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posted: 7/14/2014 5:01 AM

Enrollment increase justifies new building

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Recently the Daily Herald published a letter from a College of DuPage board member who questioned the approval of a new classroom facility on the Glen Ellyn campus. It is important that your readers have an accurate representation of the facts related to this board action, which passed 6-1.

The new classroom facility is needed to keep up with our recent enrollment growth. Over the last five years, COD has experienced a 5.7 percent increase in the number of students taking classes, at a time when enrollment for all Illinois community colleges declined by 8.6 percent.

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Last fall, we saw a 9.4 percent increase in the number of students, again contrasting with other colleges' decline of 2.2 percent.

Current registrations for this fall are outpacing last fall's numbers, underscoring the need for more classrooms. We have, for all intents and purposes, reached our limits in scheduling classes on our main campus in Glen Ellyn during our prime times in the mornings and evenings.

College of DuPage has a number of initiatives in place that should contribute to further enrollment growth. These initiatives include the addition of new degree and certificate programs, adding to the current menu of 79 degree options and 161 certificate options; expansion of our 3+1 programs (which provide a reduced-tuition baccalaureate degree on the Glen Ellyn campus); additional opportunities for high school students to earn college credit; and potentially the offering of baccalaureate programs in technical areas where universities are not currently meeting that need.

The new classroom building is not expansion for expansion's sake. It is an important investment in the economic well-being of the citizens of District 502, and is essential to help us achieve the college's vision of being the primary college district residents choose for high quality education.

Joseph Collins

Executive vice president

College of DuPage

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