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Heartland Seeks To Boost Enrollment To Offset Deficit

Heartland Community College campus
Heartland Community College is trying to bolster its recruiting efforts to help offset budget deficits.

Heartland Community College is making students pay more next year, but it's also trying to find more students to help the school get out of the red.
The school’s board of trustees has approved a $5 per credit hour increase in tuition and fees to take effect next fall. It has also created a new position that will specifically work on growing the student population.

Sarah Diel-Hunt
Credit Heartland Community College
Sarah Diel-Hunt has been named Heartland Community College's vice president of enrollment and student services.

Sarah Diel-Hunt moves from her current position of associate vice president for academic affairs into the new vice president of enrollment and student services post.

Vice president of business services Doug Minter said the district's enrollment of just under 5,000 students will need to grow in the coming years.

“What segments of the population are we not successfully reaching and meeting their needs,” Minter said. “That’s an initiative of very high priority now.”

Minter said Diel-Hunt is working on a new strategic enrollment management initiative to help determine how the school could better market itself or better target certain programs.

Doug Minter
Credit Heartland Community College
Heartland Community College's vice president of business services Doug Minter says the school faces a $400,000 shortfall this year.

“For example, in an over age 25 segment, those individuals are not likely to be interested in pursuing two-year degree programs because if they are working, they might have to pursue it part-time which could take them three to four years,” Minter said.

Minter said Heartland faces a near $400,000 deficit this year and is projecting a deficit of at least $600,000 in the 2019-20 academic year.

He said the school anticipated the deficit this year when it laid its five–year budget plan in 2016 based on a tax equalization that causes schools in wealthier school districts to pay more.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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