• Q: Community Colleges – Not Appreciated?

    I wanted to race cars…[but]…I decided to take education more seriously and go to a community college”  

    – George Lucas

    Over one thousand public and private community colleges in the United States enroll over six million credit-seeking students.  According to the American Association of Community Colleges, of the six million students, 27 percent are Hispanic, 12 percent are Black, and 45 percent are White.  They are an essential gateway to a four-year college and higher-paying professional careers.

    Good news just out this week: community college enrollment grew 4.4% this past year and accounted for 58.9% of the increase in all undergraduates.  This cut against the declining enrollment trend of community colleges before the pandemic, when community colleges saw a 14.4% decline between 2010 and 2017.

    National public and private sector leaders and other researchers have suggested many ideas for increasing interest and support for our community colleges.   They are affordable, flexible, and in our communities.

    Why aren’t we taking better advantage of this important resource? 

    Are community colleges underappreciated?
    Illustration by Shannon Bodeau/Aragon Outlook
    1. Mary

      Community colleges should serve as a pathway to four-year colleges and universities. You should be guaranteed to transfer to a four-year school if you achieve a certain grade point average. The guarantee should include financial aid and other well-defined academic and social support for the student.

    2. Jeff

      Instead of our most competitive and prestigious universities expanding enrollment of under-served groups, they should first look to community colleges and support the best students from them, regardless of race or economic background. We should help and encourage the hardest-working students committed to improving themselves by attending local community colleges.

    3. Jennifer

      The federal government should transfer some of the billions of dollars it gives to the wealthiest universities to community colleges so they can support more financial aid for students. That money should also go towards helping improve and renovate school infrastructure and other programs. Community colleges are like the thousands of public libraries across the United States. They are part of the community and should be seen as helping communities get stronger.

    4. Filial Kid

      Community colleges can be the backbone of our higher education system. They are so crucial to so many students already. The schools provide essential skill training for good paying jobs. They also help athletes who want to go to more prominent schools. The community colleges offer essential coaching and mentorship for them. Maybe we should start by calling them by a name that is more appropriate for what it does for its students.

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