WCC sees second year of big increases in enrollment

By on September 5, 2009

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Enrollment at Waubonsee Community College continues to rise, with this year showing a double-digit increase over last year.

According to Waubonsee Community College spokesperson Jeff Noblitt, there are nearly 15 percent more students at the Sugar Grove, Aurora and Rush-Copley campuses taking classes this fall compared to 2008, when enrollment showed a 9.5 percent spike over the previous year.

This year, the total number of hours taken is more than 16 percent over fall 2008, on top of a 9.9 percent increase in hours over the year before, a trend that began six years ago.

More are becoming full-time students, Noblitt said.

“It’s partially driven by the economy,” he said. “The economic downturn has resulted in lost jobs and the need to go back to school to retrain for better jobs.”

“People have either lost their jobs, had their hours cut or are fearful of losing their jobs,” he said. “They see education as the way to boost their career.”

Noblitt said the college has also seen an increase in the number of traditional college-age students, as more begin their college career sat a two-year school before, transferring to a four-year college at the end of the second year.

“This way they can stay on track with their college education, and it saves a lot of money,” Noblitt said.

Noblitt said President Barack Obama made community colleges an important factor in what he feels will pull the economy forward. In addition, Vice-President Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor, has been a visible advocate of a community college education since the president took office.

People are also becoming more knowledgeable about what a junior college can offer, Noblitt added. With smaller class sizes and a more nurturing environment, the beginning student is more likely to succeed.

Increase in numbers of students enrolled at Waubonsee
2004-2005 2.4 percent
2005-2006 0
2006-2007 0
2007-2008 9.5 percent
2008-2009 14+ percent