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.
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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
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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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Jobs for the Future Announces New Initiative to Transform Adult Education
Learn about the latest initiative from Jobs for the Future, Accelerating Opportunity, a Breaking Through Initiative, which is designed to ensure more workers in this country have the skills they need to land good jobs. It is a four-year, multi-state initiative that promises to change the way community colleges look at adult education.
Millions of adults in this country do not have the training and education necessary to land good jobs with sufficient pay to support their families. At the same time, businesses are unable to find the skilled workers they need to fill their positions and improve their productivity. To provide a solution to both of these national economic issues, Jobs for the Future (JFF) has announced the launch of their latest program, Accelerating Opportunity: A Breaking Through Initiative, which will provide resources to community colleges nationwide to transform the current adult education system. The changes implemented by this initiative will ensure more adults get the necessary training to move into high-paying jobs and provide the skilled workforce companies need to compete in the global marketplace.

In Want of a Workforce

According to a report at CBS Atlanta, over 26 million adults in this country lack a high school diploma today. A small portion of this number enroll in adult education classes, hoping to get the education necessary to move ahead in today’s workforce. Unfortunately, many of the students that enroll in adult education programs drop out after just a semester or two, without getting their postsecondary credentials to get the better jobs they were originally hoping for. Accelerating Opportunity is designed to change the scenario by reinventing the way adult education is delivered and providing the necessary support to help students succeed.
“The number of adults without skills and credentials beyond high school is a national crisis threatening our economic recovery,” JFF President
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Special Challenges and Support for First-Generation Community College Students
Many community college students are the first in their family to attend college, and this designation comes with its own share of responsibilities and challenges. Learn about the support available specifically for first-generation community college students.
First-generation college students face a myriad of challenges when they are the first in their family to head off to the ivied halls of higher education. While that first trip to a college campus can be an exciting one, it can also be filled with anxiety and uncertainty. These college students don't have anyone in their families to offer support and first-hand advice on how to succeed in post-secondary education.  However, these first-generation students are often much more successful in their academic endeavors when colleges understand and meet their needs during their first few weeks on campus and beyond. This article takes a look at some of the challenges first-generation community college students face and what schools can do to make the transition a little easier.

What is a First-Generation Student?

First-generation community college students are the first in their immediate family to attend postsecondary school after high school, according to a report at ERIC Digests. This means that neither of the student's parents has attended college. Those whose parents have an associate degree would not be considered first-generation college students, even if the parent never went on to earn a bachelor's degree. Many first-generation community college students decide to earn a two-year degree before transferring to a four-year institution. However, only a small percentage of community college students actually achieve their transfer goals.

Many first-generation students come to community colleges from different backgrounds and cultures. According to a report from the American Association of Community Colleges, approximately
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LGBT Studies Major: A First for Community Colleges
If you are interested in majoring in LGBT Studies, one community college is pioneering a LGBT program that will hopefully spark a growth in these programs on other campuses.
Community college students interested in LGBT studies, whether to obtain an associate degree or transfer to a four-year university, often found slim pickings in this area at most colleges across the country. Schools that did offer courses in the subject often did so as part of their women's or English studies. However, one community college in San Francisco wants to be on the cutting edge of a whole new trend – by offering a major in LGBT studies that would be the first at any community college in the United States.
City College of San Francisco is no stranger to firsts. According to a report in the Bay Area Reporter, this community college was the first to offer individual LGBT courses as far back as 1972. In 1989, the school established its own gay and lesbian studies department, the first of its kind in the United States. When Ardel Thomas, Ph.D., was brought on as chair of the department in 2006, one of her first orders of business was to begin the work involved with creating a LGBT major at City College.
"One reason we didn't put the major forward before is that up until recently there were no other programs you could actually go to," Thomas told the Reporter, citing the scarcity of LGBT major or minor studies at four-year universities. "Now, however, LGBT studies and queer studies are recognized internationally as a field of academia."
Many colleges and universities are now offering
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Student Populations