McHenry County College Had the Highest Rate of Growth in Student Head Count And

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Byline: Elena Ferrarin By Elena Ferrarin By Elena Ferrarin

McHenry County College had the highest rate of growth in student head count and full-time-equivalent enrollment in the last five years of all community colleges in Illinois, officials said.

The fall 2012 opening enrollment survey from the Illinois Community College Board shows that MCC is up 33.9 percent in student head count -- from 5,374 students in fall 2008 to 7,914 students now -- and up 31 percent in full-time-equivalent enrollment since 2008.

Community colleges across the state posted large increases in enrollment in 2009 after the economic downturn, but not all were able to hold onto those gains, college board spokesman Steve Morse said.

"There's a lot of variation across the state. Sometimes it might be from one district to the next. This has to do with the demographics within the community, and a lot of times with the economic situations in those districts," he said. "Some of the enrollments are still pretty high, others are declining."

Altogether, community colleges averaged a 7.5 percent increase in head count enrollment in 2009, but had declines of 1.1 percent in 2010, 1.9 percent in 2011 and 3.8 percent in 2012.

MCC leads the pack of community colleges that posted five-year gains. In the Chicago suburbs, Waubonsee Community College had a 25.5 percent increase in head count enrollment since 2008, Elgin Community College had a 17.6 percent increase, College of Lake County had a 7.4 percent increase, Oakton Community College had a 6.1 percent increase and College of DuPage had a 1. …