Community college -- good for students, good for the community
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[October 18, 2007]
SPRINGFIELD -- Need a remedy for an ailing
state or local economy? Community college could be just what the
doctor ordered, according to a recently completed study prepared for
the Illinois Community College Board by the Northern Illinois
University Center for Governmental Studies.
The study, called "The Economic Impact of Illinois Community
Colleges," finds that more than 80 percent of Illinois employers
have hired a community college student over the last 10 years and
that nearly 30 percent of Illinois employees have completed a credit
course at a community college in that same time period.
"Our community colleges play a significant role in the health of
our state's economy and the economies of their local districts,"
said Guy Alongi, chairman of the Illinois Community College Board.
Taking courses at an Illinois community college pays off in the
students' work lives. On average, all students who complete their
Illinois community college education experience a double-digit
percentage increase in earnings over their pre-enrollment wages.
According to the study, Illinois community college graduates
employed full time averaged more than $30,000 statewide in annual
earnings after completing their programs of study.
"One of the biggest benefits for the state's economy is that
community college graduates stay within Illinois after they
graduate," noted Geoff Obrzut, ICCB president and chief executive
officer. "This helps eliminate ‘brain drain' and further boosts the
investment that Illinois and local college districts make in
Nearly two-thirds of undergraduate students enrolled in Illinois
colleges and universities are attending community colleges. A
majority of minority students pursuing postsecondary education are
also enrolled in community colleges.
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"Certainly the diversity and accessibility of our community
colleges gives Illinois an advantage throughout its population,"
The ICCB contracted the NIU Center for Governmental Studies to
conduct the research for the study.
"We are required by statute to conduct studies about the
effectiveness and vitality of Illinois community colleges. We feel
that periodic research on economic impact is one of the essential
guides we can employ in policymaking decisions," said Obrzut.
full study can be accessed at
[To download Adobe Acrobat Reader for
the PDF file, click
The Illinois Community College System is the third-largest
community college system in the nation and comprises 48 community
colleges in 39 districts, covering all of Illinois. Illinois
community colleges annually serve approximately a million students
in college transfer courses, work force development, continuing
education and adult education programs.
The Illinois Community College Board is the state coordinating
board for community colleges. It comprises a chairman and 10 other
members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the
Senate, and a nonvoting student member appointed by the ICCB Student
Illinois Community College Board
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]