When people talk about US education, the first thing that comes to mind is the country’s top universities and big names like Stanford, University of California, Berkeley, and Ivy League Universities like Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. Most of the time, many people overlook US community colleges. In fact, according to an American Council on Education (ACE) report, in 2018, international students in US community colleges represent only around 10% of the total international enrollment in US degree-granting higher educational institutions (HEIs).
What is a Community College?
A community college is a type of institution in the United States, usually offering two-year programs to students. Originally, it was designed to provide affordable programs to prepare students to be part of the workforce and to provide accessible education to all, especially for students who are in situations that make it difficult for them to undergo a four-year degree course.
Some students, however, use community colleges as an access point to continue their education in a four-year program. Moreover, community colleges also offer non-credit programs such as English as a second language, community enrichment programs, and skills training.
Community colleges, though originally created to serve their immediate communities, have in recent years, begun serving international students too.
Why Community Colleges?
If you are thinking of studying in the US, here are the reasons why you should consider an education in a community college.
If you want to have a feel of how diverse the US really is, go to a community college.
Basically, community colleges are designed to be accessible to all people, from different walks of life, ages, and backgrounds. In fact, according to the College Board, in 2014, the enrollment of undergraduate students in two-year colleges consisted of 51% identifying as another race or ethnicity other than white, 22% Hispanics, 5% Asians, and 14% Black.
Many international students, especially the ones who want to study in the US would have to look for ways to fund their education, through scholarships, loans, grants, and savings. The most popular way to fund their education is through scholarships. Unlike big universities such as Harvard or Stanford, there is less competition for scholarships or other financial aid for international students in community colleges.
Community college tuition fees are more affordable than other bigger universities. Although it is the case, it does not mean that there’s a standard fee for all community colleges. In fact, it can still vary, depending on the location and program the student applied in.
For some students, to save money, they take their first two years in a community college and then transfer to another institution to study two more years and complete a four-year degree.
Focus of the Biden Administration for the Education Sector
The new US administration under US President Joe Biden has, since the beginning of his term, promised more financial support to community colleges. Meaning, in the coming years, students in community colleges would benefit from its better education system and increase their employability. US Community colleges will also be more equipped to provide advanced training to adjust to the changing work sectors and economic realities of people.
Many students choose to study in the US for a myriad of reasons. Check out MSM Unify’s article on reasons why the US has always been a top choice to learn more.