Why Community College

Learn all about community college and whether it is the right choice for your academic career. We’ll cover the history of community colleges, the latest trends and issues, and the top degree-producing schools. Find out why students are turning to community colleges, see what issues affect campuses with such a diverse student body, and get information on the latest trends in degree offerings.
View the most popular articles in Why Community College:
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Community College Review Diversity Report: Which Campuses are Most Diverse?
What states are home to the most diverse and least diverse community colleges? In our exclusive diversity report, we analyze our data to determine how much diversity there is on community college campuses throughout the United States. In addition, learn about the benefits of attending a community college with a diverse student body.
Part of the college experience today is learning with, and learning from, people different from ourselves. However, in the past, some colleges were racially segregated - particularly in the South - until desegregation began in the 1950s and increased diversity at college campuses. And while some colleges today are for specific populations, such as women, in general, college campuses are bastions of racial, ethnic, religious, and social diversity. This diversity lends itself to an enhanced educational experience, better preparation for working for companies with diverse employees, and greater understanding of others. But where are the most diverse community colleges located? We collected data from community colleges in each state and analyzed it to determine how much diversity exists.

 
Diversity Scores of Community Colleges
 
In order to appropriately compare the diversity of community colleges, we mined student data and calculated diversity scores for each state. Specifically, we were interested in the presence of more than one ethnic group on campus. Our formula determines the likelihood that any two students at a college are from different ethnic groups. Scores closer to zero indicate less diversity on campus, while a score closer to 1 indicates more diversity on campus. For example, a college exclusively for African-American students would have a diversity score of zero even though the student body is comprised of an ethnic minority, because other ethnic groups would not be present on campus. Conversely, a college with five or six ethnic groups on campus would have...
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6 New Features for Community College Students Heading Back to School this Fall
Check out the new features waiting for community college students heading back to school, from new security procedures, to campus housing, classes and degree programs.
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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Four-Year Degrees at Community College? Many Schools Now Say Yes
What is the latest on four-year degree programs at community colleges? We look at some of the states entering into this relatively new frontier, and why some are having a tough time selling the idea.
Community colleges have traditionally been considered the go-to place for two-year vocational degrees or general college coursework for students that have plans to transfer to a four-year college or university. However, these institutions of higher education are increasing their program offerings to include a smattering of four-year degree options as well. Although not without their share of opposition, the four-year degree is slowly but surely becoming more common at the community college level. Check out these states and schools delving into the frontier of the four-year degree program.
 
Chattanooga State Considers Addition of Five Four-Year Programs
 
A community college in Tennessee is looking at adding five new programs to their current catalog selections. The Chattanoogan reports that Chattanooga State Community College is considering the addition of four-year degree programs in a variety of high-tech fields. The president of the college, Dr. Jim Cantanzaro, applied for approval of the programs last summer, and is still waiting for a response from Tennessee Board of Regents.
 
The community college would like to add four-year degree programs in chemical process engineering, radiological sciences, nuclear engineering, technology management, and mechatronics engineering. The programs were specifically chosen based on the local employment needs of the current workforce. Dr. Cantanzaro made it clear the goal of the program addition was to fulfill those professional needs and not to transform Chattanooga State in a full-fledged four-year school.
 
Dr. Cantanzaro also explained that 60 percent of the material in the new degree programs would be “applied,” meaning the...
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Community College Enrollment in California Hit 20-Year Low
We’ll examine the reasons behind California’s dismal community college enrollment numbers, at a time when the state needs skilled workers more than ever.
While many community colleges across the country are bursting at the seams with their increasing enrollment numbers, California schools appear to be seeing the opposite trend. The largest community college system in the U.S. is currently experiencing a 20-year low in enrollment, leaving many scratching their heads as to the cause of the decline. As the system continues to struggle to lure students, many wonder if it is the higher cost, fewer classes or poor track record that is leaving these schools lacking for students.
 
The Student Shut-Out
 
According to a report at KQED, around 600,000 community college students have been shut out of the state’s system in recent years. Budget cuts that have led to fewer course selections have contributed to the student shut-out. In addition, KQED reports on recent findings in a report by the Public Policy Institute of California, which showed a total community college student population of 2.4 million during the 2011-2012 school year. That number marks a significant decrease in enrollment from the 2.9 million students enrolled in state community colleges during 2008-2009.
 
Sarah Bohn, the lead researcher for the PPIC report, told KQED the results were “troubling.” She makes note of the fact that fewer students are pursuing higher education at a time when California requires more skilled workers to beef up its high-tech industries. It is particularly concerning considering more students are graduating from California high schools than ever before, leading some researchers to wonder whether those high school graduates are attending any...
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What?s Wrong with Community College Placement Policies?
We take an in-depth look at recent studies that show placement examinations may not be the best way to place incoming community college students into the proper courses. What could be the alternative?
Community colleges across the country typically have open enrollment policies that allow students admission to the schools regardless of their academic performance in high school. In fact, many two-year schools don’t collect high school transcripts or standardized test scores before allowing students to enroll in classes. However, most of these schools do rely on standardized placement examinations to ensure students lacking skills to succeed in college get the help they need in remedial classes before moving on to college-level courses.
 
In theory, this system sounds like a good one. Students are assessed before they are placed in community college classes to ensure they possess all the skills necessary to achieve in higher education courses. Unfortunately the theory doesn’t always translate to an effective education process. In fact, recent studies have shown community college placement examinations may do more harm than good.
 
The Problem with Placement Exams
 
Last year, Inside Higher Ed reported on a study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The study found that up to two-thirds of the students placed in remedial classes after taking placement exams could have passed college-level courses with a grade of “B” or better without the remedial assistance. This study was significant, since remedial coursework has a detrimental impact on college completion rates at community colleges across the country.
 
At the time of the study, around six out of every 10 community college students were assigned remedial coursework before they could take college-level classes. Although students have...
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Recent Articles
Free Tuition Could Come to a Community College Near You
Free Tuition Could Come to a Community College Near You
To encourage students to pursue higher education, some states are considering plans to offer zero-tuition programs at public community colleges. These programs could make college a reality for many young people, however, critics argue such programs would cost taxpayers a significant amount of money.
Community College Review Diversity Report: Which Campuses are Most Diverse?
What states are home to the most diverse and least diverse community colleges? In our exclusive diversity report, we analyze our data to determine how much diversity there is on community college campuses throughout the United States. In addition, learn about the benefits of attending a community college with a diverse student body.
More Accreditation Woes for California
The chancellor of the California Community College System, Bryce Harris, recently stated more than 20 community colleges in the state were at risk of losing accreditation. In the midst of problems with City College of San Francisco, some are beginning to question the credibility of the accreditors.
Why Community College

Getting Started

What is a community college and why are more students turning to them? Who are some of the most famous community college graduates? Here you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.

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.

Student Populations

Attracting students from all walks of like, community college campuses are rich with diversity. This section covers a myriad of issues relating to student populations. Learn more about LGBT support on community college campuses, explore adult-friendly degree programmers and, see what resources are available to veterans.

Enrollment & Admissions

We provide a comprehensive look into some of the most important issues affecting enrollment and admissions. Get the latest news on declining enrollment across the country and the impact it has. Learn more about the latest trends in admissions requirements from vaccinations to placement tests. Find expert advice on what to expect your first year, and lean more about the pitfalls to avoid.

Degrees

Community colleges have been expanding course and degree offerings. This section provides information on your options, from GED to a bachelor’s degree. Learn how you can benefit from a professional certification, find out which community colleges are offering bachelor’s degrees, and identify the top degree-producing colleges.