Community Colleges 2.0

The increasing prospects of high college costs and a demand for more trade-based jobs are pushing more students to enroll in community college. But how do the institutions in northern Illinois stack up?

Community colleges in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin didn’t fare exceptionally well in a ranking of 728 institutions in a recent study by WalletHub – although Southwest Wisconsin Technical College took the number-three spot, and Illinois’s Rend Lake College ranked eleventh.

Illinois' community colleges have been struggling to make ends meet without a state budget for nearly a year. For some, the cutbacks they've had to make could mean the loss of federal dollars, too.


Community colleges use a combination of federal and state funds to provide adult education classes that help people pass the GED.

Normally, the state provides 32 million dollars, and the federal government kicks in about 23 million dollars — but that’s based on the state’s ability to prove its programs work. 

Susan Stephens

The state of Illinois owes eight area community colleges more than $15 million.

According to data from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), only about 20 percent of state funding that was promised has actually been distributed to Waubonsee Community College, Sauk Valley Community College, Highland Community College, Illinois Valley Community College, Kishwaukee College, Elgin Community College, McHenry County College and Rock Valley College for this fiscal year.