Functions, Organization, and Contemporary Challenges of the American Community College

  • Arthur M. CohenEmail author
  • Carrie B. Kisker
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


In the United States, the community colleges are the primary vehicle for ensuring access to higher education for all students, including those not yet prepared for college-level work, those hoping to transfer to a university, and those seeking training for an occupation. This chapter provides an overview of the primary functions, organization, and contemporary challenges of the American Community College. It begins by describing the students who attend these institutions, as well as the faculty who teach in them. It then provides an overview of the organization and management of community colleges, the provision of student support services, and the major issues involving finances and financing. The chapter turns then to the major curricular functions, discussing in turn how US Community Colleges engage in liberal arts and transfer education, occupational training, developmental education, and community and lifelong learning. Finally, the chapter presents a discussion of the current climate of accountability and describes the ways in which US community colleges track and report student progress and outcomes. Within each of these sections, the authors note the major challenges community colleges face, as well as possible directions for the future.


American community college Curricular functions Organization and management Faculty Finances Student progress and outcomes assessment Student support services Tuition and fees 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCLALos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Community CollegesLos AngelesUSA

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