Community Colleges: Multiple Missions, Diverse Student Bodies, and a Range of Policy Solutions

The United States is home to a vast network of community colleges, each with its own mission, diverse student bodies, and different policies to support student success. As postsecondary educational attainment and career readiness become increasingly important national priorities, state, local and federal policymakers are exploring strategies to increase enrollment, retention and success in community college.

This report from the Urban Institute and the American Association of Community Colleges examines the broad range of community colleges in the U.S., looking at differences in student demographics, state and local financing, tuition, and state strategies to reduce student barriers to successful enrollment and completion. The report also provides examples from community colleges that link guided pathways to Career Clusters® and include counseling supports along the way.