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In Praise of the Community College
(Continued from 2)

After going through the motions in high school, Alvarez thrived at Miami-Dade Community College in Miami, Florida, where he earned an associate in arts degree in history. “I was transformed by community college. The classes were interesting, the professors were great and I wanted to be there. It was truly a life altering experience for me,” said Alvarez. From Miami-Dade he went on to earn his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in history and today teaches many returning students. “I have great admiration for my students. Most of them work full-time and have families but they recognize how important getting an education is,” he said.

You may not end up as famous as Tom Hanks or in front of a classroom like Dr. Alvarez after graduating, but whatever your dream is you have the means to fulfill it. Your time and effort will pay off. Let community college start you on your way.

Community College Fast Facts
- It is often assumed that courses at a community college are easier than those at a four-year school. The reverse is often true: courses at community colleges can be more challenging.
- 44 percent of all undergraduates in the United States attend a community college.
- Women comprise 58 percent of the community college population (42 percent are men).
- The average age of a community college student is 29.
- There are 1,132 public and independent community colleges in the United States.
- Tuition at a community college averages $1,518 annually.
- The average expected lifetime earnings for a graduate with an associate's degree is over $1 million, approximately $250,000 more than a high school graduate.
- 63 percent of students attend community college part time; 37 percent full time.
- 95 percent of businesses that use them recommend community college workforce education and training programs.
Source: American Association of Community Colleges

Celebrities Who Attended Community College
Billy Crystal
Nassau Community College, New York
Clint Eastwood
Los Angeles Community College, California
Nick Nolte
Phoenix College
Tom Hanks
Chabot College, California
Joan Lunden
American River College, California
Jackie Robinson
Pasadena Community College, California
Source: American Association of Community Colleges

Locate a community collegeLocate a Community College Near You.


Caroline Reeder is a fund development officer for a public library system and writer. While she holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, she is proudest of her Associate in Arts degree from Miami-Dade Community College. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and 21 year old cat, Justin.

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