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 18, 2017 |
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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Updated   May 18, 2017 |
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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Updated   October 20, 2017 |
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. While attendance increased from 2007 to 2010 at many schools nationwide, that trend does seem to be ending in the current academic year. According to a recent report released by the American Association of Community Colleges, enrollment at community colleges experienced a slight decline in 2011, indicating the fast-paced growth may be coming to an end.

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
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Updated   May 18, 2017 |
President Obama met with community college leaders recently, and we’ll analyze what they discussed and what Washington can do to help make community colleges less expensive and more productive.
When President Obama took office in 2009, he adopted the ambitious goal of raising college graduation rates in America to 60 percent, which translates to five million additional college graduates by the year 2020. Achieving this lofty goal has already proven to be easier said than done, as the cost of education continues to increase across the country. This month, the President called a meeting with college officials, who were invited to the White House to discuss with the President how to make college less expensive and more productive. The task is far from small, as there are many issues that must be addressed before Washington will see an improvement to the current state of the community college system.
 

The Latest Meeting

According to a report at Inside Higher Ed, the latest meeting between President Obama and college leaders was unusual on three counts. First, the meeting was called rather last minute, with college officials scrambling somewhat to make it to Washington for their appointment. Second, the meeting was held behind closed doors, without journalists or others privy to the information that was shared.  Finally, the meeting was attended by the President himself, instead of a representative from the President’s staff, as is the norm with most meetings of this nature.

The Washington meeting was well-attended, with representatives from large state systems, private institutions and a community college system in attendance. The three representatives from state systems included Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York; Francisco Cigarroa,
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Updated   November 28, 2017 |
Community Colleges Leading the Pack in Digital Technology
Calling all tech-lovers! A new survey by Republic’s Center for Digital Education and Converge Online has ranked the community colleges that most effectively integrate digital technology into daily campus life.
As community colleges grapple with large student populations and fewer resources, technology has become one solution for meeting the needs of more students for less money. Schools that adeptly integrate technology into daily campus life can accommodate a wide range of student schedules, without adding more manpower to handle the job. The Center for Digital Education and Converge Online recently recognized some of the community colleges across the country that are making the best use of technology to enhance the education experience. These schools topped the list of the Digital Community Colleges Survey as some of the most technically savvy schools in the nation.
 

About the Survey

The recent survey by the Center for Digital Education and Converge Online took a number of factors into consideration as they were determining the top community colleges for technology usage, including:

  • Integration of technology into campus life and course curriculum
  • Documentation of online admissions processes
  • Sufficient technology training for both faculty members and students
  • Efficient use of Web 2.0 social functions
  • Ability to accommodate distance education
  • Ample online services for students, including tutoring and advising services
  • Ability to utilize campus security alerts through technology
With a number of factors considered, it becomes apparent that those community colleges that made the grade in this current survey find ways to integrate digital technology into every facet of daily campus life.
 
“As community college enrollments continue to increase, school leaders are incorporating new technologies to enhance student services and improve course curriculum,” Cathilea Robinett, executive vice president for the Center for Digital Education, stated
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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.