Community College Students at a Glance

One-third of community college students who enrolled directly from high school in 2004 had no intention of going beyond earning an associate degree, but within two years 47 percent of this group raised their expectation to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

That finding comes from a special community college supplement to the federally mandated “The Condition of Education 2008” report, which uses National Center for Education Statistics data to examine the characteristics of community college students, rates of persistence and educational attainment.

In 2006-07, there were 1,045 community colleges serving 6.2 million students, or 35 percent of all college students. These school have larger percentages of nontraditional, low-income and minority students than four-year institutions.

High school seniors who enrolled in community colleges in 2004 came with differing levels of academic achievement, although this group was more well prepared than the 1992 senior cohort. About two-thirds intended to earn a bachelor’s or higher. Some 28 percent of them intended to use a two-year as a stepping stone, while 39 percent were there after revising original plans to attend four-year institutions.

The percentage of students who said they were bachelor’s bound but left without completing a degree or certificate program was higher among community college students than their counterparts enrolled at four-year schools.

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