Enrollment declined at Illinois community colleges again this fall, driven in part by a strong economy and low unemployment.
In all, 271,426 students were enrolled at Illinois’ 48 community colleges this fall. That’s down 4.2% from fall 2018, and it’s down 14.1% from this time five years ago, the Illinois Community College Board reported this week.
It’s concerning, said Illinois Community College Board Executive Director Brian Durham—but not necessarily surprising. Illinois’ jobless rate fell to a record low 3.9% in September. That labor market and the economy overall have an inverse relationship with community college enrollment, especially among adult students and those in career-technical education programs, Durham said.