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          Among two-year schools in Southeast Illinois, Frontier Community College (FCC) was reported as having the highest “on time” graduation rate, with a 61 percentage rate.

            In the latest data compiled by the United States Department of Education and Illinois State Comptroller, FCC not only had the highest rate in the region, but also in the entire state.    According to the report, 61 percent of students graduated on time from FCC in 2016.  The data was initially compiled to track the performance and spending of more than 49 Illinois two-year colleges, or community colleges.  The “on time” graduation rate was determined by comparing the school’s enrollment numbers against its annual graduates.

            Dr. Jay Edgren, President at FCC, was thrilled to hear the news and attributed the statistic to the service of those at the college.  "Two significant factors affecting graduation rates in higher education are advising and retention,” he said.  “Both of these efforts require building relationships between students and college personnel, such as advisors, faculty, and the retention coordinator.”

            The complete list of schools was reported by SE Illinois News and can be found on their website.  As a whole, all four Illinois Eastern Community Colleges ranked in the top 10 of 48 schools.  Ranking second was Wabash Valley College (Mt. Carmel) at 50 percent.  Moreover, the report proves that community colleges in Southern Illinois are seeing significantly better graduation rates than those in Central and Northern Illinois. 

            “Frontier Community College encourages and supports its students in all of their academic endeavors,” said Dr. Paul Bruinsma, Dean of Instructional Services.  “We are very proud of being ranked #1 in the State of Illinois for completion of our programs.  This accomplishment indicates we are achieving our overall mission.”

            Assistant Dean of Student Services Jan Wiles noted that FCC is committed to each student’s success.  “Students receive individual attention during every step of their educational journey – advising, classroom instruction, financial aid, tutoring, and more.  All our services are student centered,” Wiles stated.  “Frontier prepares students for the next step in their lives, and it’s a shared commitment between students, faculty, and staff.”

           “Because we're a smaller institution, we're able to get to know our students and build meaningful relationships,” Edgren said.  “We strive to provide assistance to our students every step of the way.  At Frontier, we believe our efforts are critical in helping our students graduate in a timely manner and transition into the workforce or a four-year institution."

            In 2016, Illinois schools enrolled 304,173 students.  “Dividing enrollment by two classes, the statewide graduation rate that year was 11 percent,” states SE Illinois News.

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