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.


Articles

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 […]

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 […]

Contents

Overview

For-profits

Measuring success

Finances

Remedial classes

Transfers

Adult basic education

Workforce gap

Latino students


Blogs

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.


Resources

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.