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Benefits of Community College

Students are becoming more open to the idea of attending community college, whether as
a pre-cursor to a full four-year course or as an entire course. The traditional four-year campus
experience is not for everyone (Belfield & Bailey 2011). Some students are unsure of what they
would like to study. Others are seeking more affordable education opportunities than the
conventional four-year college program that leaves students in debt. Community colleges offer
an appropriate substitute in such situations. A growing number of international students are also
beginning to go to community college as a stepping stone to esteemed four-year universities and
colleges in the United States. There are significant incentives to attending community college,
including financial benefits, as well as find out what kind of major one would be interested in
doing. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton promises to take on college debt and make debt-free
college education available to everyone (Clinton 2016). This essay explores the reasons why
everyone should attend community college, as well as Hillary Clinton’s presidential plan to make
tuition free in all community colleges.
The first major reason why everyone should attend community college is to save money.
College payment is a huge consideration, and the tuition for four-year colleges can get quite
expensive. Often, students of these institutions complete their education and leave with the
burden of student debt. Community college fees and tuition are just about 50% lower than those
offered at four-year universities and colleges (Raby & Valeau 2009). All American states have
subsidised community colleges financially to help keep tuition costs affordable to as many
people as possible. The fees at four-year colleges can go up to tens of thousands of dollars per
year, while most community colleges charge approximately $1,000 for in-state tuition. The cost

of attending university has been increasing steadily over the years, and most students have to
borrow funds to support their education. However, many students are becoming aware that they
can save a lot of money by joining a community college for the first two years of their course,
before transferring to a university. Community college fees and tuition are significantly lower
than those at four-year institutions. Enrolling in community college enables one to achieve a
similar level of academic success at only a portion of the cost. Also, if Hillary Clinton becomes
president and follows through with her proposal, community colleges will not charge tuition
(Clinton 2016). Students will be able to save a lot more money.
For international students, community colleges may waive requirements or accept lower
scores for English skill tests such as IELTS or TOEFL. These tests measure the ability of non-
native English speakers to use and understand English as it is heard, written, and spoken in
university and college settings (Mulin 2012). Community colleges may be more lenient that four-
year universities and colleges when it comes to these requirements. They provide their English
assessment exams upon arrival of students at the campus to establish the level of skill of the
English language. They also offer full-time intensive English programs at various levels to
prepare international students for academic study in the US, as well as address English language
deficiencies. Community colleges may also provide self-paced computer-assisted instruction,
study skills centres and tutoring to help students develop their language skills (Belfield & Bailey
Community colleges offer academic flexibility to students. Attending these schools can
be a welcome way for students to go into higher learning at their speed (Cohen & Brawer 2008).
This benefit is especially practical for students who had trouble in high school or others who are
not certain they want to spend huge amounts of time and money in college. For students who did

Benefits of Community College 4
not score the best grade after graduating high school, the community college offers a chance to
improve their GPA. Most community colleges, unlike four-year colleges, have an open-door
admissions policy (Raby & Valeau 2009). It means that students are accepted despite their
previous academic performance. One can improve their academic record by attending a
community college, and this helps one to meet the admissions requirements of four-year
universities. The community college also offers flexibility for students who want to work while
they attend school. Community colleges provide a more flexible schedule, including more night
classes than most universities. The workload at a community college is lighter than four-year
colleges and attendance is often not required. Approximately 60% of community college
students attend part-time classes (Mulin 2012). Therefore, any individual looking to take one or
two classes at a time will not feel left out. As a result, a community college is a suitable option
for non-traditional students such as older students and parents who would like to balance school
with career or family obligations. Additionally, some community colleges have also expanded
online options to attract more students. Some of these options include tailoring programs to suit
regional industry needs and the availability of training professors at odd hours.
Community colleges offer international students an opportunity to experience and interact
with U.S. culture (Adney 2012). These colleges are dedicated to catering to the needs of their
local communities. They offer activities and courses that meet the recreational, cultural, and
social needs of the community. Even though social and cultural activities may not be included in
the formal academic program of the college, such initiatives enhance community and education
life. Examples of these activities are concerts, health fairs, sporting events, community forums,
art exhibits, theatrical productions, concerts, and many other courses and events that enrich
student lives and those of local citizens. International students, therefore, benefit from a rich

