Community college

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Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California LBCC LAC Bldg A.jpg
Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California
Los Angeles City College campus in East Hollywood, California, c. in 1922 UCLA-vermontcampus-1922.jpg
Los Angeles City College campus in East Hollywood, California, c. in 1922

A community college is a type of undergraduate higher education institution, generally leading to an associate degree, certificate, or diploma. The term can have different meanings in different countries: many community colleges have an "open enrollment" for students who have graduated from high school (also known as senior secondary school or upper secondary school). The term usually refers to a higher educational institution that provides workforce education and college transfer academic programs. Some institutions maintain athletic teams and dormitories similar to their university counterparts.



In Australia, the term "community college" refers to small private businesses running short (e.g. six weeks) courses generally of a self-improvement or hobbyist nature. Equivalent to the American notion of community colleges are Technical and Further Education colleges or TAFEs; these are institutions regulated mostly at state and territory level. There are also an increasing number of private providers colloquially called "colleges".

TAFEs and other providers carry on the tradition of adult education, which was established in Australia around the mid-19th century, when evening classes were held to help adults enhance their numeracy and literacy skills. [1] Most Australian universities can also be traced back to such forerunners, although obtaining a university charter has always changed their nature. In TAFEs and colleges today, courses are designed for personal development of an individual or for employment outcomes. Educational programs cover a variety of topics such as arts, languages, business and lifestyle. They usually are scheduled to run two, three or four days of the week, depending on the level of the course undertaken. A Certificate I may only run for 4 hours twice a week for a term of 9 weeks. A full-time Diploma course might have classes 4 days per week for a year (36 weeks). Some courses may be offered in the evenings or weekends to accommodate people working full-time. Funding for colleges may come from government grants and course fees. Many are not-for-profit organisations. Such TAFES are located in metropolitan, regional and rural locations of Australia.

Education offered by TAFEs and colleges has changed over the years. By the 1980s, many colleges had recognised a community need for computer training. Since then thousands of people have increased skills through IT courses. The majority of colleges by the late 20th century had also become Registered Training Organisations. They offer individuals a nurturing, non-traditional education venue to gain skills that better prepare them for the workplace and potential job openings. [2] TAFEs and colleges have not traditionally offered bachelor's degrees, instead providing pathway arrangements with universities to continue towards degrees. The American innovation of the associate degree is being developed at some institutions. Certificate courses I to IV, diplomas and advanced diplomas are typically offered, the latter deemed equivalent to an undergraduate qualification, albeit typically in more vocational areas. Recently, some TAFE institutes (and private providers) have also become higher education providers in their own right and are now starting to offer bachelor's degree programs.


In Canada, colleges are adult educational institutions that provide higher education and tertiary education, and grant certificates and diplomas. Alternatively, Canadian colleges are often called "institutes" or "polytechnic institutes". As well, in Ontario, the 24 colleges of applied arts and technology have been mandated to offer their own stand-alone degrees as well as to offer joint degrees with universities through "articulation agreements" that often result in students emerging with both a diploma and a degree. Thus, for example, the University of Guelph "twins" with Humber College and York University does the same with Seneca College. More recently, however, colleges have been offering a variety of their own degrees, often in business, technology, science, and other technical fields. Each province has its own educational system, as prescribed by the Canadian federalism model of governance. In the mid-1960s and early 1970s, most Canadian colleges began to provide practical education and training for the emerging and booming generation, and for immigrants from around the world who were entering Canada in increasing numbers at that time. A formative trend was the merging of the then separate vocational training and adult education (night school) institutions.

Canadian colleges are either publicly funded or private post-secondary institutions (run for profit).

In terms of academic pathways, Canadian colleges and universities collaborate with each other with the purpose of providing college students the opportunity to academically upgrade their education. Students can transfer their diplomas and earn transfer credits through their completed college credits towards undergraduate university degrees.

The term associate degree is used in western Canada to refer to a two-year college arts or science degree, similar to how the term is used in the United States. In other parts of Canada, the term advanced degree is used to indicate a three- or four-year college program.

In Quebec, three years is the norm for a university degree because a year of credit is earned in the CÉGEP (college) system. Even when speaking in English, people often refer to all colleges as [3] Cégeps; however, the term is an acronym more correctly applied specifically to the French-language public system: Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP); in English: College of General and Vocational Education. The word "college" can also refer to a private high school in Quebec.

Canadian community college systems


In India, 98 community colleges are recognized by the University Grants Commission. The courses offered by these colleges are diplomas, advance diplomas and certificate courses. The duration of these courses usually ranges from six months to two years. [6]


A community college in Johor, Malaysia Pasir Gudang Community College.JPG
A community college in Johor, Malaysia

Community colleges in Malaysia are a network of educational institutions whereby vocational and technical skills training could be provided at all levels for school leavers before they entered the workforce. The community colleges also provide an infrastructure for rural communities to gain skills training through short courses as well as providing access to a post-secondary education.

