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:

Fact or Fiction: Do Community Colleges Actually Offer a Quality Education?

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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 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 effectively educate students
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Dual-Enrollment Presents Financial Drain for Florida Community Colleges

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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 for 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 these
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Class Rationing Coming to California? Some Say Yes

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Class Rationing Coming to California? Some Say Yes
In light of the huge budget cuts facing California community colleges, class rationing is now on the table as one option to help schools stay in the black. Is it right, fair or even practical? We’ll explore the issue.
It’s no secret that California’s community college system is working under a squeaky tight budget this year, in light of the state’s decision to pull even more college funding from their budget. However, the question remains as to how to educate a record number of Californians with less money to go around? The solutions have not been easy and some have been downright unpalatable, including one choice on the table to ration classes for students most likely to succeed. Still, the idea has some merit with many inside the system, and it may be the precise direction California community colleges are forced to head into during the next academic year.
 
Forced to Turn Students Away

California community colleges are supposed to be an affordable way for state residents to get a higher education, whether they are recent high school graduates or professionals looking to make a career change. Currently, the system boasts around 2.6 million students from all demographics, coming to campuses to find the education and training they need to create a better life for themselves and their families. Community colleges have long been touted as a way to break the poverty cycle, allowing first-generation college students to find good jobs and income once their college education is completed.

However, the simple law of supply and demand has forced many schools across the state to make difficult decisions about who gets to pursue that education and who must wait in the wings. According to a report
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Baby Boomers Heading Back to Community College

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Baby Boomers Heading Back to Community College
Learn about the increasing number of baby boomers who are becoming community college students and what schools are doing to accommodate them.
The typical community college student has never been particularly traditional, but in recent years, demographics on community college campuses have become even more diverse. One student profile that has seen a significant increase at two-year schools across the country is the baby boomer looking for additional career training or self-improvement opportunities. As schools have seen more over-50 students hit their campuses, many have made adjustments to make those students feel more at home.
 
The Rise in Baby Boomers
 

USA Today reports that according to the American Association of Community Colleges, 388,000 students over the age of 50 were enrolled in community colleges in 2009. The number indicates a 6-percent increase from 2007 and a 12-percent rise from 2005. Currently, people in this age demographic make up around five to six percent of the total community college population across the country.

There are many reasons why baby boomers are hitting the books later in life today. Many are looking for career advancement or changes, and require additional training to get where they want to go. Some have been laid off of jobs they held for the majority of their adult life and need training and a new direction to make themselves marketable once again. Still others are simply attracted to the process of learning – and the chance to better themselves by learning something new. No matter what the reason might be for heading back to school, it can be an intimidating step to venture onto a college
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Is Enrollment Dropping on Community College Campuses?

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Is Enrollment Dropping on Community College Campuses?
A new study released by the American Association of Community Colleges and the National Student Clearinghouse show that enrollment explosions at community colleges nationwide may be leveling off or even dropping.
Enrollment has been growing by exponential numbers at many community colleges across the country, as an economic slowdown and high unemployment rates have sent many adults back to school in search of training. Then in 2020, the COVID pandemic turned the education scene at every level upside down. Community colleges nationwide experience significant drops in enrollment. Most colleges switched from in-person classes to online classes. 

Stabilizing Enrollment Still Features High Numbers

While community college enrollment may be stabilizing, the number of students in community college today versus four years ago is still much higher.
 
“It’s not that enrollment is down,” Kent Phillipe, senior research associate for the American Association of Community Colleges told Inside Higher Ed. “It has essentially stopped growing.”
 
Phillipe explained that community college enrollments have “stabilized at a high number,” indicating that although growth may be slowing, there are still record numbers of students at community college campuses across the nation. In some ways, the stabilization may ease the strain on community colleges that have been struggling to find ways to accommodate more students every year. The job has been particularly challenging in light of the many state budget cuts that have resulted in less state funding to the very schools that are trying to ramp up their programs to meet the increasing enrollment needs.
 
“When rising enrollments maxed out their classrooms and swamped their registration systems, community colleges had to be creative and find solutions,” Walter G. Bumphus, president, and CEO of the American Association of Community
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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?