INA – Rend Lake College ranks No. 1 among the nation’s fastest growing community colleges of comparable size, according to the most recent issue of Community College Week – a journal targeted at community, technical and junior colleges across the nation.
Enrollment at RLC rose 43.7 percent from fall 2004 to fall 2005. The increase is 15.6 percent more than at the second fastest growing community college in the nation with 2,500 to 4,999 students, Western Wyoming Community College, which reported a 28.1 percent increase in enrollment during the same period.
With fall 2004 enrollment of 3,420 students surging to 4,913 in fall 2005, RLC posted a record year in enrollment with an increase of 1,493 students.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment because we did it in an area that is not experiencing large population growth, “ said RLC President Mark Kern. “It is a credit to everyone who supports the college – our Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and the community. Rend Lake College has become, not just a place to go to school, but the place to go.”
“Interpreting the Numbers” is the report that appears in the Dec. 4 edition of Community College Week. The author, Dr. Victor M. H. Borden, examined and compared the growth among institutions that vary in size from a few dozen students to tens of thousands. His findings are grouped into two-year institutions with less than 2,500; those with 2,500 and 4,999; between 5,000 and 9,999; and 10,000 or more. Borden is Associate Vice President at Indiana University and Associate Professor of Psychology at IUPUI.
According to Community College Week; the 1,138 public, two-year institutions included in the analysis represent 18 percent of all postsecondary institutions, but enroll 35 percent of all students – second only to the public, four-year sector.
RLC is way above par for the two-year, public sector as a whole, which experienced a slight decline in enrollment for 2004-2005, according to the report. And the college is on track for another record year regarding credit hours and head count.
Many students who take non-credit courses through the Continuing Education and Adult Literacy programs at RLC were not included in the report because non-credit students are not counted in enrollment analysis by the National Center for Education Statistics’, or NCES’, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Set (IPEDS), which was a source for Community College Week’s report.
RLC enrollment growth from 2004 to 2005 was the second highest among all public, two-year colleges in CC Week’s report. The highest was L.E. Fletcher Technical Community College in Louisiana with a 100.5 percent growth in its less-than 2,500-person student body. According to the article, LEFTCC’s growth of 809 students between fall 2004 and fall 2005 was partly due to displaced students who were forced to relocate to another college after Hurricane Katrina hit.
“The level of growth that Rend Lake College experienced in its record-setting year is a wonderful achievement on its own,” said Mary Bornheimer, Interim Dean of Student Services. “However, to be nationally recognized for that achievement is a thrilling testament to what we have known all along. Rend Lake College is a great place to go for an education and proves to be a vital stepping stone toward continuing that education.”
Since 1988, Community College Week has been the independent source of in-depth information for and about two-year college faculty, administrators and trustees, according to the publication’s Web site.
Published biweekly, Community College Week’s readers include college presidents, chief academic officers, faculty, student-service professionals, librarians and other educators, the Web site states. CC Week’s partners include The Community College Foundation, The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and The American Council on Education, among others.
“In each edition, our readers find news and features not provided by other news sources, including analyses of critical academic trends and issues, vital statistics, technology updates and employment opportunities,” CC Week’s Web site states.