Community Colleges

Community Colleges

The first step after high school for many is an affordable community college.

Community colleges enroll 41 percent of all U.S. undergraduates, but too many people are unfamiliar with these locally rooted workforce training and education organizations and what they offer. While colleges and universities featuring bachelor’s programs have been engaged in a brand positioning race for years, community colleges have not had the resources to launch sophisticated brand-building or marketing efforts that make vital campus-to-community connections.

Lumina Foundation believes community colleges are a central part of higher education and essential to ensuring that 60 percent of Americans earn credentials of value after high school, whether associate degrees, college certificates, or industry-recognized certifications. That is why we promoted brand-building and marketing efforts at America’s community colleges through The Million Dollar Community College Challenge.

Community colleges, also known as two-year colleges, provide accessible and affordable education to students who might not have the means or academic backgrounds to attend four-year colleges or universities. These institutions offer a wide range of programs and services designed to support students in achieving their educational goals. Community colleges typically have open-admissions policies, which means they accept all students with a high school diploma or equivalent. This makes them accessible to adults and students with lower GPAs or who did not take advanced coursework in high school.

Community colleges charge lower tuition than four-year colleges and universities, making them an affordable option for students who want to finish general education requirements or gain technical skills before transferring to earn bachelor’s degrees. Community colleges also offer career and technical education, including nursing, welding, computer science, and the culinary arts. These programs provide students with skills and training to enter high-demand fields. These colleges offer support services to help students succeed, such as academic advising, career counseling, income-based financial aid, and tutoring.

Community colleges disproportionately educate and train adults of color, people from low-income families, immigrants, and first-generation college students. They are poorly resourced relative to four-year colleges and universities.

More on Community Colleges

Community Colleges Far and Wide: Cape Fear Community College

Next up, we're traveling to Wilmington, NC to visit Cape Fear Community College, the fifth-largest community college in North Carolina, where education and community intersect. What can we learn from this dynamic coastal college? Come along as we meet engaging faculty and talented students and explore a variety of programs that make for an inspiring and exciting college experience.

The college brand in action

At Lumina Foundation, we understand the power of a brand. It’s something we think about daily. Are we staying true to our mission? Are we creating experiences with our grantees that are inclusive and designed for success? When people visit our website, walk through our office doors, or interact with our staff, do they have an experience that is memorable, inclusive, and representative of all that we stand for?

Community Colleges Far and Wide: Guam Community College

Next up, we're traveling to the U.S. territory of Guam to visit Guam Community College, which is steeped in history and culture, and all in on workforce programming. There’s never been a stronger sense of community in college. Guam Community College might be far from the mainland United States, but its faculty and staff are working tirelessly to improve opportunities close to home.

Inside Out: Community Colleges Far and Wide

The Million Dollar Community College Challenge team is shining a spotlight on the great work of community colleges around the country. They traveled far and wide to bring you what’s interesting and unique in the two-year space. Often featured as the open access and lower cost option in higher education, those descriptors don’t illustrate the creativity, ingenuity, and diversity of the community college experience.

Cape Fear Community College

Next up, we’re traveling to Wilmington, NC to visit Cape Fear Community College, the fifth-largest community college in North Carolina, where education and community intersect. What can we learn from this dynamic coastal college? Come along as we meet engaging faculty and talented students and explore a variety of programs that make for an inspiring and exciting college experience.

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Guam Community College

Next up, we’re traveling to the U.S. territory of Guam to visit Guam Community College, which is steeped in history and culture, and all in on workforce programming. There’s never been a stronger sense of community in college. Guam Community College might be far from the mainland United States, but its faculty and staff are working tirelessly to improve opportunities close to home.

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Yavapai College

Hands-on training and student engagement are the norm at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. Whether it involves using 3-D printing technology to revolutionize the way homes are built or offering vineyard-to-bottle education with programs in enology, leaders at Yavapai are investing in opportunities for the future.

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Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

For the first visit in the series: Inside Out: Community Colleges Far and Wide, we traveled to Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, Minnesota where art, culture, and nature intersect to create a powerful and memorable education experience.

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