The Community College
Many predictions are made for the future of community colleges with most being positive as they relate to the rigorous, yet necessary concept of change both educationally and institutionally. “Projecting the future for the community colleges of the early twenty-first century involves projecting the future for the nation.” What changes will be required for improvement as well as survival is based on the economy, demographics, and public attitudes. The situation the economy is in plays a great part in how the community colleges are perceived and their value. With the struggling economy today and unemployment becoming prevalent, money is not going as far as it once did. More people are choosing to go back to school with the thought of earning an Associate’s degree and even going on to earn their Bachelor’s degree or completing a certificate or diploma program to learn new skills or to improve the skills that they already possess. However, community colleges must continue to improve and build a secure reputation both academically and vocationally, so to continue to gain more public acceptance for meeting the needs of all who elect to attend, not just those that are low socioeconomically or in need of remedial education, but for all who can benefit both academically and financially. The “vertical expansion” idea is an exciting and needed addition for low-achieving high school students in an effort to reduce the number of at-risk students from dropping out. Much of the vertical expansion occurs in programs enrolling high school students, including dual or joint enrollment programs and Tech-Prep. For at-risk students, to bring the college courses to them would bring about change both academically and personally, making them feel confident and competent in planning for their futures and just may serve to keep them in school, striving for a better life.