MATTOON -- Lake Land College's total headcount enrollment dropped by 7.7 percent and its total full-time equivalency credit hour enrollment dropped by 4.9 percent this semester in comparison to fall 2017.
However, the percentage of recent high school graduates in the community college district that enrolled at Lake Land increased to 34 percent this fall. In addition, enrollment in the college's Workforce Ready programs increased for the second year in a row.
The Lake Land College Board of Trustees heard these fall 2018 10th-day enrollment report figures Monday evening during its first meeting in the new Board and Administration Center, which is the renovated and expanded former childcare lab building.
Figures from the report showed that total headcount enrollment decreased by 7.7 percent, or 384 students, from 4,966 in fall 2017 to 4,582 this semester. The report also showed that total full-time equivalency credit hour enrollment decreased by 4.9 percent from 3,153.3 in fall 2017 to 2,998.6 this semester.
Vice President for Student Services Tina Stovall said one main factor influencing enrollment is the size of the high school graduating class in the Lake Land community college district. She reported that this year's high school graduating class of 1,826 students was the second smallest in the college's history.
Stovall said the other main factor is increased opportunities for employment in the area. She reported that with the current unemployment rates less than 4 percent, the adult student enrollment at the start of the fall semester has dropped by nearly 40 percent over the past five years.
"As more employment opportunities are available, fewer adults are looking to return to college," Stovall said.
Regarding in-district high schools, Stovall reported that Lake Land enrollment of the total number of recent graduates each year has topped more than 30 percent for 17 years now. Stovall reported that, in total, 625 in-district graduates are enrolled this fall at Lake Land.
Stovall reported that the National Student Clearinghouse's figures indicate in-district graduates have chosen Lake Land over any other area college by a 10 to 1 ratio in each of the past three years.
"I think with that kind of data, we can say Lake Land is the No. 1 choice," Stovall said.
Board Chairman Dave Storm said Lake Land each year is also enrolling approximately 60 percent of the in-district recent high school graduates who choose to attend a college the following fall. Storm encouraged Stovall to include this figure in student recruitment efforts.
Regarding Workforce Ready programs, total headcount enrollment increased by 1.0 percent from 1,826 students in 2017 to 1,845 this semester. Full-time equivalency credit hour enrollment increased by 0.8 percent from 1,470.4 to 1,482.4 during this time frame.
Stovall said Lake Lake has increased Workforce Ready enrollment with new programs such as medical assistant education, IT-LaunchCode computer coding, and LSC Communications Fast Track training. She said all of these programs were developed in response to a need identified in the local business community.
Trustee Mike Sullivan said Lake Land should be mindful that the creation of new programs to meet the needs of students and industry has been key to nearby Eastern Illinois University's recent enrollment increase.
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