Why the government should invest more in community colleges


"Hopefuls for the 2020 presidential election have unveiled their higher education policy agendas, which largely focus on emphasizing debt forgiveness and free tuition as means to make postsecondary education more accessible. The attention on college affordability is indeed merited. It is a top issue for many young Americans saddled with student debt.

But in an era of economic disruption from globalization and technological change, unidimensional investments in the demand side of higher education are insufficient to address the heightening economic inequalities and changing needs of our workforce. The conversation must also include the supply side of postsecondary education: the institutions themselves. And especially, it must include community colleges.

Community colleges are vital in providing the advanced training needed to adjust to new economic realities, especially for workers who are low skilled or in career transitions. They offer both pathways to the completion of associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, as well as career opportunities for students who are not pursuing a degree. And the return on investment in community colleges is particularly high, considering the demographics of their student bodies. With an average tuition cost of just $3,400 per year, to many people, they are the most affordable option for higher education, if not the only option."

Read more via: Inside Higher Ed