QUINCY -- John Wood Community College officials reported a 9.9% increase in first-time freshman students during Wednesday night's monthly board of trustees meeting.
JWCC President Mike Elbe revealed 411 new freshmen recently started fall classes, an increase of 37 over the 2019 total of 374.
"Faculty and staff have worked together to help increase our first-time freshman enrollment through strategic initiatives such as academic and athletic program expansion," Elbe told a turnout at the board's annual visit to the Workforce Development Center on Koch's Lane.
JWCC, which will continue enrollment for additional fall semester start dates in September, October and December, opened classes with 1,932 overall students, a slight increase over last year's 1,924.
"We still have work to do, yet these numbers are strong compared to community colleges across the state," Elbe said. "Retaining these students is key, along with enrolling more students in the three additional sessions this fall."
The large majority of the state's 48 community colleges have seen enrollment declines in recent years. JWCC has been one of less than 10 to show increases or hold relatively steady.
Elbe reported school studies involving regional market shares indicate JWCC is now attracting one in every three graduating seniors from the 14 high schools in its nine-county district.
The JWCC district, which encompasses 2,363 square miles, includes all of Adams, Pike and Brown counties, plus parts of Hancock, Calhoun, Schuyler, Morgan, Scott and Cass counties.
In other items, the board:
º Received its first glimpse of a proposed new master plan covering the improvement and enhancing of school facilities.
The plan is being produced by Klingner and Associates of Quincy and BLDD Architects of Decatur, with a goal of "updating and improving the students' experience."
A formal presentation of the plan is tentatively set for the Sept. 18 board meeting, with possible approval later in the fall.
º Was informed 27.5 % of fall credit hours are being taken online, roughly the same percentage as last year.
º Approved the transfer of $1.04 million from operating funds to operations and restricted funds for deferred maintenance and capital projects for fiscal 2020 and future years.