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Strategic Enrollment Plans

A Message from Chancellor Salgado on Strategic Enrollment Management Plans

Dear Friends:         


I have always believed that City Colleges has much to contribute to our city.  City Colleges is unifying force, helping create a more inclusive economy. It is a source of hope and connection, putting Chicagoans on the path to upward mobility.  I became Chancellor with a mission to help fully realize this awesome potential. I want to ensure all Chicagoans can take advantage of our quality, affordable education to realize their goals.  That means coupling our commitment to excellence with a commitment to access.         


When I arrived at City Colleges in 2017, the system had been experiencing 8 to 9 percent enrollment declines annually.  It was contending with the impacts of a state budget impasse, the loss of population in the communities our colleges serve, and program changes, all of which contributed to downward enrollment trends.           


I charged our institution to meet those challenges head on, and made creating access to a quality, affordable education our top priority.             


I set about creating the conditions to stem and ultimately reverse the enrollment slide over the long run.  As such, we have incubated robust partnerships with community, faith-based, employer and K-12 partners to meet students where they are at and expand our reach.  We developed a new apparatus for enrollment planning.  We examined our finance and registration policies to ensure they were serving our students and our institution well.  We made investments in facilities in in-demand fields like manufacturing technology, engineering and transportation and logistics that allow us to grow our short-term programs.  We are developing the strongest-ever relationship with Chicago Public Schools, and we have raised the standards in our adult education programs, to name just some of these efforts.           


It was abundantly clear to me that we had to build new systems, practices, and a collaborative environment to reach our potential.  Our work required a renewed culture committed to planning, equity, and continuous improvement.  It demanded that we recommit to both quality and access.           


Today, I’m pleased to share the culmination of an 11-month district-wide Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) planning process. This is the first-ever SEM planning process in the system’s recent history.  This process reflected my call to operate with clarity and urgency, and to prepare our colleges for long-term success to fully realize our potential.             


Each 3-year SEM plan honors District priorities, including improving retention, enhancing the student experience, and maximizing the opportunities provided through each college’s Center of Excellence. The plans also address the unique attributes, opportunities, and challenges experienced by our seven colleges.           


This fiscal year (FY20) represents a new baseline year for our enrollment metrics as it comes after the reinstatement of the payment deadline. To reduce student debt, starting in the summer 2019 semester, we re-established a deadline for students to pay or demonstrate that they had a way to pay tuition (through financial aid, scholarships, waivers, third-party payers, payment plan) prior to the deadline.  In 2016, the prior administration removed the formal payment deadline. As a result, in recent previous fall semesters, approximately 15% of students ended the term with delinquency holds.  The re-establishment of a payment deadline addresses the issue of payment at the beginning of the term, rather than the end, when there is the greatest chance to address financial challenges in positive and proactive terms and reduce the possibility of students incurring debt.           


This fall, approximately 10% of credit students were dropped for non-payment and did not successfully re-enroll, although no-shows (NSWs) for all classes declined by more than 70% in Fall 2019.  The impact of the payment deadline is reflected in the FY20 baseline enrollment target and subsequent year targets.           


Collectively, we expect to see overall enrollment of just less than 70,000 students in FY20.  We understand that increasing enrollments from this new benchmark will be hard work given factors that we cannot control, but these SEM plans demonstrate CCC’s commitment to doing that work.  The plans target enrollment growth of nearly six percent and a six percent increase in retention through 2022.           


Enrollment KPIs           

FY19 Actual           

FY20 Targets (New Baseline)           

FY21 Targets           



3-Year Percent Change  (FY20-22)         

Unduplicated Total Enrollment           






Unduplicated Credit Enrollment           






Unduplicated Adult Ed Enrollment           






Unduplicated Continuing Ed Enrollment           






Credit Hour Production           






Fall to Spring Credit Retention           







The SEM plans recognize that the two primary sources of new students are recent Chicago Public Schools graduates and adult learners. In these plans, you will see efforts that will deepen our partnership with CPS to make the value proposition of a CCC education more relevant to today's student.  You will see efforts that will grow workforce-aligned programs to accelerate adult learners on their career paths.  You will see a commitment to scheduling classes that put our students’ needs first, including creative use of technology and online delivery.          


We will continue to embrace community pipeline strategies in partnership with trusted neighborhood organizations, and we will enhance our industry-based credential offerings through new program partnerships with employers and universities.           


The seven colleges will be examining these plans over the next six months in the context of the strategic and equity plans that we are concurrently developing.  We will consider the enrollment targets contained here preliminary, and will set final enrollment targets when our system and seven college strategic plans are delivered at the end of the fiscal year.             


It is my hope that these SEM plans will serve as an accountability tool for me, the District and our colleges, and an engagement opportunity for those who desire to partner with City Colleges of Chicago. Supporting our city’s journey to an inclusive economy requires a strong, vibrant, and embraced City Colleges.            


These plans are living documents.  We are sharing them now to solicit critical feedback from the community, recognizing everyone can be an ambassador for City Colleges. We look forward to your thoughts, and to working with you to put Chicagoans on the path to upward mobility.             




Juan Salgado           


City Colleges of Chicago          

Winter Classes Start December 18