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Quincy students follow Illinois trend, head to college out-of-state

QUINCY (WGEM) — Local students are following a statewide trend of Illinois students choosing to leave the state for college.

School administrators at the high school and college level said they’re trying to find ways to fix it.

At Quincy Notre Dame, many students are leaving Illinois to go to colleges in bordering states. It’s something local colleges are aware of, as they said they’re doing everything they can to keep students in Illinois.

Nine out of the ten students in this chemistry class at QND have committed to go to college out of state. For senior Alex Mast, the deciding factor to leave Illinois is the university’s program.

“Sophomore year, I really started looking at majors and what program would be best for me,” Mast said. Iowa State is the best agriculture school in the country, so that was really a big push for me.”

Mast said it’s a trend he sees in his classmates.

“A lot of my friends do seem to be going to an out-of-state school,” Mast said. “There are a few that are staying here in Quincy, but the majority are looking at Mizzou and Maryville, and schools like that.”

Guidance counselor Judy Leisen said a lot of factors go into the decision– but this year, those factors have taken about 70 percent of QND students out of state.

“Location being one of them, size of school, whether or not they have the major they’re looking for, college expenses, if they’re going to play sports, just a variety,” Leisen said.

Over at Quincy University, the Director of Admissions said they’ve noticed a decline in in-state students.

“We’ve watched this closely for a long time, we’ve been monitoring this,” QU Director of Admissions Brittany Ellerman said. “Essentially the budget impasse in Illinois has really created a sense of negativity and skepticism for families.”

It’s causing them to recruit out-of-state to make up for it.

“We can’t change what’s happening, but we do make sure and we have been making sure we’re going to other areas that have larger populations,” Ellerman said.

Liesen said Quincy University has stepped up their game when it comes to recruiting in-state students by going to local high schools to talk about the opportunities they offer close to home.

In 2017, 48 percent of Illinois public school students who enrolled in a four-year college chose one out of state.
That’s up nearly two percent from the fall of 2016.

IBHE Data Book: Enrollment data

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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