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Definition and Important Fact about Community College in USA

Last modified about 1 month ago by . Posted in School News |

Definition and Important Fact about Community College in USA.

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Definition and Important Fact about Community College in USA

A community college is a type of educational college. The term can have dissimilar meanings in different countries: most community colleges have an “open enrollment” with a high school completion, but usually refer to an educational foundation that provides workforce education and college transfer academic programs.

In this article, we are going to discuss more on community college in the USA and its important fact.


Community college occasionally called a junior college is a two-year school that offers reasonably priced higher education as a pathway to a four-year degree. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, there are about 1,167 community colleges in the United States. Completing a 2-year degree at a community college is called an associate’s degree.

The benefits of attending a community college is that students can save money by attending a community college for two years and then transfer to a 4-year university where they will complete their degree. The average cost of attending public community college is $2,713 per year.

By comparison, the average cost of attending a public four-year college or university is $7,605 per year.

In addition to saving money, many community colleges offer certificates and degrees in specialized career-oriented fields, such as engineering technology, automobile mechanics, or paralegal studies, that allows students to enter the workforce quicker than they would at a 4-year university.

Many community colleges are now offering select bachelor’s degrees in addition to associate’s degrees. Because of this many community colleges have changed their names removing ‘community’ and calling themselves a ‘college’ due to offering a 4-year degree program. For example, Bellevue Community College is now Bellevue College and Seattle Central Community College is now Seattle Central College.

The Community College Mission

Contemporary deliberations regarding the mission, role, and function of the community college rely on historical notions of the evolution of the college. If one chooses to emphasize the vocational education stream, one may reach the conclusion that community colleges are post-high school, but not higher education.

If one examines the success of students who otherwise would not have attended college, then one may conclude that community colleges track students into certain social strata or advance their station in society.

Examining the adult education and community services function leads one to conclude that the institutions’ roots are to be found there. In short, a comprehensive community college incorporates an eclectic set of educational philosophies and purposes into its mission.


Community College Facts

1. Number of Institutions

  • Across the United States, there are 1,462 community colleges. Of these, 1,047 are public institutions and 415 private.
  • In 2000-01 the states with the largest number of public community colleges were California, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, and New York.

2. Admissions

In 1999-2000, 62% of public community colleges had an open admissions policy, compared to 7.5% of public 4-year colleges.

3. Enrollment

  • In the fall of 1999, 47% of all students enrolled in public institutions were enrolled at community colleges.
  • The total 1999 fall enrollment at both public and private community colleges was slightly over 5,590,000 students.

4. Of the almost 5.6 million students enrolled 2.3 million were men and 3.2 million were women.

5. Persistence

  • Fifteen percent of students enrolled in school with the purpose of attaining an associate degree in 1995 attained their goal by 1998, while 6% had earned a certificate and others were still enrolled in school.
  • Twenty-three percent of those beginning community college in 1989-90 transferred to a 4-year institution. Of those who transferred to a 4-year institution, 38% completed an associate degree before transferring.

6. The higher a student’s socioeconomic status (SES), the more likely that student transferred to a 4-year institution: 35%of high SES students transferred, compared to 21% of middle SES and 7% of low SES students.

7. Degrees Earned

  • In the 1999-00 school year, the number of Associate Degrees conferred at public community colleges was 411,633. Sixty-three percent of these degrees were awarded to women and 37% to men.
  •  California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois awarded the largest number of Associate Degrees accounting for 42% of all Associate Degrees awarded in the U.S. during the 1999-00 school year.
  • In 1999-00, 73% of Associate Degree recipients were White, 10.9% Black, 9.3% Hispanic, 5% Asian and Pacific Islander, and 1.2% American Indian.
  • The majority of degrees were awarded in the following fields, in this order:

– Liberal arts and sciences, general studies

– Business management and administrative services

– Health professions and related fields

– Engineering related technologies

– Computer and information sciences

8. Tuition

During the 2000-01 school year, tuition and fees at public community colleges averaged $1,416. There was an increase of $100 from the 1999-00 school year

9. Expenditures

On average, community colleges spend $7,020 per full-time student with 3.9% allocated to scholarships.

In conclusion, the community college, in all its various displays, is a truly unique component of American higher education. They provide a very flexible and adaptive form of higher education tailored to local needs.

NG Team.


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