Enrollment data which shows a five-year 19.5 per cent increase in full-time equivalency and a one-year 43.7 per cent surge in student headcount for Rend Lake College has not gone unnoticed statewide, according to information released by the governing Illinois Community College Board.
• Only one single-campus institution in Illinois experienced a greater increase than Rend Lake College in full-time equivalency enrollment from last year at this time to Fall 2005.
Two years removed from its previous all-time high, Rend Lake College had an opening FTE enrollment of record proportions at 2,265, a 5.9 per cent increase over Fall 2004 and the equivalent of 107 more full-time students than the standard established in 2003.
State funding is based on the number of credit hours generated rather than actual headcount. Full-time equivalency is determined by dividing total credit hours in any semester by 15 hours, which represents an average number taken by a full-time student.
• Rend Lake College ranks eighth in the state in terms of percentage growth over a five-year period, from 2001-2005, the ICCB survey indicates. The comprehensive community college based in Ina has seen its FTE grow from 1,895 in 2001 to 2,265 for a 19.5 per cent increase.
• Recent headcount totals for Rend Lake College are nearly off the chart, for some obvious reasons.
The ICCB comparison elevates RLC to No. 1 for percentage change in the past 12 months (43.7%) as well as for the last five reporting years (66.9%). Rend Lake College had an opening headcount of 2,944 for Fall 2001; that figure was up to 3,446 by Fall 2003, then 3,420 the following year and 4,913 currently.
For one, 336 Mt. Vernon Township High School students taking dual-credit physical fitness classes at the present time had no one to compare to at the same time a year ago. Similar classes did not start until mid-semester in Fall 2004.
Other Physical Education classes district-wide have experienced considerable growth as well, for a total increase of 710 hours. Programs contributing to the growth also include Health Occupations, up over 500 hours; Therapeutic Massage, up 327 hours, and Culinary Arts, up 266.5 hours. Baccalaureate (transfer) credit hours are up 1,364 hours.
Overall, for the first time in many years, the Illinois Community College system preliminary report for Fall 2005 (Fiscal Year 2006) shows a drop in FTE enrollment from one year to the next. The state average for 39 districts encompassing 48 community colleges is a decrease of 2.9 per cent.
Morton College and its robust 11.9 per cent increase kept Rend Lake College’s 5.9 per cent figure from ranking first statewide. The latest one-year FTE comparison indicates 14 colleges reporting increases of 1.0 per cent or more, 25 reporting decreases of 1.0 per cent or more and nine showing little or no change.
Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, one of four separate campuses comprising the Illinois Eastern District, boasted a positive 13.1 per cent change, but is part of a multiple-campus system that experienced a .4 per cent decline as a whole. Lincoln Trail is the second-smallest two-year public college in the system, behind only sister Illinois Eastern institution Frontier College in Fairfield.
Data from surrounding Southern Illinois community colleges places the average change from 2004-2005 closer to the slightly declining state average. Shawnee Community College (Ullin) remained at the same enrollment level, compared to dips of 1.2 per cent for Kaskaskia College (Centralia), 1.3 per cent for John A. Logan College (Carterville), 1.9 per cent for both Southeastern Illinois College (Harrisburg) and Southwestern Illinois College (Belleville).
Border two-year colleges reveal Lewis and Clark Community College (Godfrey) at a .7 per cent increase in preliminary opening FTE enrollment, Lake Land College (Mattoon) with a 2.2 per cent drop and the two other Illinois Eastern colleges, Olney Central and Wabash Valley (Mt. Carmel) with 4.3 and 4.9 per cent declines, respectively.
Kaskaskia College, thanks in large part to new construction growth in the western part of its district and an impressive two-year jump in FTE of 875, is No. 1 from 2001-2005 with a 33.6 per cent increase, although its FTE has lost ground each of the last two falls to the record 2,907 set in 2003.
College of Lake County, located in the Chicago suburb of Grayslake, is a close second during the same five-year span with its 32.6 per cent increase in FTE, followed by Morton at 23.9 per cent, Moraine Valley Community College (Palos Hills) at 21.8 per cent, John Wood Community College (Quincy) at 21.1 per cent, Lewis and Clark at 20.1 per cent and Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove) at 20.4 per cent.
Five-year changes locally show the four Illinois Eastern colleges up 10.5 per cent, Southwestern Illinois at 8.5 and John A. Logan at 7.8 on the positive side, while Southeastern Illinois is down 3.7 and Shawnee is down 1.8.