Benefits of Community College 5
academic environment, as well as being exposed to a unique opportunity to experience the
various elements of culture and life in the United States (Adney 2012).
Community college class sizes average between 25 and 30 students. It provides a greater
opportunity for students to interact with each other and professors. Small classes are particularly
useful for international students, or any other students, to adjust to the pace of academic life, as
well as polish their English language skills (Doherty 2000). Four-year universities, on the other
hand, have classes that average about 300 to 400 students. The small classes at community
colleges provide an atmosphere in which students can ask questions quickly and speak to their
classmates and instructors. It not only makes it easier to grasp concepts but also foster
meaningful relationships. Students can also find one-on- one time and more personal attention
with professors (Cohen & Brawer 2008). It can be a benefit for students who enjoy learning at
their pace, and ask many questions as they proceed.
Numerous additional benefits stand to be gained from attending a community college.
Community colleges have established ties with industries and businesses. Consequently, they are
equipped with modern facilities, classrooms and technologies. Community colleges are leading
in growing fields such as computer technologies, robotics, geographic information systems, laser
optics, Internet, biotechnology, and biomedical engineering (Roueche & Jones 2005).
Community colleges also offer hundreds of programs in all the key fields of study from which
students can select. These courses range from zoology to political science to art. Popular
programs at community colleges include Internet technology, accounting, environmental
conservation, hotel management, restaurant management, accounting, psychology, early
childhood education, computer science, general studies, engineering, computer graphics, and
business. Community colleges also offer excellent student support services to ensure that all

Benefits of Community College 6
students attain their academic goals. They provide several cross-cultural programs and support
services, such as career planning, counselling, and advising and, career planning. Community
colleges attended by international students usually have an international office, as well as
specially trained staff to give advice on several topics that are significant to international students
(Doherty 2000).
However, there are those who argue that, if possible, one should avoid community
college because of its cons. They cite, for example, the limited curriculum of community
colleges (Raby & Valeau 2009). A typical community college course runs for two years. Anyone
planning on obtaining a four-year course may have to transfer to another university. Even though
a student can transfer credits, the adjustment may interfere with academic progress. The
workload at community colleges is notably lighter than at private colleges or state universities.
At times, there is very little course work apart from major exams. Nonetheless, an individual can
commit themselves to getting the most out of their college experience. The biggest deterrent for
community colleges has to be uninvolved students. Many students at these colleges have little
academic interest or plans outside of what they gain at the community college level and transfer
this mentality to their studies. It leads to tension in the classroom, especially with accomplished
professors who are not used to handling complacent students (Cohen & Brawer 2008). Class
discussions are also carried out mainly by the teacher and one or two open-minded students.
Lastly, campus life is not an essential part of the community college atmosphere. Even though
there are clubs and organisations, community college students tend to focus more on work and
classes. Few students participate in co-curricular activities because of their busy schedules or
because many of them live at home. Community college may not be the solution for students
looking for a lively social scene.

Benefits of Community College 7
Regardless of these cons, community college remains to be a significant option,
especially for students looking to save money. Community colleges are much cheaper than four-
year universities and colleges. There is hope for complete elimination of community college
tuition if Hillary Clinton is elected, which makes community college a desirable option for all
(Clinton 2016). Community college provides flexible schedules regarding class times and other
important factors. Families with children benefit greatly from these establishments. Thanks to the
subsidised cost and flexible schedule, parents can attend school while raising a family at the
same time. Everyone who cannot afford to go to a four-year university college immediately
should consider joining a community college. Credits can be transferred from a junior college to
four-year universities (Belfield & Bailey 2011). Therefore, a student can save money in the first
two years of their education. Community colleges provide a variety of courses and enable a
student to establish the major they want to pursue at their pace. It goes to show that attending
community college is a positive step towards the achievement of academic goals.

Benefits of Community College 8


Adney, I 2012, Community college success: You are not alone : how to finish with friends,
scholarships, internships, and the career of your dreams, NorLights Press, Bedford, IN.
Belfield, C R & Bailey, T 2011, The Benefits of Attending Community College: A Review of
the Evidence, Community College Review, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 46-68.
Cohen, A M & Brawer, F B 2008, The American community college, Jossey-Bass, San
Francisco, CA.
Clinton, H 2016 Making college debt-free and taking on student debt, viewed on 1 Nov 2016
Doherty, P B 2000, Success Factors Among Community College Students in an Online Learning
Environment, Universal-Publishers, New York.
Mullin, C M 2012, Data use in the community college, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
Raby, R L & Valeau, E J 2009, Community college models: Globalization and higher education
reform, Springer, Dordrecht.
Roueche, J E & Jones, B R 2005, The entrepreneurial community college, Community College
Press, Washington, D.C.


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