Waubonsee Community College is bucking the trend in enrollment, reporting an increase in students in three recent periods.
The annual enrollment report was presented to the college's trustees last week. Summer 2012 enrollment was 7,801, up 7.3 percent over summer 2011; fall 2012 was 12,380, up 2.6 percent; and spring 2013 was 12,266, up 3.7 percent.
The report says the greatest growth happened in the college's transfer/baccalaureate, occupational, developmental, adult education and dual-credit programs.
"We're in a very healthy (economic) region," said Faith LaSure, the college's dean of enrollment management, explaining the increases. New offerings such as dual-credit, where high school students can earn credit for both college and high school in one course, helped too, she said.
Locations with the most growth were the Aurora campus and the online program.
Statewide, community college enrollment reached an all-time high in the fall of 2009, according to the Illinois Community College Board. The board attributed that three-year run-up to the effects of the economic recession.
From fall 2011 to fall 2012, enrollment in for-credit coursework declined 3.4 percent in Illinois, according to the ICCB's fall 2012 enrollment report. They were also below the five-year average.
The state board believes that reflects improvement in the economy.
Thirty-three of the state's 48 community colleges saw enrollment decreases of 1 percent or more in fall 2012, including Elgin Community College, Harper College and Kishwaukee Community College.
And 10 saw increases of 1 percent or more. Waubonsee, Joliet Junior College, College of Lake County, McHenry County College and Oakton Community College were among them.
The state's numbers for Waubonsee differ from the college's count. The state board's report does not include students who withdraw in midterm, because funding is apportioned based on students who complete a term, LaSure said.