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The Role of the Community College

Role of the Community College small

What role do community colleges play in the postsecondary landscape? CCRC studies the history and mission of community colleges, their commitment to access and equity, and the opportunities and challenges they face, including growing competition from for-profit colleges.


Community colleges serve multiple missions—from workforce training, to remediating students in preparation for higher education, to community enrichment. How have these institutions evolved and adapted to fulfill these missions, and what challenges do they face moving into the future?

For-profit colleges have proliferated over the past decade. How well do they prepare students for the future, and how does their presence affect community colleges? (For more research on for-profit colleges, visit CCRC-led research center CAPSEE.)

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Featured Publication

Defending the Community College Equity Agenda

In this book, CCRC researchers analyze how colleges have tried to improve their performance with respect to low-income students, students of color, and nontraditional students.

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