Community colleges need to evolve as students’ needs do
As Charles Dickens wrote in A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The same can be said of the public perception of community colleges, which swing from the darling of policymakers to the spurned stepchild of higher education. Historically, funding for these institutions has lagged behind other institutions of higher education. This is despite the fact that, of students who completed a four-year college degree in 2015–2016, almost half had enrolled in a community college in the past 10 years, taking courses as a dual-enrolled high school student, a four-year-college student during summer break, or a transfer student. Community colleges typically see upticks in enrollment during recessions and drops in enrollment during times of recovery, which makes leadership’s job all the more challenging.