Community colleges drawing more affluent students

Comparatively affluent students are picking community colleges over four-year schools in growing numbers, a sign of changing attitudes toward an institution long identified with poorer people…

In the lengthening economic downturn, even relatively prosperous families have grown reluctant to borrow for college. Schools are finding that fewer students are willing to pay the full published price of attendance, which tops $55,000 at several private universities. More students are living at home…

For the price-conscious, community college epitomizes value. Public two-year colleges generally charge less than $5,000 a year — one-tenth the sticker price of elite private institutions. They offer most of the same general-education courses as four-year colleges, often with smaller classes taught by professors rather than graduate-student teaching assistants…

Community colleges, many with two-year honors programs, are competing with four-year schools for the accomplished high school graduate. Their top students can transfer to prestigious universities and finish their education at reduced expense.

The Washington Post; Two-year colleges draw more affluent students. By Daniel de Vise, Published: November 2.

Now, I believe I’ve talked about this before. Clearly, community colleges are the new forefront for our future.  They are the place where the youth will be meeting; whether its middle-to-higher income students forced away from expensive private schools because of the economy, or lower income students looking to further their education as best they can.  No matter what, community colleges are going through a identity crisis, and are soon-to-be far from the post-high school vocational image they’ve been given over the past several decades.  With Obama’s plans to invest heavily into the community college system, not only will the quality of teaching/ facilities will rise, but the scope of the colleges’ offerings will increase as well.  They may follow some of the same patterns of current public and private schools: community colleges may become more specialized, in that their curriculum/ funding may begin to tailor to their demographic’s interests.  They branch out into the environment that surrounds them, taking on “private” investors to help fund certain specialties/ research (they may even use local business advertising to help fund-raise for their different programs/ initiatives).

But what you won’t see?  Is a downward trend in the numbers of young students enrolling in community colleges.  I’ll bet the rest of my year’s paychecks on it.



  1. Tenisha said:

    It’s the economical route. One can receive the same general educational courses (cheaper than most institutes of higher learning) and then transfer to a better school with a higher gpa and options to better scholarships. One of the other reasons why community college is becoming the more appealing choice is because of their acceptance. To attend a four-year college one must have certain requirements. I know a person who did not obtain two languages in high school and was not applicable for a four-year college. He then applied to community college and plans to transfer to a 4-year school once he passes the requirements and betters his basketball skills to qualify for an athletic scholarship.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Beyond that, though, I think the growing recognition that a community college can still put you on the path for success (that capitalist “American Dream”) will create recognition that comm-colleges won’t simply be an discounted path for families soon. Because of number of students that this economy will bring to these schools because of their economical advantages, I think you’ll see further investment and growth of them. All of a sudden, with Obama’s GOP funding and media recognition of the capacities of a now-popular comm-college system, local comm-colleges will begin to grow: in quality, in specialization, and in size. We will see a more permanent diversification of QUALITY options for high-school seniors; the culture around higher education will be altered. Expensive private schools, even public schools possibly, will have to lower their prices in an effort to compete; they will have to find ways of cutting costs without sacrificing quality or new ideas about gathering private funding.

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