FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — Highland Community College along with other community colleges across the nation is recognizing the month of April as Community College Month. In these challenging times with COVID-19, Highland Community College recognizes the importance of continuing to meet the needs of the students while practicing health and safety.
Community colleges, like HCC, are places of discovery that help students pursue, shape, and realize their dreams as they aspire to higher learning. Whether students are pursuing a two-year degree to enter the workplace or planning to further their education with a baccalaureate degree at a four-year college or university, attending a community college creates a foundation for a successful future. In fact, recent studies indicate that community college students who transfer to four-year schools are more likely to graduate than students who enrolled directly out of high school.
“In this time of uncertainty, you can be assured that Highland remains committed to serving our students and our community,” said Chris Kuberski, Executive Vice-President. “Community Colleges were designed to be nimble, responsive, and supportive institutions where students can obtain an affordable, high quality education. In the last few weeks, this has been put to the test, and Highland has demonstrated its ability to adjust quickly, move to alternative delivery, and provide online support to students. Our primary concern right now is for the safety and well-being of our students and our community.”
Located within Freeport, Highland Community College is quality education, near home, at an affordable rate. Students get individual attention from advisors and instructors to help determine personal and professional goals. Through special partnerships with area schools, students can take college-level classes while still in high school; earn credit for prior learning for military and veteran students; and explore curricular and extra-curricular interests.
Additional benefits of attending a community college:
• Illinois is #1 in the nation in bachelor’s degree completion rates among community college students who transfer (53.8 percent).
• Earning an Associate of Applied Science or long-term certificate from an Illinois community college adds more than $570,000 in lifetime earnings.
• Nine out of 10 of the state’s community college graduates live, work, pay taxes, and raise their families in Illinois.
• Community colleges contribute to Illinois’ economic development by providing workforce training, increasing credential attainment, and closing the skills gap. Nearly 74 percent of Illinois employers have hired a community college student.
Jim Reed, executive director of the Illinois Community College Trustee Association (ICCTA) said, “The unpredictability of COVID-19 has caused us physical as well as financial anxiety. As we think about how we respond we need look no further than our local community college.”
He adds, “A study conducted a few years ago by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University, found that 69 percent of community college students work while they attend school, and 33 percent work more than 35 hours per week. Community colleges understand that their students need flexibility, which is why they offer more night and weekend classes than you’ll find at a four-year school. If you need to work while in school or take classes around your child’s school schedule, you’ll have a lot more options at a community college.”
April is the time to recognize and spread awareness of the hard work and achievement happening at Highland. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, there are more than 12 million students enrolled at community colleges across the country, with a diverse student population.
For information about opportunities at Highland Community College, visit highland.edu.