At the moment, most community colleges award qualifications up to Level 3 in the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (Certificate 3) in both the Skills sector (Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia or the Malaysian Skills Certificate) as well as the Vocational and Training sector but the number of community colleges that are starting to award Level 4 qualifications (Diploma) are increasing. This is two levels below a bachelor's degree (Level 6 in the MQF) and students within the system who intend to further their studies to that level will usually seek entry into Advanced Diploma programs in public universities, polytechnics or accredited private providers.


In the Philippines, a community school functions as elementary or secondary school at daytime and towards the end of the day convert into a community college. This type of institution offers night classes under the supervision of the same principal, and the same faculty members who are given part-time college teaching load. [7]

The concept of community college dates back to the time of the former Minister of Education, Culture and Sports (MECS) that had under its wings the Bureaus of Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Higher Education and Vocational-Technical Education. MECS Secretary, Cecilio Putong, who in 1971 wrote that a community school is a school established in the community, by the community, and for the community itself. Pedro T. Orata of Pangasinan shared the same idea, hence the establishment of a community college, now called the City College of Urdaneta. [7]

A community college like the one in Abuyog, Leyte can operate with only a PHP 124,000 annual budget in a two-story structure housing more than 700 students. [7]

United Kingdom

Except for Scotland, this term is rarely used in the United Kingdom. When it is, a community college is a school which not only provides education for the school-age population (11–18) of the locality, but also additional services and education to adults and other members of the community. [8] This education includes but is not limited to sports, adult literacy and lifestyle education. Usually when students finish their secondary school studies at age 16, they move on to a sixth form college where they study for their A-levels (although some secondary schools have integrated sixth forms). After the two-year A-level period, they may proceed to a college of further education or a university. The former is also known as a technical college.

United States

Joliet Junior College main campus, in Joliet, Illinois, established in 1901 as the first community college in the U.S. Joliet Junior College Sign.JPG
Joliet Junior College main campus, in Joliet, Illinois, established in 1901 as the first community college in the U.S.
Fullerton College in Fullerton, California has been in continuous operation since 1913, making it the nation's longest-operating community college 6304-FullertonJrCollege-1.jpg
Fullerton College in Fullerton, California has been in continuous operation since 1913, making it the nation's longest-operating community college
Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York Monroe Community College Brighton Campus Main.jpg
Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York
Collin College in Plano, Texas CollinCollegeSC1.jpg
Collin College in Plano, Texas

In the United States, community colleges, sometimes called junior colleges, technical colleges, two-year colleges, or city colleges, are primarily public institutions providing tertiary education, also known as continuing education, that focuses on certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. After graduating from a community college, some students transfer to a liberal arts college or university for two to three years to complete a bachelor's degree.

Before the 1970s, community colleges in the United States were more commonly referred to as junior colleges. That term is still used at some institutions. Public community colleges primarily attract and accept students from the local community and are usually supported by local tax revenue. They usually work with local and regional businesses to ensure students are being prepared for the local workforce.


Some research organizations and publications focus upon the activities of community college, junior college, and technical college institutions. [9] Many of these institutions and organizations present the most current research and practical outcomes at annual community college conferences.

Several peer-reviewed journals extensively publish research on community colleges:

See also

In Australia
In the Philippines
In the UK

Related Research Articles

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A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of one. A college may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, a part of a collegiate or federal university, an institution offering vocational education, a further education institution, or a secondary school.

Technical and further education or simply TAFE is the common name in English-speaking countries in Oceania for vocational education, as a subset of tertiary education. TAFE institutions provide a wide range of predominantly vocational courses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tertiary education</span> Advanced level of education, usually for adults

Tertiary education, also referred to as third-level, third-stage or post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as trade schools and colleges. Higher education is taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, while vocational education beyond secondary education is known as further education in the United Kingdom, or included under the category of continuing education in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vocational education</span> Studies that prepares a person for a specific occupation

Vocational education is education that prepares people for a skilled craft as an artisan, trade as a tradesperson, or work as a technician. Vocational education can also be seen as that type of education given to an individual to prepare that individual to be gainfully employed or self employed with requisite skill. Vocational education is known by a variety of names, depending on the country concerned, including career and technical education, or acronyms such as TVET and TAFE.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Student</span> Learner, or someone who attends an educational institution

A student is a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">CEGEP</span> Publicly funded colleges in Quebec

A CEGEP is a publicly funded college providing technical, academic, vocational or a mix of programs; they are exclusive to the province of Quebec's education system. A loanword from French, it originates from the French acronym for collège d'enseignement général et professionnel, sometimes known in English as a "General and Vocational College"—it is now considered a word in itself.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Education in Canada</span>

Education in Canada is for the most part provided publicly, funded and overseen by federal, provincial, and local governments. Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province. Education in Canada is generally divided into primary education, followed by secondary education and post-secondary. Education in both English and French is available in most places across Canada. Canada has a large number of universities, almost all of which are publicly funded. Established in 1663, Université Laval is the oldest post-secondary institution in Canada. The largest university is the University of Toronto with over 85,000 students. Four universities are regularly ranked among the top 100 world-wide, namely University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, and McMaster University, with a total of 18 universities ranked in the top 500 worldwide.

