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State Postsecondary Finance Policies and Community College Students: Do Larger Expenditures Promote Degree Attainment?

By James Benson


Wisconsin-Madison. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent views of the granting agencies. A substantial portion of students in the United States enter postsecondary education 1 through a community college. 1 Thirty-eight percent of all freshmen enrolled in community colleges in 2004 (NCES 2005). In 2003, 37 percent of postsecondary students overall—and 48 percent of postsecondary students enrolled in public institutions—attended community colleges. For minority and low-SES students, reliance upon the community college is even more prevalent. In 2004, 43 percent of minority college students enrolled in community colleges, as compared to 34 percent of white students. A majority of Hispanic students enter postsecondary education through community colleges and 51 percent of all Hispanic college students attended public community colleges in 2004 (NCES 2005). More low-income African American and Hispanic students attend a single community college—Bronx Community College—than attend all Ivy League institutions (Bailey and Jacobs 2009). Rates of credit and degree attainment are so low at community colleges that many students are not recouping their investments. While attainment rates differ depending on the tim

Year: 2011
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