Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

pp 1-4

Date: Latest Version

Community Colleges and the Massification of Higher Education

  • Eboni M. Zamani-GallaherAffiliated withDepartment of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois Email author 

The prototype of community colleges in the United States can readily be found across the globe. US community colleges have come to symbolize increasing access, broadening opportunity, and diversified pathways for youth and adults seeking postsecondary education. The US model of 2 years of college post-high school that is affordable and combines liberal, occupational/vocational, career and technical education via an open-door concept is far-reaching with many countries utilizing community colleges as a tier in their educational hierarchies (Brint and Karabel 1989; Raby and Valeau 2009). Given the historical segmentation of opportunity to postsecondary education, arguably, the massification of US higher education can be credited to the American community college.

The community college is a unique American invention with an emphasis on open access to higher education that made these institutions known as the People’s Colleges with the image of democracy’s doors (Beach 2012; Kelsay and Oude ...

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