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Explaining the role of community colleges

a building with a sign reading "community college"
A community college chancellor explains their role in the higher education system. (Photo: crisserbug / Getty Images)

Explaining the role of community colleges

A community college chancellor explains the missions and value of community colleges in California and the United States.

Community colleges educate 40 percent of all undergraduates in the United States. Deborah Budd, the chancellor of the San José-Evergreen Community College District, joined School’s In to discuss the importance of community colleges in higher education.

Listen to the full episode at the link below and find more episodes at Stanford Radio. School’s In airs weekends on SiriusXM Insight channel 121.

Interview Highlights

The Three Missions of Community Colleges

One is to help students transfer to a four-year university. The second is to help for career education, and the third is to help build foundational skills of students who need more help in their math or English.

Earning College Credit in High School

One of our goals is to ensure that when students graduate high school, they're college ready. We have strong articulation agreements with the high school faculty so that we know if they've completed a certain class in high school, they're ready to enter a college level class and even better yet, that they've received college credit. Because, we know that many students don't graduate from a four-year university in four years, and by helping with those college credits early, we can really help make that happen. And make it affordable, because when a student is in high school, they actually don't have to pay any fees for their college classes.

Making Community College the First Choice

I think for many years people thought that community college was the second choice or the last choice. And very often now, it's becoming the first choice because of the expense of a college degree, when we think that currently in the nation there's $1.48 trillion in debt and 44 million people have student loan debt. You could go to a community college and not have to pay those high fees for those first two years, and then be able to transfer. Or, you can go to a community college and get a certificate and be in a trade or go into industry and make a high wage. So, it doesn't need to be the second choice or have that stigma. That's part of what we're really trying to help people see by creating dual enrollment programs while in high school to help share the great expertise of our faculty and staff.

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