Only Danville Area at 12.7 per cent and Frontier at 10.4 per cent are remotely close to No. 1 RLC in terms of headcount change from 2004-2005. From 2001-2005, Kaskaskia challenged RLC’s lead with 53.8 per cent headcount growth (3,097 to 4,764); John A. Logan increased 13.5 per cent, Southeastern Illinois increased 9.1 per cent, and Shawnee increased 4.7.
The ICCB Fall Enrollment survey report for credit-generating students includes data “recorded by the colleges at the end of the regular fall registration period, which is usually the 10th day of class. Historically, the census data have provided a ‘snapshot’ of fall term enrollment data in postsecondary institutions nationwide.
“However, the diversity of the community college system and its students is not fully captured in these opening enrollment data. The expansion of module and late-starting classes and colleges’ efforts to provide flexibility in scheduling from year to year increase the difficulty of reporting and comparing fall enrollment data. Enrollment trend data are best captured through the use of annual enrollment data.”
Statistics reported for the entire state reveal fall enrollment decreases in both headcount and FTE for the first time during the five-year span covered.
ONE-YEAR FALL FULL-TIME EQUIVALENCY (FTE) ENROLLMENT
Two-Year Institution Fall 2004 Fall 2005 % Change
1. Lincoln Trail College (Robinson) 749 847 13.1%
2. Morton College (Cicero) 2,138 2,393 11.9%
3. REND LAKE COLLEGE 2,139 2,265 5.9%
4. Joliet Junior College 7,221 7,503 3.9%
5. Sauk Valley Community College (Dixon) 1,577 1,637 3.8%
6. Kishwaukee College (Malta) 2,569 2,657 3.4%
7. College of Lake County (Grayslake) 7,984 8,184 2.5%
8. Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove) 4,235 4,334 2.3%
9. William Rainey Harper College (Palatine) 8,582 8,727 1.7%
10. Triton College (River Grove) 8,055 8,180 1.6%
Illinois Central College (East Peoria) 7,042 7,152 1.6%
McHenry County College (Crystal Lake) 3,075 3,123 1.6%
FIVE-YEAR FALL F.T.E. ENROLLMENT Fall 2001 Fall 2005 % Change
1. Kaskaskia College (Centralia) 2,032 2,715 33.6%
2. College of Lake County (Grayslake) 6,171 8,184 32.6%
3. Morton College (Cicero) 1,931 2,393 23.9%
4. Moraine Valley Community College (Palos Hills) 7,827 9,532 21.8%
5. John Wood Community College (Quincy) 1,319 1,597 21.1%
6. Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove) 3,601 4,334 20.4%
7. Lewis and Clark Community College (Godfrey) 3,006 3,611 20.1%
8. REND LAKE COLLEGE 1,895 2,265 19.5%
9. Elgin Community College 4,578 5,451 19.1%
10. Wabash Valley College (Mt. Carmel) 1,020 1,208 18.4%
Prairie State College (Chicago Heights) 2,373 2,809 18.4%
ONE-YEAR FALL HEADCOUNT Fall 2004 Fall 2005 % Change
1. REND LAKE COLLEGE 3,420 4,913 43.7%
2. Danville Area Community College 2,638 2,974 12.7%
3. Frontier Community College (Fairfield) 1,960 2,164 10.4%
4. Morton College (Cicero) 4,436 4,744 6.9%
5. Parkland College (Champaign) 9,536 10,100 5.9%
6. John Wood Community College (Quincy) 2,411 2,530 4.9%
7. Sauk Valley Community College (Dixon) 2,623 2,745 4.7%
8. Kishwaukee College (Malta) 4,192 4,348 3.7%
9. Kaskaskia College (Centralia) 4,601 4,764 3.5%
10. Illinois Central College (East Peoria) 12,046 12,402 3.0%
FIVE-YEAR FALL HEADCOUNT Fall 2001 Fall 2005 % Change
1. REND LAKE COLLEGE 2,944 4,913 66.9%
2. Kaskaskia College (Centralia) 3,097 4,764 53.8%
3. Lincoln Trail Community College (Robinson) 1,100 1,532 39.3%
4. Spoon River College (Canton) 1,909 2,333 22.2%
5. College of Lake County (Grayslake) 12,917 15,7745 21.9%
6. John Wood Community College (Quincy) 2,111 2,530 19.8%
7. Wabash Valley College (Mt. Carmel) 2,643 3,155 19.4%
8. Parkland College (Champaign) 8,482 10,100 19.1%
9. Lake Land College (Mattoon) 6,102 7,038 15.3%
10. Danville Area Community College 2,585 2,974 15.0%