Community colleges enroll nearly half of the country’s students and have never been in greater demand. They are under pressure to move students more quickly through remedial or basic-skills courses that can trap them for years and cause so much frustration that they drop out. And community colleges rely on a range of funding sources and charge tuition that is considerably less than that at other higher-education institutions.


Want higher-ed reform? You may be surprised where you’ll find it

By Jon Marcus

As a top student in high school, Amy Miramontes-Franco knew she was destined for college. But she surprised even herself when, for financial reasons and because she hadn’t yet decided on a major, she began her higher education at a local community college. “In all honesty, I had this mentality where I had worked so […]

Competency catches on at community college

By Joanne Jacobs

Competency-based education isn’t an experiment at Bellevue College near Seattle, writes Paul Bradley on Community College Week. The college’s first CBE program — a business software specialist certificate program — has proven very popular. “The students seem to love it,” said Tom Nielsen, the college’s vice president for instruction. “We are seeing that most students […]

Active learning helps first-gen students

By Joanne Jacobs

Classes that require active learning — as opposed to listening to lectures — help first-generation and black students, according to a new study, reports the New York Times. Active learning raised average test scores more than 3 percentage points, and significantly reduced the number of students who failed the exams, the study found. The score […]

They earned a degree and then …

By Joanne Jacobs

College students don’t work very hard or learn very much, concluded Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa in their 2011 book, Academically Adrift. How did those students do when they graduated and hit very tough job market? Not well at all, they write in Aspiring Adults Adrift. Arum and Roksa followed 1,000 graduates for two years. […]

Community colleges should be free

By Joanne Jacobs

Following Tennessee’s lead, several states are considering free tuition for community and technical college students. Community Colleges Should Be Free, editorializes Scientific American. Community colleges train technicians for jobs in leading-edge industries and serve as gateways to higher education for first-generation, minority and working-class students. The Tennessee Promise is showing the way. Starting next year, […]

California OKs 4-year degrees at 2-year colleges

By Joanne Jacobs

Nursing students, from left, Caroline Pantaleon, Yang Liu, Melody Saechao and Christine Crivello practice inserting an IV in Saul Jones’ nursing skills lab class at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif. The college could begin offering bachelor’s degrees in nursing. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group) ( Kristopher Skinner ) As early as next year, […]

For remedial community college students, algebra or statistics?

By Joanne Jacobs

Pass rates are very low for community college students placed in remedial math, typically a review of elementary algebra. Students are more likely to pass college-level, for-credit statistics than remedial algebra, concludes a City University of New York study. At Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), Hostos Community College (HCC), and LaGuardia Community College (LCC), […]

Almost a third of college drop outs would have been more likely to graduate had they started at a two-year college

By Jill Barshay

One of the knocks on community colleges is that many students who might have succeeded in completing a four-year college degree are unable to weather the college transfer process. They get their associate’s degree, but not their bachelor’s. Indeed, back in 2009, Bridget Terry Long and Michal Kurlaender found hard evidence that starting at a […]

How to boost college graduation rates for black and Latino males

By Sarah Carr

While black and Latino men attending community college have some of the highest educational aspirations of any racial or gender group, they are also the least likely to achieve those dreams. That’s one of several worrisome findings included in “Aspirations to Achievement: Men of Color and Community Colleges,” a new report from the Center for […]




Measuring success


Remedial classes


Adult basic education

Workforce gap

Latino students


Community College Spotlight
This Hechinger Report-funded blog is written by Joanne Jacobs. It provides a forum for discussion and debate about America’s community colleges

Center for College Affordability and Productivity
Dedicated to researching the rising costs and stagnant efficiency in higher education

College Puzzle
A college success blog by Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Community College News from Inside the Beltway
Non-profit organization of governing boards, representing more than 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges.

Confessions of a Community College Dean
A veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990's moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two.


Alliance for Excellent Education

American Association of Community Colleges

American Graduation Initiative

Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Center for Community College Student Engagement

Chronicle of Higher Education

College Board Advocacy & Policy Center

Community College Research Center

Community College Times

Community College Week

Excelencia in Education

Inside Higher Ed

Jobs for the Future

National Association of College and University Business Officers

National Center for Developmental Education

National Center for Higher Education Management Systems

National Center for Postsecondary Research

Project on Student Debt

The Institute for College Access and Success

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Community College fellowships

From 2007-10, the Hechinger Institute trained 40 reporters on the key issues facing community colleges. The reporters spent time learning from experts and visiting community colleges before returning to their news organizations to produce in-depth projects on community-college topics.