Illinois Central College exploring ways to increase enrollment

http://ift.tt/2k801AjPam Adams Journal Star education reporter @padamspam

EAST PEORIA — Solutions to stem Illinois Central College’s enrollment decline could include more night programs for adults and more occupational programs to attract young high school graduates. ICC could also use cellphone technology to remind applicants to enroll.

The suggestions, presented to board members Thursday, come out of an enrollment analyses conducted by a Nebraska-based company that specializes in marketing and managing enrollment for community colleges.

Community colleges nationwide are experiencing enrollment declines, Kathi Swanson, president of Clarus Corp., told board members as she dissected trends and age demographics specific to ICC’s slide. But her research also found “areas of opportunity” to increase enrollment, particularly by targeting young adults and students who graduated from low-achieving high schools within ICC’s 10-county boundaries.

Based on credit hours, total enrollment declined 14.5 percent from 2012 to 2015, the period Swanson examined. But high school graduates 21 and younger declined 9 percent, while students in both the 22-to-34- and 35-to-49-age ranges declined about 25 percent each.

Targeting all three age groups by offering programs designed to meet their needs could lead to increased enrollment, Swanson said.

Increases in dual-enrollment among high school students, which increased about 5 percent over the same time period, are expected to continue. About one-third of the Tri-County Area’s high school graduates attend ICC. “That’s already a strong share of the market,” Swanson said.

Swanson also presented an overview to focus groups at the college. The enrollment management project is part of broader strategic-planning process. Final recommendations will be presented to the board later in the year.

Also, trustees appointed Doug Stewart to fill the vacant seat created when longtime board member James Polk died Nov. 8. Stewart, a banker who currently serves on Bradley University’s board of trustees, had previously sat on ICC’s board for 10 years. He will fill out Polk’s term, serving until the April 4 election.

Trustees also voted unanimously to hire the law firm of Miller, Hall and Triggs as legal counsel.

Pam Adams is the Journal Star education reporter. She can be reached at 686-3245 and padams@pjstar.com. Follow her at http://twitter.com/padamspam.

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Illinois Central College exploring ways to increase enrollment

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