A Bachelor of Education is an undergraduate academic degree which prepares students for work as a teacher in schools. A Bachelor of Education program typically lasts three to four years and combines both coursework and practical experience in educational settings. The curriculum is designed to provide foundational knowledge in pedagogy, educational psychology, teaching methodologies, and subject-specific training. Graduates of this program are equipped with the skills necessary to foster a supportive and effective learning environment for their students.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vocational school</span> Higher-level learning institution providing education needed for specific occupations

A vocational school, trade school, or technical school is a type of educational institution, which, depending on the country, may refer to either secondary or post-secondary education designed to provide vocational education or technical skills required to complete the tasks of a particular and specific job. In the case of secondary education, these schools differ from academic high schools which usually prepare students who aim to pursue tertiary education, rather than enter directly into the workforce. With regard to post-secondary education, vocational schools are traditionally distinguished from four-year colleges by their focus on job-specific training to students who are typically bound for one of the skilled trades, rather than providing academic training for students pursuing careers in a professional discipline. While many schools have largely adhered to this convention, the purely vocational focus of other trade schools began to shift in the 1990s "toward a broader preparation that develops the academic" as well as the technical skills of their students.

An institute of technology is an institution of tertiary education that specializes in engineering, technology, applied science, and natural sciences.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Australian Qualifications Framework</span> Educational standards organization

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) specifies the standards for educational qualifications in Australia. It is administered nationally by the Australian Government's Department of Industry, with oversight from the States and Territories, through the Standing Council of Tertiary Education Skills and Employment. While the AQF specifies the standards, education and training organisations are authorised by accrediting authorities to issue a qualification.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Universal College of Learning</span> Technical school in Palmerston North, New Zealand

The Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is a New Zealand Government ITP with campuses located in Palmerston North, Whanganui, Masterton and Levin. Jasmine Groves is the institute's current Operational Lead.

TAFE NSW is an Australian vocational education and training provider. Annually, the network trains over 500,000 students in campus, workplace, online, or distance education methods of education. It was established as an independent statutory body under the TAFE Commission Act 1990. The Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business is responsible for TAFE NSW.

The Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is a vocational education provider with five campuses located in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. CIT is the largest Technical and Further Education (TAFE) provider in the Australian Capital Territory. Qualifications offered by CIT range from certificate to degree level. CIT has campuses across Canberra, located in Bruce, Reid, and Fyshwick. CIT also has two learning centres in Tuggeranong Town Centre and Gungahlin, which are primarily for students studying via flexible or distance learning. CIT provides a wide range of education and training courses that focus on practical skills and formal, technical qualifications.

Melbourne Polytechnic, formerly NMIT, is an institute of higher education and vocational education (TAFE) located in Melbourne, Australia that has been operating since around 1910.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Education in Victoria</span> Overview of the education in Victoria, Australia

Education in Victoria, Australia is supervised by the Department of Education and Training (DET), which is part of the State Government and whose role is to "provide policy and planning advice for the delivery of education". It acts as advisor to two state ministers, that for Education and for Children and Early Childhood Development.

The Malaysian Qualifications Framework or the MQF is a unified system of post secondary qualifications offered on a national basis in Malaysia. It is administered by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), a statutory body under the purview of the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">College (Canada)</span> Type of tertiary school in Canada

In Canadian English, the term college usually refers to a career college, technical, trades, community college, college of applied arts or applied technology, or an applied science school. These are post-secondary institutions granting apprenticeships, citations, certificates, diplomas, and associate's degrees.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Seven Generations Education Institute</span>

Seven Generations Education Institute is an Aboriginal-owned and controlled post-secondary institution, co-founded by the ten bands in the Rainy Lake Tribal area in 1985. The ten bands are: Big Grassy, Big Island, Couchiching, Lac La Croix, Naicatchewenin, Nigigoonsiminikaaning, Ojibways of Onigaming, Rainy River, Seine River and Mitaanjigamiing. Each of the bands appointed one member to the board of directors of Seven Generations Education Institute, which functions with the leadership of the Executive Director.


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Further reading