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Heartland Community College enrollment is stable

Heartland Community College
Heartland Community College in Normal.

Heartland Community College enrollment grew incrementally to start the new fall term.

Enrollment vice president Sarah Diel-Hunt said student headcount at Heartland is up 1.3%, to 4,589 students, while credit hours taken dropped by 0.9%.

Hunt said Heartland had more growth in the kinds of students targeted in the campus strategic plan.

"In those areas we're seeing some pretty good traction. Those would include growth in the post-traditional age student 25 and older, 6% there. And then growth in applied work-ready programs," said Diel-Hunt.

The number of high school students enrolled in dual credit classes also rose by 2.9%.

“Our high schools have embraced the dual credit model, have looked for ways to be able to offer more dual credit that are taught in the high schools by qualified high school instructors," she said. "So, part of that is in their hiring practices when they're hiring new teachers looking for teachers who maybe hold those credentials to be able to teach dual credit, but also in working with their incumbent teacher workforce to see what they might be able to do, to be able to get them the credentials.”

HCC also seeing a bump in high school students who are trying to select classes that will let them graduate from high school and Heartland at the same time, she said.

The college continued to add diversity with the largest growth in the number of Hispanic and international students.

"We are thrilled that we can again report that this year, like last year, is the most diverse class in Heartland history with minority enrollment now accounting for 33% of college enrollment. It has been a goal of ours to serve traditionally underserved populations," said Diel-Hunt.

Growth in the number of part-time students who work continued, too.

“And the number of hours that they work is growing. They're trying to manage two very large chunks of time, competing priorities,” said Diel Hunt. “Many of them are working full time and going to school.”

The largest drop was in students who took one semester of classes and then stopped.

“We do see students who may come for a semester, stop out, find that maybe they've bitten off more than they can chew with work and school, but then we get them back within three (semesters),” said Diel-Hunt.

Despite that, she said graduation rates look very good.

"Persistence and completion numbers have been inching up for us, which I think is somewhat surprising given that we have more students part time," said Diel-Hunt.

Fall enrollment of students aged 25 and older rose sharply by 6%.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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