Moving Into Town - and Moving On: The Community College in the Lives of Traditional-age Students

Michael Connolly

Clifford Adelman, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education
February 2005

In the last decade, the percentage of community college students under the age of 22 has risen from 32 percent to 42 percent, a reflection of the record number of high school graduates not ready for four-year colleges. A new study from the Department of Education seeks to profile this growing group and how they differ from older community college students. Those over 24 are likelier to think of themselves as employees instead of students, more apt to have children of their own (more than half do), and far less likely to transfer to a four-year institution. The study argues for greater cooperation between community colleges and secondary schools in preparing students for higher education. As a whole, 44 percent of those who start community colleges did not reach Algebra II in high school, whereas only 11 percent of those at four-year colleges did not. Latinos are actually underrepresented at community colleges, so Adelman urges community colleges to be "particularly innovative in outreach programs for this population." You can find it on the web at http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/comcollege/index.html.