AACC made available the 2017 Fact Sheet last week. The numbers fluctuate every year, but three things stood out when comparing the latest data to the data on the 2016 Fact Sheet.
Community college students are getting younger. About half of community college students (51 percent) are 21 years old or younger. About 40 percent are age 22-39, and 10 percent are over the age of 40. The 2016 Fact Sheet shows that only 37 percent of two-year college students are 21 or younger and that nearly half of all students are age 22-39.
Serving fewer undergraduates. The nation’s community colleges served a smaller portion of all U.S. undergraduates in fall 2015 than in previous years. Fall 2014 data showed that community colleges enrolled 45 percent of undergraduates. The data come from an annual IPEDS Enrollment Survey. While still diverse, community colleges also served a slightly smaller percentage of Native American, Hispanic, Black and Asian/Pacific Islander students.
What remains the same is nearly as telling. More than a third of students still rely on Pell grants. Tuition and state funding are still the biggest revenue sources for community colleges. And the average annual tuition and fees have only gone up by about $90 in the past year – from $3,430 for the 2015-2016 academic year to $3,520. (For four-year public colleges and universities, the cost increased for that same time period by about $240.) Also, there hasn’t been a boom in colleges building on-campus housing. The latest Fact Sheet shows that 27 percent of public community college colleges, compared to 26 percent on the 2016 Fact Sheet.
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