Academic Commons


Community College in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities

Bailey, Thomas R.

Community colleges account for a surprisingly large share of American higher education. Nearly one half of all postsecondary undergraduates in fall 1997 were enrolled in community colleges, and over the span of any given year, more for-credit undergraduate students enroll in community colleges than in baccalaureate-granting institutions. After several decades of growth, community colleges face a particularly challenging environment. Changes in pedagogic and production technology, state funding policy, the expectations of students, parents, and policymakers, demographic trends, and the growth of new types of educational institutions are threatening established patterns of community college activities and altering the role of the colleges within the wider landscape of higher education. This book chapter discusses challenges of community colleges, trends leading to enrollment growth, and the controversy over mission expansion; and offers suggestions for policy reform.


  • thumnail for community-colleges-21st-century-challenges.pdf community-colleges-21st-century-challenges.pdf application/doc 47.6 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
CCRC Brief, 15
Published Here
April 3, 2014