Thursday, October 18, 2007
sponsored by Illini Bank

Community college -- good for students, good for the community          Send a link to a friend

[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 community colleges."

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.

[to top of second column]

"Certainly the diversity and accessibility of our community colleges gives Illinois an advantage throughout its population," said Alongi.

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.

The full study can be accessed at [To download Adobe Acrobat Reader for the PDF file, click here.]

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 Advisory Committee.

[Text from Illinois Community College Board file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor