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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5 Ways Community Colleges Have Improved in the Last Decade
We analyze some of the ways in which community colleges have changed and improved over the years, from online classes to new degree programs.
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:
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 studying, you may find the courses you
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Enrollment Declines Seen at Community Colleges Nationwide
We look at the enrollment declines community colleges are facing across the country, as well as possible reasons for the decline
After a number of years of exponential growth seen at community colleges across the country, that trend finally appears to be waning. Some attribute enrollment declines to an improving economy, while others cite changes in federal legislation as potential reasons. No matter what the underlying cause of the shrinking numbers, one thing is certain: the community college flurry that occurred during the recent economic slowdown appears to be stabilizing.

Fewer Community College Students in Oklahoma this Year

Oklahoma is just one of many states seeing fewer community college students head to class this fall. According to a report at News OK, most of the community colleges throughout Oklahoma are reporting enrollment drops as the academic year gets underway. During the past decade, enrollment in the state’s colleges shot up from around 88,000 students in 2000 to more than 117,000 by 2010. Much of that growth – around 16,000 students – occurred during 2009 and 2010: the years of economic recession across the country.

College officials suspect the enrollment drop could be attributed to a number of factors, including an improved economy and changes to federal financial aid programs. When the economy slowed and unemployment increased, many displaced workers returned to school to retrain for new industries that were still hiring workers. As unemployment gradually stabilizes, many are now back to work and no longer in need of the additional training at this time.
Federal Programs May Contribute to Enrollment Decline in Michigan
A report in mLive indicates that
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New Degree Programs Coming to a Community College Near You
We’ll look at some of the new programs, ranging from thermoforming plastics technology to events management, that will be offered by community colleges nationwide for this new school year.
In a constant effort to improve the quality of academics for every student that enrolls on their campus, community colleges from coast to coast are on the lookout for new programs to add to their course catalogue. This year, there are a number of new offerings at schools around the country, from those that celebrate the inner artist to practical programs designed to give graduates an upper hand in the workplace. Check out these new degree programs coming soon to a community college near you.

Kentucky Community College Offering Vet Tech Degree
In response to a community that is highly agricultural, Owensboro Community and Technical College will be adding a new veterinary technician degree program to its roster. This program will be the first degree in veterinary technology offered by a community college in Kentucky. The program, which will be funded by a $475,000 grant to Daviess and Hancock Counties, will fill a vital need in the state. According to the Lane Report, veterinary technicians are considered the fastest growing occupation in Kentucky currently. With only two four-year schools offering degrees in this field, there is a definite need to train up more professionals to handle the increasing employment need in the state.
“This veterinary program will be an outstanding addition to the curriculum offered at the Owensboro Community and Technical College,” Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear told the Lane Report. “With a strong economic foundation in agriculture, western Kentucky needs qualified veterinary professionals, and I’m pleased the college
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Fewer Classes Waiting for California Community College Students
We continue to report on the ongoing saga in the California community college system. Schools are now opening for fall semester with fewer courses due to serious budget cuts, and students are feeling the academic pain.
The start of a new school year is typically an exciting time for college students, filled with new professors, new material and the promise of progressing further into the world of higher education. However, for California community college students, those first days have been filled with worry and frustration, as record numbers have found themselves squeezed out of much needed courses. Thanks to continued budget cuts throughout the state, more students are missing out on college classes that would help them advance their education and move into careers of their choice. With less money to go around, schools say they have no choice, and students are left feeling the financial pain.

Tighter Finances All Around

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that since 2008, the community college system throughout California has received $809 million less in state funding, which makes up around 12 percent of the system’s total funding. When lost funding is combined with the rising costs of running an institution of higher education, the financial deficits become even more pronounced. For example, Diablo Valley College, located in Pleasant Hill, California, has cut around $14 million from its budget since 2009, to compensate for a loss of $5.2 million in state funding and rising operational costs.

The Press-Enterprise states that community colleges throughout the state are functioning on at least 12 percent less money than they had during the 2008-2009 academic year. To make up the difference, the entire system has resorted to “workload reductions.” The idea
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The Problem with Community College Placement Tests
We examine a recent report that questions the fairness and effectiveness of college placement exams in determining whether students need remedial education before taking college courses.
Placement tests have traditionally been used by community colleges nationwide to determine whether recent high school graduates are prepared for the rigors of college coursework. The results of these examinations has landed many incoming college freshman into remedial or “developmental” classes designed to bring their academic skills up to par before embarking on more challenging college-level classes. However, recent evidence suggests that those remedial classes may be having a much larger – and negative – influence on college completion rates overall. Additional research has shown that these placement examinations may not even be the most accurate assessment of college readiness for the majority of students today.
College Placement Exams Study: Other Measurements More Accurate?

A new study from Achieving the Dream, a non-profit organization, was created to improve community college outcomes for low-income students. The study, titled, “Where to Begin? The Evolving Role of Placement Exams for Students Starting College,” found that tests commonly used by colleges to determine incoming student placement may be inaccurate and create hurdles to student success in college. The study found that other factors, including high school grades, may be better measures of success.

The study looked at students from the Long Beach Unified school district that attended Long Beach City College after high school. The study found that ninety percent of the students had to take five semester or more of remedial classes before they could embark on their college coursework. The study also found that if the college
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Why Community College


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.


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.