A preliminary report on college enrollment in Illinois shows a decline at all sectors of higher education.
Public universities, community colleges and private colleges — all three categories showed a drop in enrollment, according to a report from the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Illinois State University and the three University of Illinois campuses showed slight upticks; all other public schools declined by an average of almost 3 percent compared to last year. Private non-profit schools showed less of a decline, with an overall decrease of about 2 percent.
State Representative Bob Pritchard, a Republican from Hinckley, says he wasn't surprised by these figures.
"We really have been in a downward spiral that I think really got a lot of people's attention this last fall when you look at the numbers of students that have decided not to attend college, or not to attend college in Illinois."
Pritchard says the legislature deserves some of the blame.
“Some of that can be attributed to the uncertainty of state funding for the university. There were several universities that weren’t sure they were going to be able to open in the fall.”
SIU-Carbondale's enrollment dropped by 6.5% from the fall of 2015 to the fall of this year. It had the largest graduate student enrollment decline of any public university at nearly 11%.
It was a mixed bag for area community colleges. John A. Logan's enrollment increased by nearly 24%, Rend Lake's was up 8%, and Shawnee Community College posted a 0.3% increase. On the other side, Kaskaskia College's dropped 18% and Southeastern Illinois' enrollment fell 10.5%.