Essay Example on History of Community Colleges

Published: 2022-12-20
Essay Example on History of Community Colleges
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  College Education United States American history
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 884 words
8 min read

In the United States of America, development of Community Colleges dates back in the year 1862 as a result of the Land Grant Act. The Act proposed increased access to public institutions of higher education. The effect of expanded access to public higher education is the inclusion of the majority of individuals, who had formally denied admission, into colleges and universities. Moreover, there was a second Act which worked to reinforce the expansion of access into institutions of higher education. That is the second Morrill Act of 1890 which ensured public funds are not provided to those institutions of higher learning which withheld inclusion of students who did not meet specific social criteria, for instance, a particular race considered minority hence could not be registered. In the year 1901, saw the development of the first community college in the United States of America. William Harper is considered to be one of the individuals who pushed for the development of that community college. The American Association of Junior Colleges (AAJC) was founded in the year 1920, which in the current time is known as the American Association of Community Colleges mandated to organize the American Community Colleges nationally. The community colleges in the United States of America continued to have an enriched heritage due to its diversity. These community institutions continue to facilitate the diverse population of American nationals to acquire various skills in contemporary society. Hence, through the development of Community colleges in America, her developmental dream is fostered and improved (Brint & Karabel, 1989).

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Enrollment into community colleges in the United States is open to anyone who has a high school diploma. However, the completion of high school education is not a requirement as the target individual can obtain admission based on their ability to show they will benefit from the community college; for instance, Minnesota and California. Hence, in those states, the target population for the Community college inclusion is any person who has attained 18 years and above, who demonstrates the ability to benefit from college teachings (Roueche, Baker & Rose, 2014). Moreover, the target population for community colleges is dropouts from high school and other lower levels of education. The learners in Community colleges comprise of high school teenagers under the policy ensuring dual enrollment to learning institutions, to working individuals undertaking part-time training for them to gain additional skills. Moreover, graduate students are also targeted so that they increase their employability chances throughout their lifetime. Also, individuals enrolled in universities can undergo inter-institution transfers, and get entered in community colleges of their choice to complete their education.

In the early years of the creation of community colleges, the growth of the institutions was slow throughout the 20th century. In the year 1910, the junior colleges were three; the year 1914 the number increased to 14 public colleges and 32 private ones. Various factors are influencing the growth of Community colleges. According to Cohen (1996), the significant forces behind the development of these colleges was the demand for trained workers who will operate the increased national industries. Moreover, the physiological growth and development of the American population is a factor, such that the adolescent stage is prolonged in the United States. The American society therefore perceived schools to be beneficial in the community development, hence increased colleges contributed to the growth of their society. The increased development of community colleges brought a sense of pride in the community which enhances cultural development in the United States. Moreover, the growth of colleges is attributed to religion as various church denominations began to create community colleges which are affiliated to them. The peak of enrollment in the Community Colleges was during the Great Depression, whereby teenage adults were unable to secure decent employment opportunities as a result of increased high school graduates across the United States. Between the year 1929 and 1939 enrollment into the colleges tripled to 150,000 students. There is a continued surge into the American Community Colleges enrollment which is now focused on specialized training in diverse disciplines. There is a continued increase in the number of colleges as currently there are about 1100 community colleges in the United States which admit approximately 10 million students annually. The continued enrollment into community colleges is due to their open policy for anyone interested, the ease in accessing the institutions, and their primary focus of teaching diverse learners (American Association of Community Colleges, 2019).

Since the creation of the first community college, the first two years was not recognized as university-level education. For instance, in the year 1896, University of Missouri president believed a student in freshman and sophomore years are identical, and the teaching style is similar (Levinson, 2005). Moreover, the force behind the creation of the first community college, Harper, was of the same idea. Thus, the first two years in the community colleges are considered an extension of the high school. There is an organizational separation in the community colleges, whereby, the institution has two categories which include the senior and junior colleges.


American Association of Community Colleges. (2019). Home Page - AACC. Retrieved from

Brint, S., & Karabel, J. (1989). The diverted dream. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cohen, A., & Brawer, F. (1996). The American community college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Levinson, D. (2005). Community colleges. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.

Roueche, J., Baker, G., & Rose, R. (2014). Shared Vision. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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