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Heart of Illinois community colleges take pandemic-related enrollment hit


(HOI) - The pandemic is taking a toll on community colleges in the Heart of Illinois.

Heartland Community College, based in Normal, is reporting a 19.1% enrollment decline from the spring of this year to the spring of 2020, while enrollment at Illinois Central College is down 13.5% during the same time frame. ICC has campuses in East Peoria and Peoria.

Administrators cited the COVID-19 pandemic for the decline and believe that trend is also prevalent for community colleges and universities nationwide.

"Am I confident things will turn around? Absolutely, because I believe in the higher education system, and I believe we are going to make a difference in what's going to turn the economy around for a lot of areas within our state," said Kim Armstrong, vice president in charge of marketing at ICC.

Armstrong said a quarter of spring classes at ICC have some form of in-person learning this semester, and that's expected to double to 50 percent in the fall.

She expects ICC will see see an enrollment rebound between 2023 and 2025 when more people reach college age.

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Heart of Illinois ABC

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