Community colleges are bursting at the seams (but not with funding)

Catherine Wigginton in The Village Voice:

Screenhunter_10_jan_12_1659In Defending the Community College Equity Agenda, researchers point out that community colleges are key in providing higher education and can serve as a bridge to the middle class for immigrants, people of color, and those in the lowest income brackets. But achieving that mission has been difficult, say the book’s authors. Although four-fifths of the students entering community colleges say that their goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, only 18 percent actually do that within eight years of their enrollment date.

That’s not only very low but very troubling, considering that nearly 50 percent of all credit-earning undergraduates in the United States are enrolled in community colleges. “I think people are often surprised at that number,” says Thomas Bailey, co-editor of the new volume and director of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. “These are institutions that aren’t on the radar.”

Besides having half of all students nationwide, community colleges enroll a disproportionate share of the country’s poorest students.

More here.