This is part 2 of a short series of postings about the role of community colleges in our education system. The first is here.
Community colleges serve a key role in our education system. Without them, students graduating from high school may have only one of two routes to go: Directly into the workforce/military, or off to a 4 year college, and once that choice is made, it can be difficult to change it. There are many high school graduates for which neither of those paths is the best choice – or they want the ability to be flexible. That’s where community colleges can play an important role.
Community colleges can offer:
- The ability to learn a trade or skill which is valued in the marketplace, often paired with a 2 year associates degree.
- The ability to get an extremely cost competitive post secondary education.
- The ability in Colorado, and other states, to complete many of the first two years of credits for a 4 year college degree at a greatly reduced cost with guaranteed transfer of credits to a 4 year college (assuming the student is accepted at a 4 year college).
- The ability “go back” to college later in life and reinvent yourself by learning a new skill or trade.
Here are some interesting facts about community colleges in Colorado:
- The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the largest higher education system in the state – with over 163,000 students.
- The CCCS is comprised of 13 colleges and 35 campuses across the state.
- Over 90% of first responders and 50% of nurses in Colorado were trained in the CCCS.
- Community Colleges are open access – They admit anyone who is ready for college and has the desire to go.
- Almost 10% of students in the CCCS will transfer to either a public or private 4 year college in pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree (or more).
- Community Colleges provide over 20,000 students concurrent enrollment opportunities while in high school.
- Community Colleges educate 48% of all minority undergraduate college students.
- The two year graduation rate for CCCS students is 5th in the nation when compared with all other states.
The web site for the Colorado Community College System is: https://www.cccs.edu.
I hope this has given you a quick overview of the role of Community Colleges in our education system. Future parts of this series will focus on specific offerings and guaranteed transfer of credits to 4 year colleges.