The California Community College (CCC) system offers something for everyone and there are many reasons why students decide to attend a community college. The more than two and a half million CCC students run the gamut from high school and home school students to retirees. Community college students enroll for a wide variety of reasons: to complete their first two years at the community college and then transfer to a four-year university or college; to earn an associate’s degree or a vocational certificate; to improve their language capabilities or enhance their employability by updating their job skills; or to simply learn something new: a new hobby, a new language, Shakespeare, jazz dance, quilting or ceramics.
There is no “typical” community college student – more than half are under 24 years old, but another 11% are over 50. Statewide, the diverse enrollment consists of 37% Caucasian, 29% Hispanic, 12% Asian, and 7% African-American. Fifty-six percent are female. More than 120,000 certificates and diplomas were awarded to CCC students in 2005-2006.
Community college classes are convenient and designed to fit the student’s busy life style – classes are available days, nights, weekends, in a variety of locales and online. Community college students have jobs, families and other demands on their time. Taking community college classes is a great way to achieve that sought-after education while still taking care of all those other obligations.
Attendance at a community college is a low-cost, local option where community college students can take the same courses taught by highly qualified faculty that they would take the first two years at a university— for thousands of dollars less— while they live at home or close to home. CCC students use labs and libraries of the same caliber as those available at the four-year institutions. Studies done by the University of California and the California State University systems have found that community college transfer students perform at least as well in junior and senior year courses and graduate at the same rate as those who begin their studies at the universities. With 109 CCCs, there is a community college close to virtually everyone!
Financial aid is available for students attending community colleges, just as it is for students at four-year universities. More than 50% of the students attending the colleges of the Ventura County Community College District are receiving some form of financial assistance, and even more probably qualify but have not applied. The Financial Aid Office can help alleviate concerns about the cost of attending college by informing students about the scholarships, the Ventura College Promise program, work study and all the other forms of financial aid available.
Many students enroll in CCC classes to receive hands-on, cutting edge training. California community college programs prepare students to be competitive in today’s demanding workforce and they enable California industry to be competitive in the global economy.