Heartland Community College sees enrollment recovery from pandemic-related losses

Heartland Community College
Heartland Community College(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 11:53 PM CDT
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NORMAL (25 News Now) - Enrollment is picking up again at Heartland Community College, as the school with its main campus in Normal is slowly recovering from a loss of students caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the tenth day of fall classes at Heartland, a spokesperson said there was a 2% enrollment gain compared to last year and a 1.4% increase in credit hours.

The number of new students this fall is up 6% compared to last year and 18% higher than the fall of 2020, which was early in the pandemic.

This fall, there are 4,530 students enrolled at Heartland, 145 fewer students than the fall of 2019, the last semester before the pandemic.

In all, Heartland lost about 400 students because of the pandemic, but “we have been slowly gaining that back,” said Steve Fast, a Heartland spokesperson.

These enrollment numbers do not include Adult Education and Continuing Education students at Heartland.

In a statement, Heartland Vice President Sarah Diel-Hunt said the school is doing better than other community colleges nationally and statewide in experiencing an enrollment recovery. She credits the school’s Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, which was being developed when the pandemic hit in early 2020.

“The College is making strides in areas of enrollment growth identified with this plan, including minority students, work ready program enrollment and the enrollment of students over age 25,” said Diel-Hunt.

The school said the current semester represents Heartland’s most diverse class in its history with the largest-ever number of minority students. The school reports a 13% increase in minority students from last year and a 24% gain from the fall of 2020.