Community colleges are on a mission

Kylie Lacey's picture
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When America’s first community college, Joliet Junior College in Illinois, opened its doors to six students in 1901, its mission was clear: provide the first two years of a liberal arts education to young scholars who it was hoped would transition from the Joliet Township High School to the University of Chicago.

Now, over a century later, a network of more than 1,100 community colleges, including Northern Essex Community College, which opened in 1961, serves 13 million students across the country each year. That’s about half of all the undergraduates at all of the public and private colleges and universities in all 50 states.

And our mission has expanded -- a lot.

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