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:

Underprivileged Student? Upward Bound Can Prepare You for College

Updated
|
Underprivileged Student?  Upward Bound Can Prepare You for College
We take a closer look at the Upward Bound program, which is designed to prepare students for college whom might not otherwise succeed due to economic or family factors.
Prospective college students that come from families where many have already forged the path through higher education have many resources at their disposal when it comes time to head to the college of their choice. In contrast, those who will be the first in their family to attend college do not have the same advantage of experience within the family to light the way. For those students, programs like Trio Upward Bound help them to understand what higher education is about and find the path through a college education that will benefit them most in the future. To that end, community colleges across the country offer Upward Bound programs to motivate students to explore higher education and determine the college path they want to take.
 
This video looks at the Harvey Mudd College Upward Bound program.
 
 

History of Trio Upward Bound

The origins of Upward Bound date back to the Educational Opportunity Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. According to the Council for Opportunity in Education, the experimental program was first introduced to reduce barriers faced by low-income and first-generation college students that created inequality in educational opportunities for those students.  The program is offered through colleges, universities, and community colleges, and funds are distributed to individual programs through the issuance of competitive grants.

Upward Bound is just one of three programs that are currently a part of Trio. Talent Search was created by the Higher Education
. . .read more

Adult-Friendly Degree Programs at Community College

Updated
|
Adult-Friendly Degree Programs at Community College
We've found some of the best degree options for adults who are concerned about salary, job stability, and flexibility in earning a degree.
The job market appears to be evolving at a rapid-fire pace in recent years, as the Great Recession has caused a shift – and even a nearly complete disappearance – of many industries. This evolution has sent many adult workers back to school in search of new career paths that would be more lucrative and more stable. The academic landscape often looks very different to adult workers worried about supporting and balancing families, as well as working around professional schedules to achieve their education dreams. With that in mind, consider this list of adult-friendly community college degree programs, as well as tips to help you determine whether now is the right time to pursue a community college degree.  
 
Is Now the Right Time for Community College?
 
There are a number of reasons to consider continuing education as an adult, including:
  • Inability to advance in your current position without additional education
  • Sudden unemployment (such as a layoff) and difficulty finding a new job without a degree
  • Need to make a career change when current career runs out of opportunities
  • Fulfill a lifelong dream of achieving a college education
All of these reasons are legitimate courses that lead to community college. However, before you make the leap, it is important to count the cost – including the time and money involved in higher education – to be sure you are prepared to make the investment. Next research all your opportunities, in terms of schools and degree programs, to be sure you find the best one for your needs.
 
Degrees from the Plus 50 Initiative
 
The
. . .read more

7 Problems with Community Colleges And What Can be Done about Them

Updated
|
7 Problems with Community Colleges  And What Can be Done about Them
We examine a recent report by the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, which cited many of the problems these schools still face and what can be done to improve the experience for students.
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
. . .read more

The Real Dollar Value of an Associate Degree

Updated
|
The Real Dollar Value of an Associate Degree
How much is an associate's degree really worth? We calculate and research the ROI of an associate degree specifically, and the results are interesting.
Much has been published recently about the value of a college degree over the long term.  While the cost of higher education has continued to rise, the benefits associated with that education continue to grow as well. An associate degree can offer a particularly good return on investment (ROI), since the cost of obtaining the degree is significantly less than a bachelor's degree, and the job opportunities can be plentiful.  While we've compared whether state universities or community college graduates earn higher salaries, consider these statistics concerning the ROI on various associate degrees to determine whether community college might be the next logical step in your career plans.
 
The Cost of an Associate Degree

Degree Central cites 2010 statistics from the College Board that show the average annual tuition cost for a community college is $2,544. Most can be earned in two years or less, although some students might take longer if they are juggling professional and family responsibilities along with their studies. For most students, a degree from a community college can be earned for less than $9,000.

By the same token, the 2009 annual average tuition cost at a public four-year school for residents was just over $7,000, while the rate for non-residents was more than $18,500. Private schools ran approximately $26,000 per year.  These rates translate to a significant amount of debt for most students once they graduate, while community college students often graduate with little or no debt. 
 
This video explores answers to the question "Do associate degrees matter?"
 
. . .read more

10 Famous Community College Graduates

Updated
|
10 Famous Community College Graduates
From Walt Disney to Sarah Palin, many household names are community college alumni. Be inspired by this list of 10 famous community college grads!
Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0
Not everyone who makes headlines today came from an Ivy League institution; in fact, some did not attend a four-year university at all. Those who did often got their start in the humble beginnings of their local community college – a school that may be highly underrated for its ability to churn out graduates poised to make a real difference in the world. Take a look at these 10 famous community college graduates to see how two-year schools can provide the foundation for a bright future.
 
Ross Perot
This two-time presidential candidate ran on the independent ticket in 1992 and 1996. A successful businessman in his own right, Business Insider reports that Perot worked for IBM before leaving the company to start his own business, Electronic Data Systems, in 1984. After Perot sold that company to General Motors for $2.4 billion, Perot started a second company, Perot Systems, Inc. That business was acquired by Dell in 2009 for $3.9 billion.
Before beginning his long and illustrious business career, Perot began his quest into higher education at Texarkana Community College. After taking classes at his local community college, Perot transferred to the Naval Academy, where he graduated in 1953.
 
Tom Hanks
This Oscar-award winning actor, known for his stellar performances in flicks like “Forrest Gump” and “Saving Private Ryan,” reportedly couldn’t land roles in theatre productions during his college years. According to the Huffington Post, Hanks first attended Chabot College in Hayward, California, for two years, before transferring to California
. . .read more

Recent Articles

10 High-Demand Two-Year Degrees You Can Earn Online
10 High-Demand Two-Year Degrees You Can Earn Online
We look at some of the hottest two-year degree programs today that can be earned right from the comfort of home.
Value of an Associates vs. Bachelors Degree
Value of an Associates vs. Bachelors Degree
Compare the true value of earning your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, and learn about which one will be worth your time and investment.
Spotlight: Rio Salado College Innovation Shines on Student Success
Spotlight: Rio Salado College Innovation Shines on Student Success
In Arizona, the Rio Salado College bucks the national trend, boosting graduation rates and student success stories through innovative assistance for its community college students.

Why Community College

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.
What to Expect Your First Semester of Community College
What to Expect Your First Semester of Community College
Why Student Enrollment Rises as the Economy Falls
Why Student Enrollment Rises as the Economy Falls
Can Community Colleges Reject You Based on Age?
Can Community Colleges Reject You Based on Age?