Benefits of Community Colleges

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I was reading a higher education blog this morning and came across a post on the trend of increasing enrollment at community colleges. The post highlights an article on the trend and its repercussions. You’d think that increased enrollment meant more money for community colleges, but the truth is, it does not. Community colleges depend on state funding to supplement the income received from tuition. Enrollment is increasing, but funding is not.

I’m not certain what should be done about this problem, but I know it’s been a long, ongoing struggle for community colleges. My hope is that measures will be taken to finally address the issue now that the focus is on community colleges. These institutions have always offered tremendous value and service. Hopefully, this value will now be given its due credit and measures will be taken to ensure that community colleges are able to continue to offer quality education to the many who need it.

Here are some benefits of attending community college.

Affordability

Of course, everyone knows that community college costs less. According to the Associated Press article mentioned above, the nationwide average cost per year of community college is only about $2500 compared to a cost of approximately $6500 at state public institutions. Private schools are astronomically higher, at an average cost of $25,143 dollars a year. In terms of cost, choosing community college has always made sense.

Accessibility

Not only is it more likely that most can better afford the cost of attending a two-year school, most do not have academic criteria for admission beyond having a high school diploma or G.E.D. This allows almost everyone the opportunity to pursue higher education. Community colleges offer many preparatory courses to help students get up to speed if they’re lacking certain academic skills. These classes help to ensure the success of students. Accessibilty, however, does not ensure success.

Preparation

Contrary to a misconception held by many, going to community college is not equivalent to attending the “thirteenth grade”. The coursework is not any easier at community college. Students still need to acquire good study skills and to learn time management. But at a fraction of the cost, and often with the benefit of living at home, the transition to college may be a bit smoother, and students will be better prepared for transfer to a four-year institution if they choose to do so.

Community college education is such a valuable resource. It is my sincere hope that our two-year institutions will be given their due credit and will receive assistance to continue providing the benefits that our students need.

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