Community College Research Center

The Community College Research Center studies community colleges because they have the potential to dramatically improve educational equity and social mobility in the United States. Community colleges are for everyone, at any time of life: high school students exploring their interests and getting a head start on a degree; college students seeking the most affordable route to a bachelor’s degree; career-changers looking to acquire new skills; lifelong learners exploring interests and making new connections. Community colleges make it their mission to open up opportunities for students from traditionally underserved groups—including racially minoritized, low-income, immigrant, and first-generation students. But while community colleges play an essential role in higher education and workforce development, they operate with far fewer resources than their four-year counterparts, and completion rates for their degree-seeking students tend to be lower.

We believe that all students can succeed in the right environment and with the right supports. To that end, CCRC partners with community colleges across the country to investigate the roots of educational inequity and identify promising approaches to institutional improvement. Our goal is to provide every college leader, educator, and policymaker with the evidence they need to make decisions that promote student success. By conducting high-quality research, we aim to help community colleges enrich the lives of every student who passes through their doors, and in doing so, to promote a more just higher education system and a more just society. As we execute on this goal, we do so in collaboration with the Higher Ed Equity Network members.

CCRC is an independent research organization based at Teachers College, Columbia University, and is funded entirely by grants from foundations, government agencies, and other organizations. We lead two research partnerships funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education: the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness, which studies developmental education reform, and the Postsecondary Teaching with Technology Collaborative, which studies how college and university instructors can effectively use technology to help faculty support students to improve their self-directed learning skills in online courses.

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