Community vs. Other Colleges

With so many higher education options, we compare community colleges against other institutions to help you find the best option for your needs. We’ll look at how community colleges are outperforming 4-year schools, study the latest data on the ROI of community colleges and explore why more students are turning to them.
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The perception of the value of a college degree appears to be evolving. As some students and their parents begin to focus on their return on investment (ROI), they are beginning to realize that graduating from a prestigious four-year school isn’t as glamorous as it seems. In addition, rising concern over increasing student debt has spurred questions about the best path to a profession. As the exploration continues, community colleges are starting to be seen as offering the superior ROI for many students today.
 
The Value of a Four-Year Degree
 
PolicyMic reports on a recent analysis that looked at 1,248 four-year colleges and universities across the country. The study showed 28 percent of those four-year schools offered a negative ROI, which means students would have been better off financially if they had not gone to school at all!  However, if those students had started their higher education at a community college and then transferred to a four-year school for their last two years, the negative ROI would have been reduced to 11.5 percent.
 
The best ROI from four-year schools often involved engineering programs. Schools like Colorado School of Mines, Georgia Tech, MIT and Cal Tech reflect that trend. Ivy League schools also made the list for positive ROIs, demonstrating that high admission standards and a tradition of success do contribute to the value of a postsecondary education. Other four-year schools did not always fare as well. For example, the last school on the list, Savannah College of Art and . . . read more

While four-year colleges and universities have traditionally been the path to the future for many high school graduates, business leaders and lawmakers are presenting a new option for today’s youth. Community colleges are becoming more than an alternative means of education; they are quickly advancing as a core element in a competitive 21st century workforce. As the need for highly skilled employees continues to increase, many are beginning to recognize the fact that community colleges may be the solution that meets that need best.
 
The President’s Take on Community Colleges
 
In 2010, President Obama stated that jobs requiring an associate degree were expected to grow at twice the rate of positions that could be obtained without any college experience in the coming years. The President also said that if community colleges could not train a sufficient number of workers to fill open positions, the jobs would have to be filled by outsourcing, according to a report at the White House website. To meet the needs of the workforce and prevent outsourcing, the President set an ambitious goal to graduate an additional five million students from community colleges by 2020.
 
Today, U.S. News and World Report states that the need for community college graduates continues. According to the report, around 600,000 jobs remain unfilled in the United States because companies cannot find skilled workers to hire. Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, stated in written testimony to the House Committee on Education and . . . read more

For-profit colleges have been a growing sector in higher education in recent decades, but they have also fueled plenty of debate among educators and lawmakers.  in 2010, for-profits launched an attack on community colleges, which are their main competitors, and community colleges vehemently fought back against the claims.  While these for-profit schools tout their many benefits through expensive marketing campaigns, watchdogs of higher education claims these schools fail to deliver on their promises at a much higher rate than community colleges, public universities and even some private institutions.  Now, a new report from Senator Tom Harkin indicates that these for-profit institutions are missing the mark in terms of educating students and spending student and taxpayer dollars wisely - marking a wide divide between community colleges and these for-profit schools.

About the Harkin Report
 
The report, dubbed the Harkin Report after its primary author, is a voluminous write-up of nearly 250 pages that details the operations of 30 for-profit institutions around the country, according to Inside Higher Ed. The investigation, which took two years to complete, was headed by Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa. The report was issued by the Democratic Majority and the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
 
Senator Harkin presented his findings at the end of July. The Harkin report has since been scrutinized by media, educators and lawmakers. While some agree wholeheartedly with the sometimes scathing report, others believe it is just another political ploy to run these institutions out . . . read more

There is no doubt that the cost of a college education is increasing, but as that price tag continues to go up, the general perception is now that college may not be the investment it was once touted to be. While colleges nationwide have worked to buck that idea, the bottom line doesn’t lie – nor does the astronomical total of student debt racked up in this country today. Is there a way to invest in a college education without breaking the bank?

Country Financial Survey Reveals Concerns over College Costs Growing
 
A new national survey by Country Financial shows that many are continuing to question the value of a college education today. According to the publication, the survey found that just over half of the Americans interviewed this year thought a college degree was still a worthwhile investment. That number has dropped significantly since 2008, when 81 percent saw college as a good deal.
 
Despite the telltale data into America’s perception of the value of a college degree, higher debt balances to obtain those degrees have become more acceptable. According to the Country Financial website, the survey found that 42 percent of Americans believe student debt in excess of $20,000 is acceptable today. That number contrasts with the 31 percent that found that amount acceptable just last year. By the same token, the number of subjects who thought debt under $20,000 was acceptable declined to 50 percent, after numbers were at 61 percent in 2011.
 
Debt Concerns Guide College Decisions   Although . . . read more

Community colleges have experienced a mixed reputation over their 100-year history. On the one hand, these institutions have been traditionally viewed as the lesser choice in higher education. Other opinions have elevated these schools to the most direct way to train for the job market.  Which view is more accurate? Today, the latter appears to be a more prevalent one, particularly in light of the fact that many four-year schools are now trying to capitalize on the same features community colleges have boasted since the very beginning.

Career Training Begins at Community College
 
Since their inception, community colleges have been focused on vocational training. According to a report at the Times Herald-Record, these schools were originally created in the early part of the 20th century for the sole purpose of getting people into the workforce as quickly as possible. Fraternizing with academics and dabbling in philosophical thought processes were seen as counterproductive in this model of higher education.
 
While community colleges might have met their goals from a vocational standpoint, their singular focus also may have gained them a reputation as less academic schools than four-year colleges and universities. Those who wanted the true higher education experience would venture into the hallowed halls of those institutions perceived as factories for intellectuals and philosophers. However, when jobs become scarce and industries begin to fizzle, the practical application of higher education becomes much more revered.
 
Community Colleges Coin a Phrase Now Used by Four-Year Schools
 
Now we are at the beginning of the . . . read more
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Choosing a School

COMMUNITY VS. OTHER COLLEGES