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.

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Second Rate? Community Colleges Fight Stereotypes

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Second Rate? Community Colleges Fight Stereotypes
Many common myths about community colleges exist, but as they continue to diversify and offer cutting-edge programming, two-year institutions are fighting back against these long-held stereotypes.
It’s seen by some as the “easy way out.” Minimal entrance requirements, open enrollment, and a wide variety of basic and remedial courses give some people the impression that the community college experience is one that is not academically rigorous. Although there might have been some element of truth to this stigma a few decades ago, community colleges of today are on the leading edge of education, particularly for new and emerging career areas that are experiencing explosive growth. Yet, many myths about community colleges still exist.
 
Myth #1: Students Rejected from Four Year Colleges
 
Perhaps the most pervasive stereotype about students that attend community college is that they are there out of academic necessity, not out of choice. Some people assume that the more stringent entrance criteria held by four-year institutions are just too much for ‘those students’ to meet, forcing them to study instead at a local junior college. While academic necessity is a reason for some students to attend a two-year institution, the overarching reason why students choose to attend a community college is cost-effectiveness.
 
The per-year cost of a university education is roughly three times that of the per-year cost of attending a two-year school. With many 21st century careers needing only an associate’s degree and increasingly smooth transfer procedures from community colleges to universities, completing the first two years of one’s education at a two-year institution makes a lot of financial sense. The flexible nature of community college scheduling combined with the availability of scholarships and grants means
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Community Colleges: Bigger Buck Bang than For-Profits

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Community Colleges: Bigger Buck Bang than For-Profits
A recent study reveals that job applicants with a credential or associate’s degree from a community college have slightly better chances of getting a job interview than students who attend a for-profit college or university. Since community colleges are much more budget friendly than for-profit institutions and have much better job placement results, community colleges are a much better option for employment-minded students.
A recent report by the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research found that employers show little preference between a job candidate with an education from a for-profit institution such as DeVry or the University of Phoenix and one with an education from a public community college. In a study in which researchers tracked the callbacks to 9,000 fictitious job applications, 11.6 percent of employers responded to applications listing a community college education, while 11.3 percent responded to faux applications of students from for-profit colleges. Companies also requested interviews of community college students more often – 5.3 percent – compared to 4.7 percent for applications listing a for-profit college education.
 
ABC News investigates for profit schools accused of misleading prospective students about job prospects post graduation.
 
The fabricated applications were submitted with similar credentials, either an associate’s degree, certificate, or some college education, so applicants would not be called because of an imbalance of qualifications. What the study’s findings suggest is similar to what other studies on for-profit education have discovered: When it comes to applying for a job, community college students are as much, if not more attractive to employers as students from for-profit schools.
 
It is important to note that this particular research does not delve deeper into the process of hiring a new employee and only examines employers’ initial responses. Differences between a community college-educated applicant and a for-profit college applicant are not accounted for here. However, researchers at Boston University have found that
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Why More Students are Turning to Community College Today

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Why More Students are Turning to Community College Today
We look at why millions of Americans are choosing community college over a traditional four-year school today.
Community college enrollment has increased across the country in recent years, and there are many reasons for the influx of students. A sluggish economy, lower tuition rates and high quality education are just a few of those reasons. With community colleges finding a new role in educating students in America today, there are numerous compelling reasons to give these two-year schools another look.
 
Lower Rates, Less Debt
 
One of the top reasons students are considering community colleges over four-year schools today is an issue of cost. According to Yahoo Finance, the average annual cost to attend community college during the 2010-2011 school year was $8,734, which included tuition and books, room and board and living expenses. In contrast, the annual cost to attend a four-year school during the same year was $18,133. Even public institutions, which are supposed to offer a more budget-friendly option to four-year students, had an average annual cost of $13,297.
 
Tuition costs for two-year institutions hover at around $2,000-$3,000 per year. That amount is much more affordable than the tuition at four-year schools, which can run as high as $8,000 or more for public institutions and up to $50,000 or more for private schools. Students that qualify for significant scholarship money may find the four-year schools affordable, but those who don’t get any financial help may be out of luck.
 
Debt is another concern for students heading to four-year schools. Yahoo also cites the average amount of debt a student is saddled with after
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New Guidebook Helps Students Successfully Navigate Community College

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New Guidebook Helps Students Successfully Navigate Community College
A new community college guide written by Ivy Tech president Thomas Snyder provides the ins and outs of navigating the community college system.
While libraries and book vendors are teeming with information about preparing for a four-year college, there is relatively little available to help students prepare for the community college experience. Thomas J. Snyder, president of Ivy Tech Community College, hopes to fill that niche, with his new guide titled, The Community College Career Track: A Guide for High-Schoolers, Career-Changers, Parents and Advisors. Snyder uses his experiences in both the academic and corporate sectors to offer community college-bound students and their parents the help they need to navigate the community college system adeptly. The guide focuses on helping students get on the right career track, using community college as a launching pad.

A Different Path to Opportunity

Snyder believes that community college can be an effective path to a rewarding, lucrative career, additional education, or a combination of the two. Snyder told the Northwest Indiana Times that with many four-year students graduating with as much as $80,000 in debt and no job prospects, the middle class is now looking at the possibility that a four-year degree may not be the most cost-effective path right out of high school. As Snyder interviewed numerous community college students in preparation for writing his guidebook, he realized that the majority were landing good jobs right out of school, with little or no debt to worry about.
 
“Whether it is a traditional student or a displaced worker, community colleges offer an opportunity to pursue a degree or certification that leads directly to employment,” Snyder stated
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The Real Dollar Value of an Associate Degree

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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?"
 
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