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.


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 […]

Racism talk leads to reprimand

By Joanne Jacobs

A discussion of structural racism led to a reprimand for Shannon Gibney, who teaches Intro to Mass Communications at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Three white male students complained they were singled out by Gibney, reports City Pages. An English professor, Gibney also teaches African Diaspora Studies in a new associate degree program. About a […]

Community colleges join the fundraising game

By Jon Marcus

A carefully curated guest list of 400 will be spending an evening during the winter holidays this year enjoying the lush scenery and good cheer of the private Seven Oaks Country Club in far western Pennsylvania. As the wine flows, these guests will dine on glazed leg of lamb, mushroom caps with crabmeat, and bacon-wrapped […]

Massachusetts boards performance funding train

With the announcement that Massachusetts community colleges will be funded based on graduation rates and other measures, Hechinger’s Jon Marcus spoke about this national trend on public-radio station WBUR’s Radio Boston program. The state joins dozens of others in which public higher education competes for dwindling state funding based on outcomes, not just enrollment. Some […]

New figures suggest community college grad rates higher than thought

By Jon Marcus

Community college administrators have long complained that their very, very low graduation rates unfairly fail to take into account students who transfer and continue on to earn degrees somewhere else. Now there are new figures backing them up. Of the estimated one in four students who start at community colleges and then move on to […]

Are community colleges truly preparing the future American workforce?

By Norman Augustine and Marc Tucker

America’s community colleges are viewed by many—ourselves included—as a not-so-secret weapon in the nation’s competitiveness arsenal. They are the key to a good life for many of our nation’s youth and to the ability of America to remain competitive in the emerging global economy. So we were very surprised at the findings of a new […]

More California colleges contract with debit-card firm criticized for fees

By Erica Perez

California Watch Nearly half of the state’s community colleges and a handful of other higher-education institutions now disburse financial aid on debit cards through contracts with Higher One, a financial firm that has come under increasing scrutiny for its multiple fees and aggressive marketing tactics, as well as out of concerns for students’ privacy. At […]

New approach to calculating college graduation rates, while flawed, is a major step forward

By Thomas Bailey

The U.S. Department of Education released an action plan last week to improve how we measure the success of postsecondary students and institutions. The plan is sure to be met with enthusiasm by community-college leaders across the country. The plan makes recommendations on how to better evaluate and report on community-college performance, many of which […]




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.