Community colleges in the United States are higher education institutions that provide the first 2 years of a university education. Whether they are large or small, located in big cities or rural settings, community colleges have a common mission to promote and support learning and student success. Established over 100 years ago, U.S. community colleges offer affordable, convenient, and accessible higher education opportunities. The network of nearly 1,200 community colleges in all 50 states serves more than 11 million students.
In 2008–2009, more than 95,000 international students enrolled at U.S. community colleges to obtain an affordable education in a supportive and academically challenging environment. First-rate faculty, a high ratio of teacher-student dialogue and interaction, state-of-threat facilities, and smaller class sizes are only a few of the characteristics of a U.S. community college education.
Because community colleges are accredited by the same regional agencies and their academic courses meet the same standards as universities, students are able to transfer their course credits to a university degree program. The value of a community college education may best be illustrated by the many community college students who have made significant achievements in their fields and received high recognition. Community college alumni include many leaders in government, entertainment, business, and science.