Community College

A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries.

In the United States, community colleges, sometimes called junior colleges, technical colleges, or city colleges, are primarily two-year public institutions providing higher education and lower-level tertiary education, granting certificates, diplomas, and associate's degrees. Many also offer continuing and adult education

After graduating from a community college, some students transfer to a four-year liberal arts college or university for two to three years to complete a bachelor's degree.

Before the 1970s, community colleges in the United States were more commonly referred to as junior colleges, and that term is still used at some institutions. However, the term "junior college" has evolved to describe private two-year institutions, whereas the term "community college" has evolved to describe publicly funded two-year institutions. The name derives from the fact that community colleges primarily attract and accept students from the local community, and are often supported by local tax revenue.

Comprehensive community colleges
Many schools have evolved into and adapted the term comprehensive to describe their institutions. These schools typically offer six facets of education.

    Transfer education – The traditional two-year student that will then transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a BS/BA degree.
    Career education – The traditional two-year student that will graduate with an Associate Degree and directly enter the workforce.
    Developmental – Remedial education for high school graduates who are not academically ready to enroll in college-level courses.
    Continuing – Non-Credit courses offered to the community for personal development and interest.
    Industry training – Contracted training and education wherein a local company pays the college to provide specific training or courses for their employees.
    eLearning - Distance learning occurs online using one's computer and proctored exams. Pell grants and federal aid apply to eLearning also. For example, studying Spanish in an eLearning environment is possible when in another state and federal aid is applied to out-of-state tuition.

Within the transfer education category, comprehensive schools typically have articulation agreements in place that provide prearranged acceptance into specific four-year institutions. At some community colleges, the partnering four-year institution teaches the third and fourth year courses at the community college location and thereby allows a student to obtain a four year degree without having to physically move to the four-year school.

There are a number of institutions and organizations which provide community college research to inform practice and policy.

For background on U.S. community college libraries, see "Disposed to Consolidation and Innovation: Criteria for the Community College Specialization."

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