Success has many definitions, but is generally considered as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Lincoln Land Community College focuses on helping every student succeed, and we have successes of our own to report from various studies and surveys we conduct regularly, to make sure we continuously improve our services.
People from all walks of life come to LLCC to earn an associate degree or certificate, to prepare for transfer to a four-year institution, to train for a new career, or to take a few classes to increase their employability or earn a promotion. Of those who seek a degree or certificate, a recent study shows the percentage who graduate, transfer to a four-year institution or continue their education is increasing. This trend is encouraging and reflects our laser-like focus on helping students succeed.
We were very encouraged when a recent student satisfaction survey showed that eight out of 10 students would enroll in LLCC again if they had to do it over. Also, 73 percent said LLCC was their first choice in a college. By and large, our students are very satisfied with their LLCC experience.
That survey also indicated that the number one reason students choose LLCC is cost. We are very proud of our affordability. A clear contributor to success in career and life is the lack of debt. We cannot say it enough: community colleges are the most affordable higher education option. Only 11 percent of LLCC students need to take out loans. Average tuition and fees at Illinois community colleges are about one-fourth those at Illinois public universities and one-tenth those at private universities.
Is successful completion of an LLCC program worth the time, cost and effort? An economic impact survey shows an LLCC graduate earns $843,000 more in a 40-year career than a non-graduate. An LLCC degree or certificate has an estimated return on investment of 24.2 percent.
Another survey we conduct annually is one of our career and technical graduates, to see how successful they are in the workforce. Our 2015 survey shows 80 percent of 2014 graduates are working within our LLCC district, and 94 percent are working within Illinois.
We hear it time and time again, on surveys and in person: “The best professors I had in college were at Lincoln Land.” For transfer students who earn an associate degree at LLCC then complete a bachelor’s degree elsewhere, studies continue to show that they are as successful, if not more so, than students who start at four-year colleges. We believe this is because of the small classes, one-on-one attention from excellent professors and instructors, and myriad of personal support services available at LLCC. Our professors focus solely on teaching, and provide an outstanding educational foundation for students.
Throughout the years, more than 41,000 individuals have earned associate degrees and/or college-level certificates from LLCC. Think of the impact those successful individuals have on our local economy. Five of our outstanding alumni are currently featured on a billboard on 6th Street: Bradley Wilson, Michelle Tjelmeland, Cinda Edwards, Mitch Rogers and Karla Ivankovich. They will tell you that their LLCC experience was a launching pad for their success.
Another successful graduate, sculptor Michael Dunbar, recently spoke to students about success in an art-related career. His abstract outdoor sculptures grace numerous campuses, including ours. He encouraged the art students to celebrate their “visual acuity” and use their education to enhance the environment around them.
The mission of the community college is to provide access to, and success through, education. Whatever your definition of success, LLCC is here to help you achieve it.