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Characteristics of Community College Students

Community colleges serve a diverse mix of students with dramatically varying goals and levels of academic preparation. Some are returning from the workforce to learn new skills. Many are rst-generation college students who have never been to a college campus. Most have signicant demands on their time as they juggle personal, academic, and nancial challenges.

Colleges focused on helping more students succeed acknowledge these challenges but do not use them as justication for low levels of student success. Instead, they use the data to understand students’ needs, connect with students where they are in their lives, and purposefully create relationships that help students stay in college and succeed.

Key Demographics, Enrollment, and Attendance

Most community college students are enrolled part-time. Many students, even full-time students, work nearly full-time. Thus, many community college students take classes at night and online.

Most students are part-time


Many full-time students work close to full-time


Part-time students


Full-time students who work more than 30 hours per week

Source: IPEDS, fall 2007.

More than half (54%) of community college students work 20 or more hours per week, while more than one-third (36%) work more than 30 hours per week. Additionall , more than one in five full-time students work more than 30 hours per week.

Source: 2009 CCSSE Cohort data.

Many students take evening classes

Many students take classes online


Students who take evening classes


Students who have taken an online class

Source: 2009 CCSSE Cohort data.

Source: Data from American Association of Community Colleges and Allen, I.E. & Seaman, J. Staying the Course: Online Education in the United States, 2008. Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium. Analysis by CCSSE.

For more information about CCSSE and the 2009 surve , visit www.ccsse.org.

“I will use tuto ing as soon as I can get time to go up there. It s just a matter of getting time. I take care of not on y my two-and-a-half-year-old son but my parents as wel ; they are both handicapped.”

  • Female student

After the class is ove , or after the work is done, just the interaction with all the different people, all the different cultures coming together in one place … [a]fter the business is handled, then it s just fun, so I m confident I ll finish and stay.”

  • Male student

2009 Findings


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