IVCC sees decreased enrollment, reaches out to community

Mitch Schafer, IV Leader Staff

IVCC has seen a 411-student drop in enrollment when compared to the Fall 2011 semester.  The dip in enrollment also comes with a loss of credit hours: IVCC has roughly fewer 4,182 credit hours this fall.
As of press time there are 3,944 students attending IVCC, each taking 9.20 credit hours on average between the main campus in Oglesby, the Ottawa Center and online classes.
IVCC officials had forecast a downward trend in enrollment this year after seeing enrollments fall last year as well.
To counteract that trend, IVCC’s marketing team traveled to different places throughout the Illinois Valley and reached out to schools and communities about enrolling at IVCC, according to Tracy Morris, associate vice president of student services. They put up posters in 240 businesses and presented themselves 18 different times at places district-wide.
Some ideas they have used were target e-mails to students who applied but had not enrolled, on-site enrollment in Princeton, Streator and Mendota; and the Strategic Enrollment Management, which looks at specific populations of students and helps them enroll, register and be successful at IVCC.
In addition, Early Entry College classes are available while students are in high school to help introduce students to IVCC.
Another outreach effort is the Financial Aid Extension Contract.  What this does is help the student pay off loans by giving them more time.  Instead of paying for classes all at once, students make a down payment, and continue to make monthly payments until their tuition is paid.  This helps the students continue their education without classes being dropped.
The drop in enrollment for fall was not only experienced at IVCC.
In fact, the Associated Press has reported that eight of the state’s 12 four-year universities saw an enrollment decrease this fall.  Administrators  at those colleges and experts said “the sluggish economy, rising tuition and dwindling financial aid all are likely to blame,” according to the Associated Press.
Drops in enrollment for the fall semester also have been reported at other Illinois community colleges as well.