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More Illinois students transferring to pursue a four-year degree

We’re digging deeper into a new study that John Wood Community College officials say shows good news for Illinois students.

The study is from the National Student Clearinghouse. It shows the State of Illinois is ranked number one for community college students transferring to a four-year university.

Officials at JWCC say they follow the state trend with more and more students transferring to 4-year university, but they also have students taking advantage of their associates’ degree program to straight into the workforce.

“I think students are starting to realize a community college is just as much a viable option as a 4-year institution,” said Andrew Happekotte, director of advising and retention at JWCC.

Happekotte says 75 percent of the students enrolled will transfer to pursue a 4-year degree.

“Since students are meeting with us each semester it allows us the opportunity to form a relationship with them and as things change to adjust their path as necessary as soon as we possibly can to make sure that their  transfer process is streamlined, and that they’re spending as little money as possible,” said Happekotte.

Money is one the big factors when students choose to start their education at a community college. The cost per year for Illinois residents at JWCC is estimated at around $5,000.

Across the river at Culver Stockton College, it’s almost $27,000 a year. At Hannibal-LaGrange University it’s roughly $21,000 a year for tuition and fees.

Saving money is one reason sophomore Madeline Davis chose JWCC.

“It’s affordable and it’s close to home,” said Davis. “It’s a nice transition in between high school and that 4-year university.”

Davis is from Camp Point, Illinois and will transfer to Western Illinois University in August.

“John Wood and WIU have a great relationship together and almost always the classes transfer,” said Davis.

On the other hand, some students have no desire to attend a 4-year institution. Instead, they have their eyes set on an associates degree.

“With those students the idea is pretty simple, they want to come in and they want to do something that’s relatively quick and inexpensive and hopefully get out there and get a career that’s going to get them on their feet and make them some money, said Happekotte.

That’s the case for sophomore Gavin Ideus who is currently enrolled in John Wood’s Industrial Maintenance Technology Program. His sight is set on pursuing a job at Quincy’s Gates Air.

“Being able to receive a degree that matters, that’s worthwhile to receive,” said Ideus. “It’s being able to finish in two years and being able to transition right into the workforce and have a really good paying job.”

Of the JWCC students who choose to transfer to a four-year university, documents from the college show 16 percent go to Quincy University. The two other big schools are WIU and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

For more information on admissions at JWCC click here.

Kaylee Pfeiferling

Multimedia Journalist

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