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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Half of community college students meet career goals

Sixty percent of former community college students, surveyed 10 years later, said they enrolled primarily for career or personal reasons, and half met their goals, concludes a Strada Education survey. Of the 37 percent who said they'd been seeking a two-year degree, 58 percent were successful.

Less than half said their education strongly developed their communications, problem-solving and leadership skills.


Strada surveyed people who'd attended community college in the last 10 years, reports Hechinger's Olivia Sanchez. About 29 completed an associate degree, compared to the 36 percent completion rate reported in 2018. Another 15 percent transferred. Overall, 20 percent said they'd eventually completed a bachelor's degree.


The median annual salary for survey respondents was $48,000. While a slim majority of lower earners said community college was worth the cost, that rose to 73 percent of those earning between $48,001 and $75,000, and 76 percent of those earning over $75,000. First-generation students were less likely than others to say it was worth it, and Hispanic students were less satisfied than others.


Among those working full time, 58 percent of white community college alumni, 47 percent of Latinos and 35 percent of blacks earn more than $48,000 per year.


About 29 percent of all undergraduates attend community colleges, according to spring 2023 figures from the National Student Clearinghouse. On average, they are older than four-year college students and more likely to come from lower-income, less-educated families. Nearly all are working in part- or full-time jobs.


Thomas Brock, the director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, said students need help navigating the college system, writes Sanchez. "He said community colleges are still structured like cafeterias, where there are plenty of options but little information about what each option could lead to or what pathway might lead to the most financially secure future."

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Invitado
12 sept 2023

There's a lot in that report. Noatably absent is the actual survey questions asked. This stood out to me when trying to figure out what they meant by "transfer", among the outcomes that also included "associates degree" and "certificate". They kept using the word "transfer", but it was not until the fifth occurrence that the authors clarified "transfer to a four-year institution". Is the latter what was actually asked of participants? I have taken classes at community colleges so I could apply them to another community college's certificate program. After graduating uni, my sister took community college classes so she could matriculate into graduate school. Without knowing the survey questions, I have no idea whether or not respondents would…


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Joanne Jacobs
Joanne Jacobs
12 sept 2023
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There are four-year grads who go to community college for a vocational certificate, but most certificate completers don't have a degree. The survey asked people what their goals were: 38% of those who enrolled hoping for a two-year degree reached that goal. Students are encouraged to say they're working for an academic degree to qualify for federal aid.

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Invitado
11 sept 2023

"...but little information about what each option could lead to or what pathway might lead to the most financially secure future."


Well, community colleges don't have the fraud protection that the 4-yr universities enjoy. They went after Trump University and other for-profit schools for not delivering what they promised, but the non-profit universities/colleges (public and private) market themselves as places where students learn useful skills but that tune changes as the student nears graduation and realizes all they are getting is a check off on the HR spreadsheet. But no one sues the non-profits for their misrepresentation because they are careful not to give information that could be construed as a contractual representation. And when the student doesn't ge…

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