A new report from the Illinois Board of Higher Education shows high school graduates are continuing to flock to out of state colleges.
In 2017, nearly half of college-bound graduates headed to four-year schools in states like Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin.
The board's Deputy Director of Information and Research Eric Lichtenberger says this has been an ongoing trend that's increased in recent years.
"What we've noticed is during the budget impasse, that growth was a little bit higher than it had been in recent years. We saw growth of about 3.5% or greater per year. Prior to the budget impasse, it was around 1% per year. But, it should be noted this is somewhat of a historical issue for the State of Illinois. We have information dating back to 2002 that shows that 29% of the high school graduating class, who attended a four-year college, enrolled out-of-state."
Officials are concerned since students that leave Illinois for college often don't return.
The board says the bright spot in these numbers indicates there was enrollment growth at Illinois' community colleges, where nearly 2,500 more public high school graduates began classes than in 2016.