Heartland Community College is looking to double the number of athletic programs it offers in hopes of attracting more students.
The school’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on Tuesday night on a proposal to add women's volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country and men's golf starting in fall 2020.
In 2006, Heartland created a sports department by sponsoring baseball, softball and men’s and women’s soccer.
“We have graduating high school student athletes in our district who now will have the opportunity to continue with their sport at Heartland,” said Athletics Director Ryan Knox. “Adding these sports will increase the visibility of Heartland athletics and help us attract even more highly motivated and high-achieving students.”
Heartland President Keith Cornille noted Heartland's student athletes transfer to four-year colleges at a higher rate than the general student population. The transfer rate for student athletes is at 90 percent, while rates for the rest of the general population was slightly higher than 25 percent, according to the most recent data available.
According to information presented to the trustees, Heartland’s student athletes had a 98 percent fall-to-spring retention rate in 2016-17, compared to 73 percent of the general student population, while student athletes fall-to-fall retention rate of 80 percent outpaced the general population.
“The college itself is predicated on trying to provide a comprehensive student experience for students who are coming here, and I think the athletic programs are a part of that,” Cornille said.
Cornille said the school expects a slight bump in enrollment, about 1.5 percent more credit hours. He said that would more than offset the projected $98,000 annual costs of travel, uniforms and other equipment. Heartland covers the cost of its athletic programs through student activity fees, not tuition. Starting in the fall of 2020, athletes will no longer receive the fee waivers to generate the additional revenue.
The school estimates drawing an additional $118,000 in annual tuition and fees and an extra $37,800 in state credit hour reimbursement.
Heartland trustees on Tuesday are expected to formally adopt tax abatements for Brandt Industries based on data which shows the Canadian agriculture equipment company has exceeded initial performance benchmarks.
The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council provided Heartland with written confirmation that Brandt had hired 77 full-time employees through 2018, exceeding the minimum of 50 full-time workers to receive more than $600,000 in property tax abatements from multiple taxing bodies over the next decade.
Cornille added Heartland continues discussions with Brandt to establish a job training program at the school.
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