Enrollment for 2016-17 has increased by 15 percent and the
College’s Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE) program also saw a
strong resurgence in students enrolling in the accelerated programs
in Normal, Peoria, and Oglesby.
“Students and their families are discovering what we already knew –
Lincoln College offers one of the best values, for those who are
cost conscious, in education today,” Gerlach said. “Not only are new
students choosing Lincoln College, but we are seeing major increases
in the number of students returning, including students who have
completed their associate degree program and are staying at Lincoln
College to earn their bachelor’s degrees.”
In 2015, the Lincoln College Board of Trustees authorized Gerlach to
develop a full range of bachelor’s degree programs to transition the
college to a full four-year degree granting institution, while
continuing to offer two-year associate degree programs at the
“Institutions that offer both two-year and four –year degree options
on the same campus, have a proven record of success in keeping
students in school – one of the biggest challenges facing higher
education today,” Gerlach said. “In looking at the future of the
college and its place in the community, it became clear that greatly
expanding our bachelor’s degree programs was necessary for the
growth and future of Lincoln College.”
The increase in returning students, Gerlach said, is evidence the
decision was the right one. In fact, one-third of the student body
has already enrolled or declared an intent to enroll in a bachelor’s
degree program. This fall the college added a degree in Radio,
Television and New Media, which has already drawn 14 students to the
four-year program. In addition, the college offers degrees in
Business Management, Criminal Justice Studies, Jazz Studies, Sport
Management, and Theatre.
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Gerlach added, the hybrid strategy of
offering both two-year and four-year degrees has been especially
important for attracting area students, who are showing a renewed
interest in pursuing their education at a nearby institution that
offers a quality education at an affordable price.
While growth will present new challenges, Gerlach emphasized they are “good
challenges,” such as needing to find additional housing options to accommodate
the nearly 600 students that are living on campus. With the second-highest
residential population in the college’s history, Gerlach said Lincoln College
will need to begin looking for available housing in the community to rent.
Another opportunity that the new format offers will be in further strengthening
Lincoln College’s longstanding reputation as a top sports competitor. It was
announced these freshmen students would be able to stay and compete in four-year
athletics as the college expands into four-year sports programs.
“As Lincoln College grows, it will benefit the entire Lincoln area with new
options for area students, new opportunities for local businesses and new
investment in the community,” Gerlach said.
Public Relations & Media Manager