Illinois community colleges are putting a dollar figure on what their graduates earn. That figure is $570,000 more for a lifetime, compared to those with no college degree or certificate, according to a study by Northern Illinois University. Illinois Community College Board Director Karen Hunter Anderson says this is because, at community colleges, students either gain credits to go to four-year universities, or they get trained for real jobs.
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“Students can very often walk out the door of their community college with their certificate or their degree in-hand and have high expectations of getting a good-wage job,” she said. Anderson says community colleges train students for the needs of local industries, so there are jobs available for graduates, particularly in fields such as nursing and manufacturing. Anderson says nine out of 10 community college graduates stay in Illinois, so the state reaps the benefit of the increased earning power.