Trends and Current Issues

Get information on the latest trends and issues affecting community colleges today. Explore the impact of community colleges on the global economy, get information on how community colleges have changed over the years, and see how the latest technologies are being employed on campus.
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How to Tell if Community College is Right for You

So you’re ready to make a big decision about your next step in life – is community college the right choice for you?

A community college offers students a wide range of benefits and is a good choice for many people. Some students go through a lot of preparation to determine what they want to do after they graduate and where they want to go in life. Adults too may find themselves at a cross roads where they have the option to return to college for a degree or further training. Thousands of students, in every state, enroll in community college and find the experience to be very worthwhile. Community college might be especially good for you if you can answer yes to any of these points.

1. Cost is a major factor in your decision. 

Tuition is usually a lot cheaper at a community college than it is at a four year college or university. You can save money by taking classes at a community college, and even if you transfer on to another college for a higher degree, those first few years of education will cost you less at the community college. Two years at a four year school could cost  you $40,000 but those same two years at a community college may cost half that or less! This option is great for recent high school graduates, adult students, and returning college students who need more education and training...
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Students heading to community college this fall may see some new features at their otherwise familiar campuses. Many schools have spent the summer months getting ready for the next academic year adding a wide range of options designed to attract students from all demographics. Check out five new features community college students may discover when they head back to the ivied halls this fall.
 
New Technology
 
As community colleges strive to bring their training in line with 21st century workforce needs, more technology is coming to schools across the country. For example, Diverse Issues in Higher Education reports that Prince George’s Community College has added innovative technology to the school’s state-of-the-art nursing program. The school invested $43 million into a new Center for Health Studies in an effort to accommodate a growing population of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students at the school.
 
Simulated mannequins are now used inside the center to teach nursing students the finer points of diagnosis and patient care. The nursing lab also boasts transparent mirrors where professors can observe students during diagnosis trials. Updated equipment, including sonography and surgical tools, are similar to those used at nearby hospital facilities in the Prince George area.
 
“Since nursing and health fields in general are among the fastest growing jobs, we really wanted this building to help make room for more health science students,” Angela Anderson, dean of the division of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College, told Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
 
More Classes
 
Other community colleges across...
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Community colleges are a vital part of the world of higher education in the United States. With a long and illustrious history, these institutions have seen more than their share of trends over the decades. Check out these important trends in community colleges that are expected to continue throughout 2013.
 
More High School Students Taking Community College Classes
 
High school students interested in getting a head start on higher education are discovering the benefits in dual enrollment in community college classes while still in high school. The Wall Street Journal calls these head start programs a low-cost way for students to gain college credits, which makes it that much easier for them to attain a two or four-year college degree in the future. Community colleges are also now partnering with local high schools to provide remedial education that prepares them for college-level work prior to high school graduation.
 
More Traditional Students on Community College Campuses
 
The New York Times has reported an increase in high school graduates attending community college right after high school, with the intention of obtaining a four-year degree through a transfer program. With a sluggish economy and much focus on the extent of student debt today, community colleges are now seen as a viable and cost-effective alternative to getting a start in the world of higher education. As younger students begin to permeate community college campuses, the demographics and overall environment of community colleges may be changing as well.
 
Additional Campus Housing Available...
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Community colleges have come a long way since their inception. Instead of falling into the ranks of the “fallback” plan, many of these schools have now become a first choice for students looking to change career direction or explore higher education for the first time. With a focus on the community college system in recent years, the changes on these campuses have been even more pronounced, with a wider variety of degree programs, services and even on-campus housing. Check out these five ways community colleges have evolved to become full-service institutions of higher education.

Greater Diversity in Degree Programs
 
Community colleges were typically known for their relatively generic, liberal arts degree programs, but not any longer. Today’s student can choose from a wide range of two-year degrees, ranging from fine arts to engineering. Many of the degree programs at community colleges today are industry-centric, meaning they focus on training individuals for jobs in the local market. Schools even partner with employers in the community to ensure the training students receive at the community college can take them right into the workforce.
 
Some of the unique and interesting programs you might find at your local community college today include:
 
       ·      Solar Energy Technology
       ·      Sustainable Agriculture
       ·      Performing Arts and Music
       ·      Computer Engineering
       ·      Exercise Science
       ·      Nursing and Healthcare
       ·      Manufacturing Engineering
 
Even fields like culinary arts, funeral home management and criminal justice can be studied at some community colleges. No matter what you are interested in...
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The latest report from the American Association of Community Colleges “tells it like it is,” calling the American Dream imperiled and asking two-year colleges across the country to raise the bar on higher education standards. While the new report does offer some positive feedback on the current condition of community colleges in terms of growth and success, it also provides feedback on where schools are lacking and what can be done to bring these institutions to the place where they can serve students and the business community most effectively.  There are seven problems and seven solutions, providing a blueprint colleges can use to improve the quality of education and professional training across the board.

Shifting the Focus
 
The Chronicle of Higher Education explains that this report, titled, “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future,” is the culmination of several months of research by a 38-member community. Those involved in the report include college presidents, education-policy experts and leaders of non-profit groups.
 
“This is a brutally honest report,” Walter Bumphus, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, told the Chronicle. “For years we have been focused on access, and now we need to turn our attention equally to student access. It takes courage to say we can do better.”
 
The report offers a new perspective to the condition of community colleges, beyond their commitment to an open-admission policy and providing access to students who are typically underserved. Once the students are enrolled in the school, their success...
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Why Community College

TRENDS AND CURRENT ISSUES