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2022 - Double-digit increase in ECC’s fall enrollment shows positive post-pandemic trends

Tags: Accomplishment | Announcement
Published 09/23/2022
ECC student

ECC student

Elgin Community College’s reported fall enrollment, tabulated on the 10th day of the fall semester, reflects an 11% increase over the previous fall. More than 8,900 students are enrolled for the fall semester, with numbers continuing to increase to more than 9,000 students beyond the 10th day due to later fall start date registrations for 12- and 8-week courses.

“I am highly encouraged by the strength of our fall numbers,” said ECC President David Sam, PhD, JD, LLM. “We knew that regaining some of the losses experienced over the past two years would take a concerted effort from every area of the college, and that’s exactly what we did.” Sam also credits the college’s flexibility and affordability as key factors in this year’s growth. “We have held tuition flat for the past five years at $132 per credit hour for district residents, enforcing our commitment to keeping access to higher education affordable. Additionally, we continue to prioritize taking time to understand where every individual is in their unique educational journey so we can meet them at that same place and guide them forward with the resources and supports they need to be successful,” he said. “I believe we are seeing the results of this deliberate and targeted outreach in the positive enrollment trends across all programs and student demographics.”

The number of in-person class options for students soared from 15% (fall 2021) to 60% (fall 2022), primarily due to lifting social distancing requirements related to COVID-19. While the number of in-person class options offered also significantly increased, the shift to maintaining online and hybrid course modalities remains essential in ensuring more access and flexibility in course options.

“Community colleges had to make monumental shifts in providing online courses as a result of the pandemic – something that was not the norm leading up to the spring of 2020,” said Peggy Heinrich, EdD, ECC vice president for teaching, learning, and student development. “Many of our students and courses are still best taught in person. However, we know that continuing to offer classes that can be taken online synchronously, asynchronously, or in a hybrid format is here to stay and ensures we are meeting the diverse learning needs of our students,” added Heinrich. In the fall of 2019, only 10% of classes were offered online versus the 40% available for fall 2022.

The largest gain in enrollment status categories is transfer students at 42%, including those who had been enrolled at another institution before coming to ECC. The next largest increase is reverse students at 40%, consisting of those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. Students currently in high school saw a 36% increase year over year, with 1,088 students taking part in dual-credit programs that allow them to earn college credit while still attending high school either in their home school or on ECC’s campus.

Additional Enrollment highlights:

  • Adult basic education programs increased by 84%
  • +15% growth in male students
  • +7% and +2% increase in Asian and Black students, respectively. +22% increase in Hispanic or Latino population
  • Students 55 years and older increased by 85%
  • 17-20 years old increased by 7%

Twelve-week fall courses begin on September 26, and the eight-week sessions start on October 17. The spring semester begins on January 17, 2023. For information about course offerings, enrollment, and financial aid options, visit