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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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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Plus-50 Encore Completion Program Expanding, Thanks to Grants
Learn about the recent decision to provide additional grants to the Plus 50 Encore Completion program that trains baby boomers at community colleges for new careers.
Grants are now available for community colleges that would like to expand their offerings to include the Plus-50 Encore Completion program started by the American Association of Community Colleges. This program helps adults over the age of 50 find a new start in the workplace by training them up for in-demand industries today. The program is part of a larger initiative to increase the number of college graduates in the United States through 2020.
 
About the Plus-50 Encore Completion Program
 
The Plus-50 Encore Completion program was launched in 2008 to address the needs of baby boomers nearing retirement age. Many in that category were hit with the realization they would need to continue working into their retirement years, either for personal fulfillment or practical reasons. The program provides training for working adults to update their skills or learn completely new trades they can easily move into during their later years of employment.
 
The program is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), through a $3.2 million grant provided by the Deerbrook Charitable Trust. In addition to implementing training programs for students in this age bracket, the initiative provides a way for community colleges to share ideas and plans for supporting adult students at community college campuses across the country. AACC has also engaged with an outside group to evaluate the success of the Plus-50 program, in order to assess its success and areas for improvement.
 
An independent evaluation of the Plus-50 program found that the majority of
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Top 100 Degree-Producing Community Colleges
Which community colleges produce the greatest number of degrees? We analyze a report that details the top producing community colleges across the country.
Community colleges have become a main focus of higher education in recent years, as the United States strives to fill the workforce needs of the 21st century. Completion rates for community colleges are more important than ever before, as students must complete their training programs to become productive members of the global marketplace. To help prospective students locate the community colleges with the greatest odds of success, Community College Week releases annual analyses of the community colleges that produce the most associate degrees each academic year.
 
About the Analysis
 
The data for the annual Top 100 Analysis is collected by the National Center for Education Statistics. The list includes associate degrees earned during the 2010-2011 school year, with total degrees earned and breakdowns according to race. The breakdowns were handled by a two-question format students were asked to answer, according to the website for Community College Week. Students were first asked if they were of Hispanic or Latino heritage, and then they were asked to check off various races that applied to them, including African American, Native American and Asian American.
 
This year’s analysis found record increases in the number of associate degrees earned over the past three years. As associate degrees appear to be on the rise, certificate programs, which can usually be earned in less than two years, seem to be on the decline. It is also interesting to note that the number of associate degrees earned at public community colleges was just 61 percent. Proprietary institutions
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5 Important Trends in Community Colleges in 2013
We look at some of the most prominent trends in community colleges, as schools work to redefine their place in the world of higher education.
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.
 
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Why More Students are Turning to Community College Today
We look at why millions of Americans are choosing community college over a traditional four-year school today.
Community college enrollment has increased across the country in recent years, and there are many reasons for the influx of students. A sluggish economy, lower tuition rates and high quality education are just a few of those reasons. With community colleges finding a new role in educating students in America today, there are numerous compelling reasons to give these two-year schools another look.
 
Lower Rates, Less Debt
 
One of the top reasons students are considering community colleges over four-year schools today is an issue of cost. According to Yahoo Finance, the average annual cost to attend community college during the 2010-2011 school year was $8,734, which included tuition and books, room and board and living expenses. In contrast, the annual cost to attend a four-year school during the same year was $18,133. Even public institutions, which are supposed to offer a more budget-friendly option to four-year students, had an average annual cost of $13,297.
 
Tuition costs for two-year institutions hover at around $2,000-$3,000 per year. That amount is much more affordable than the tuition at four-year schools, which can run as high as $8,000 or more for public institutions and up to $50,000 or more for private schools. Students that qualify for significant scholarship money may find the four-year schools affordable, but those who don’t get any financial help may be out of luck.
 
Debt is another concern for students heading to four-year schools. Yahoo also cites the average amount of debt a student is saddled with after
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Recent Articles
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Why Community College

Overview

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.