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:
Updated   May 30, 2017 |
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 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. 
 
Projected Earnings for Associate Degree Earners
 
The projected earnings with
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Updated   May 19, 2017 |
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!
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia Commons
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
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Updated   May 19, 2017 |
Fact or Fiction: Do Community Colleges Actually Offer a Quality Education?
Community colleges have traditionally had a bad reputation for their quality of education, but new tides may finally be usurping the poor reputation and rumors.
Community colleges have traditionally received a bad reputation for the quality of education they provide, but is that reputation really well founded? While not all community colleges are created equal to be sure, many are working hard to provide a high quality education to their students, with a wealth of degree options in fields looking for skilled workers.  To ensure the education at community college remains top-rated, benchmarks are being put into place to hold schools accountable for their performance and help students make the best choice in schools for their specific needs.
 

The Spotlight on Community Colleges

Community colleges have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, thanks to the Obama administration. When President Obama announced his lofty goal to significantly increase the number of college graduates in this country by 2020, he raised community colleges up as an important tool in meeting his goal – an action that community colleges have both lauded and feared. As more people turn to community colleges as a way to achieve a higher education, focus on these schools also involves evaluating the quality of education received.

Today, it is not enough for community colleges to boast they are the institutions that put students first. They must go beyond their history of innovative curriculum and teaching strategies to accurately measure how well those strategies actually work. Even without sufficient budgets or tools to meet the requirements of their students, these schools are now on the hot seat to find ways to
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Updated   May 18, 2017 |
Are Four-Year Degrees at Michigan Community Colleges Constitutional?
We examine the debate currently brewing in the Michigan legislature over whether to allow Michigan community colleges to offer four-year degrees. Are these degrees constitutional?
College students in Michigan hoping for another option in four-year degrees will have to wait a little longer. A bill to allow community colleges in Michigan to offer a handful of bachelor’s degrees has stalled out for the moment, while legislators determine the constitutionality of the proposal. Despite the recent roadblock, many Michigan lawmakers and educators are optimistic they will soon have an affordable option to offer students who are hindered by cost and location of four-year universities and colleges throughout the state.
 

Providing More Choices

According to an article at Central Michigan Life, a bill that would allow community colleges to offer select four-year degree programs passed through the State House last June. The bill then went to the Senate’s Committee on Education for review, where it is currently under discussion. The bill would allow for a handful of career-oriented degree programs to be offered at community colleges statewide, including programs in energy production, concrete technology, maritime technology, culinary arts and nursing.

“Some of the degrees are not offered by any of the universities in the state,” Matt Miller, public relations director for Mid Michigan Community College, told Central Michigan Life. “Some of the community colleges do offer associate degrees in a couple of these areas, but in order to get their bachelor’s, they have to go someplace else, so it would be helpful to our students to have this option.”
 
Most of the areas of study included on this list are already offered
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Updated   May 18, 2017 |
Dual-Enrollment Presents Financial Drain for Florida Community Colleges
The popularity of dual-enrollment classes at Florida community colleges has presented a financial challenge as students grab the opportunity to take courses tuition-free.
While community college has traditionally been a budget-friendly place to pursue higher education, some high school students have discovered they can take that benefit a step further by taking college courses while they are still in high school. This program, referred to as dual enrollment, is especially advantageous because high school students do not have to pay tuition on classes taken during the high school years. However, community colleges in Florida have found that the popularity of dual-enrollment programs is creating a financial dilemma for the very schools that originally used the programs to encourage high-achieving high school students to pursue higher education.
 

The Benefits of Dual Enrollment

Two recent studies from the National Center for Postsecondary Research show that dual enrollment has some positive effects on college enrollment and completion. According to a report at the Council for the Study of Community Colleges website, one study found that students who took dual enrollment classes were12 percent more likely to go to college and seven percent more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than those who did not participate in dual enrollment courses. However, the positive effects were restricted to students who took classes on the college campus, instead of in their own high school classrooms.

The second study found that students who passed a college algebra placement test and participated in a dual-enrollment college algebra class were 16 percent more likely to go to college and 23 percent more likely to earn a degree. Both of
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Recent Articles
December 01, 2017
Learn about trending community college topics this week such as San Francisco's move toward free tuition at community colleges and the rise in hunger and homelessness among community college students across the country.
December 01, 2017
This summer will be wrapping up before we know of it, and your first semester at community college is rapidly approaching. Are you ready for it?
December 01, 2017
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.
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.