased by 27 for a total of 1,042, said the report, and transfer students increased by 13 for a total of 139.

The dual credit/dual-enrolled programs exist to benefit high school students who take these courses to earn high school and college credit simultaneously.

The college reported that the five high schools in the area enrolled nearly half of their graduating class. Teutopolis, Dieterich, Shelbyville, Neoga and Stewardson-Strasburg high schools had between 44-49 percent of their graduating classes enroll at Lake Land this fall, said the report.

Mattoon High School led the way with 64 of its graduates enrolling at Lake Land, followed by Effingham High School with 56 and Charleston High School with 43.

Lynch said the college is in the process of creating a strategic enrollment management plan that will address the enrollment trends the college is experiencing.

“As we strategize for the future, we are also celebrating this fall’s in-person learning and engagement,” said Lynch. “It is very exciting to walk around campus and see students in classrooms, meeting with staff and enjoying the activities and opportunities available to them.”

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