The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) publishes a Fall Enrollment 2020-21 each year summarizing headcount at all institutions in Illinois.
This year’s release paints a fairly sobering picture of the impact the pandemic and other demographic factors have had on enrollment in Illinois institutions.
- Undergraduate headcount across all institutions in Illinois is down 7.2%
- Community College enrollment was most severely impacted, down 13.4%
- Graduate program enrollment was the lone bright spot, up 1.5%
Other reporting suggests this pattern is similar across most Midwest states.
Of growing concern is the number of low-income students, defined by Pell Grant eligibility, who appear to have “stopped out” completely from higher education. The question remains whether they will return in the near future.
The number of FAFSA filers for fall 2021 enrollment is also down across the country, which is another concerning indicator for the neediest students we serve.
There are no easy solutions to these challenges. At Lewis, we will continue to do our part by extending deadlines and continuing to award financial aid and scholarships to deserving students.
We do not want the stress of this past year to cause any additional stress in this next important transition.