Flexibility Has Seats Full at Community Colleges

Article excerpt

Byline: Binder & Waller

Parents see it as a less expensive way to get Junior started in college.

Employees see it as a place to learn new skills at night or on weekends to prepare for a new career.

That's why community colleges, such as the College of Lake County in Grayslake, are growing. By the way, April is Community College Month.

Community college enrollment in Illinois has surpassed that of public universities since the early 1970s.

Of the 730,527 students enrolled in higher education in Illinois, 47.5 percent of them are in community colleges, according to the Illinois Department of Higher Education.

Spring enrollment at CLC is 14,132.

Studies show students who start out at community colleges after high school and transfer to a four-year college do as well in classes as those who start there as freshmen, said Terry Spets, director of student recruitment at CLC.

But the more experienced student outnumbers the high school graduates at CLC.

The average student is a woman with a bachelor's degree, attends part time and is 30 years old.

An upward curve in enrollment for eight or nine years leveled off in the last couple of years, Spets said.

The leveling off could be, in part, due to limited classroom space, he said.

Two additions - a multipurpose classroom building and a performing arts building - are under way. The college expects the classroom building to be done this fall and the other building should be done in a year.

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