From Degrees to Dollars

March 30, 2023
U.S. community colleges—which disproportionately serve students from low-income backgrounds—provide higher education to millions of students each year. They are accessible, and much less expensive than four-year colleges or private two-year colleges. At the same time, community colleges struggle with low graduation rates. Among first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students entering public two-year schools, only 29 percent graduate within…

Mapping Community College Finance Systems to Develop Equitable and Effective Finance Policy

March 28, 2023
With declining enrollment, pressing state workforce needs, tightening state budgets, and persistent equity gaps in student outcomes, the stakes for community colleges have never been higher. Too many community colleges aren’t reaching their potential to improve lives and local economies, and the way they are funded is a big part of the problem.

Investment in the Future

Feb. 20, 2023
Steps taken to address racial inequality in the private sector and higher education are not always altruistic. This brief examines the economic impact of having a representative workforce, focusing on the state of North Carolina (NC). We discuss the importance of successful education programming designed to address issues related to Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and people…

How Can Community Colleges Afford to Offer Dual Enrollment College Courses to High School Students at a Discount?

Feb. 6, 2023
As dual enrollment students come to comprise a larger share of community college enrollments—can colleges afford to continue offering these courses at a discount? A new report from the Community College Research Center examines how community colleges can structure their programs to be more efficient and financially sustainable. The authors present three case studies of…

Listening to Learn

Feb. 3, 2023
Community colleges are a gateway to postsecondary degrees for many students, including those from low-income backgrounds and marginalized populations. Yet once students enter community college, many are faced with a host of complex administrative processes that can make it difficult to succeed. The pandemic exacerbated these and other barriers, as students were deciding whether they…

‘What Works’ for Community College Students?

June 3, 2022
In the fall of 2020, community colleges served nearly five million students. This represents 29 percent of U.S. undergraduates. Although community colleges are providing these students with access to postsecondary education, the colleges’ graduation rates remain low. Among first-time, full-time students seeking degrees or certificates whose first postsecondary school is a two-year, public institution, only…