"Think about a community without higher education, or the opportunities. I mean think about the draw, the non-draw to that," says Rockford Chamber of Commerce President Gary Peters.
It's hard to imagine Rockford without its namesake college. Peters says higher education institutions offer countless opportunities.
"It's very important to a community--the private school, it offers that alternative for someone who says, hey, I really want to be specialized in 'x'," says Peters.
Strong, higher education institutions are also a selling point for businesses looking to relocate.
"Education in our community is one of the top five things when businesses relocate, and it can be from number one to number five, but it's going to be in the top five. Education is very critical both for the K-12, as well as for higher education," says Peters.
Rockford mayor Larry Morrissey says as the college works through its financial troubles, it has the city's complete support.
"We have so much that we've gotten from the college and again, if we can help to see them through some of the difficult times, we want to be there to do that," says Morrissey,.
Peters say Rockford offers diversity in higher education, from Rockford College to RVC to the College of Medicine and preserving that diversity is critical to the community.
"Somehow I know this community will rally to help them. That's just Rockford sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom, so to speak, but they'll bring you out of the hole," says Peters.
New student deposits are up 100% over this time last year.
On Tuesday, April 4, Rockford College is holding an open house for prospective students. The open house will run from 7 to 9 at the Burpee Center.