by Jerry Wesley, Vice Chair, LLCC Board of Trustees
Most people are aware that community colleges are less expensive to attend than four-year colleges and universities. With constant reminders of the nation’s student loan debt crisis, community colleges like Lincoln Land offer an affordable option for students seeking a college degree or certificate without breaking the bank. It is our stated mission to provide quality educational programs that are accessible, affordable and responsive to individual and community needs.
How do we do this? I credit our hardworking faculty and staff whose dedication to our mission helps us run the institution efficiently, keeping costs to students down. Our faculty focus solely on teaching, rather than publishing or research, and work individually with students to help them succeed.
As a former schools superintendent with more than 40 years of experience in education, and now as an LLCC trustee, I can assure you that despite its lower cost, the education, facilities, activities and services at LLCC are all top notch. The trustees you elect are committed to keeping this so. You or your children sacrifice nothing by attending a community college, except the debt you might incur at a more expensive institution.
How much can you save by attending a community college? A great deal. The amount depends on your particular circumstance, but here are some interesting statistics:
• Students can save 75 percent on the first two years of college by attending LLCC. Parents, did you hear that?
• The average cost of tuition and fees at Illinois community colleges is about one-fourth that of state universities and one-tenth of private universities.
• At LLCC, 89 percent of students attend without taking out student loans.
• The annual rate of return on the investment in an LLCC degree is about 24.2 percent. (I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any investments making anywhere near that rate of return. Also, the intrinsic value of a college degree is, to me, invaluable.)
• High school students taking LLCC dual credit classes saved a total of $1,032,671.20 in tuition costs last year.
• For those who need financial assistance, advisors in the LLCC Financial Aid Office offer personal help in applying for and obtaining federal and state aid.
• The LLCC Foundation distributed nearly $250,000 in scholarships to students last year. That’s money you don’t ever have to pay back! (Note, the deadline to apply for scholarships for the 2016-17 year is March 1. www.llcc.edu/scholarships)
• 15 LLCC Honors Program students per year receive Trustee Scholarships for two years of free tuition.
How about choice of majors, buildings, services and activities?
• LLCC offers 41 associate degree programs and 77 certificate programs.
• LLCC’s Springfield campus has 17 buildings on 220 acres of property. LLCC classes are also held at Capitol Airport (the newly named Levi, Ray and Shoup, Inc. Aviation Center at LLCC) and the Capital City Training Center near downtown Springfield.
• Students outside Springfield are served at LLCC Outreach Centers in Litchfield, Jacksonville, Beardstown, Hillsboro and Taylorville, as well as through online classes.
• LLCC’s Career Services Office helps students find jobs. Also, our career and technical programs work with local employers to place students in successful careers. A great example is our aviation maintenance program and its cooperative agreement for paid internships with Standard Aero.
• LLCC has 40 student clubs and six athletics teams along with nearly daily student activities in which all can participate.
Nearly one million students in Illinois attend community colleges. LLCC serves nearly 16,000 individuals annually through credit and non-credit courses. I could not be prouder to serve this fine institution that impacts so many lives and provides a lower cost education, of the highest quality, to students.
See for yourself at LLCC Campus Visit Day Monday, Feb. 15. Register at www.llcc.edu/campus-visit-day. Or, call 217.786.2577.