Many Illinois Community Colleges See Enrollment Increase in Fall 2021


Springfield, Illinois- (Effingham Radio) – The overall decline of the system ranks well below the national average of 5.6%

Despite the major impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on community colleges nationwide in 2020, preliminary data shows the decline in Illinois community college enrollment is well below the national average, many of the 48 Illinois community colleges experiencing an increase in enrollment in 2021 according to the latest fall enrollment report compiled by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).

The Fall 2021 Enrollment Report shows that the total fall enrollment count across the Illinois community college system is down 1.5% overall from a overall decline of 13.7% in 2020. This 1.5% is well below the national average of 5.6% and is the smallest rate cut for the Illinois community college system as a whole since Fall 2010. Data also shows that 17 Illinois community colleges saw their enrollment increase in fall 2021, compared to just three (3) for the fall 2020 semester.

“We are encouraged by our enrollment numbers in the fall and what they represent compared to trends in recent years where the annual rate of enrollment decline has been between 3% and 4%. We believe this data indicates an increasing trend in the number of students returning to continue their education at Illinois community colleges in the coming years, ”said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham.

Data from the report suggests an increase in online access to courses as one of the potential reasons for the increase in enrollment at many community colleges compared to the pre-pandemic years.

Online students accounted for 57% of the overall student population in fall 2021 and 62% of all students in fall 2020. In contrast, before the pandemic, online enrollments represented only 24% of the population in Canada. fall 2019, 22% in fall 2018, and 21% in fall 2017.

While fall enrollments have declined in recent years, the number of graduates from the Illinois community college system has increased significantly since 2001 and 2006. The number of college diplomas and certificates awarded to college students Illinois communities in the 2021 academic year totaled 61,774 compared to 38,420 in 2001 and 49,627 in 2006.

The full report is available online at

About the Illinois Community College Board of Trustees

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) is the state’s coordinating organization for the Illinois community college system – the third largest in the country and the premier public trainer in workforce development of State. The ICCB has legal responsibility for administering state and federal grants to community college districts and adult education providers and for administering high school equivalency tests for Illinois. Illinois Community Colleges serve more than 600,000 residents annually through credit, non-credit, and continuing education courses. Illinois is home to 48 colleges in 39 community college districts that provide high-quality, accessible, and cost-effective educational opportunities statewide.


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