Strong enrollment in higher education reported for fall semester

Almost every college across the stateline sees more students studying in hallways in raising hands in classroom this fall and leaders say this semester will be
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:18 PM CDT
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(WIFR) - Almost every college across the stateline is seeing more students in hallways and classrooms this fall, with leaders saying this semester will be a rewarding one.

“Up 15%, I think 15.6% in headcount and we’re up 9.4% in credit hours,” said Christina Kuberski, Highland Community College president.

She says she’s satisfied with fall enrollment since it’s up for the first time in a long time.

“It excites me to no end,” Kuberski, said. “On opening days, I even showed a little clip of my grandson doing a little happy dance because that’s how I feel inside.”

Kishwaukee College’s increases came in credit hours taken and total students. They recorded a 9.4% increase in credits and nearly a 9% for students.

“We help people create the life they want; we help people create a career path for the life they want in the future,” said Laurie Borowicz, Kishwaukee College president.

The atmosphere is similar in Winnebago County.

Megan Frankfother, Rockford University’s Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management said in a statement:

“The fall 2023 semester is off to a strong start at Rockford University. New undergraduate enrollment increased by 13%, and graduate enrollment increased by 26% compared to last fall. Much of this growth can be attributed to the addition of new undergraduate majors including Cybersecurity, Digital Marketing, Data Analytics, Healthcare Administration, and Supply Chain Management.

We are thrilled to see the significant increase in our graduate degree programs as well. Professionals returning to school for advanced degrees open more opportunities for themselves, and create a more robust workforce here in the Rockford Region.”

Rock Valley College’s increase was 3% but leaders will take it.

“We’re seeing more students than we have in the past couple of years,” said Heather Snider, RVC institutional effectiveness and communications vice president. “There were several years of enrollment decline and that was punctuated by COVID-19, but we’ve seen an uptick since then.”

But Northern Illinois University is looking on the bright side. While fall enrollment dropped less than 1%, more students returned.

“Especially in that first year that return for their second year, we saw a nice increase there that raised 5 percentage points,” said Sol Jensen, NIU enrollment, management, marketing and communications vice president.

He says students who come to NIU from Rockford Public Schools through the Rockford Promise are incredibly successful and excel in their classes.