THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE MOVEMENT.
One of the most significant trends in higher education has been the growing proportion of students attending community colleges. The number of two-year colleges, mostly community colleges, more than doubled between 1960 and 1980 (from 521 to 1,274). They offer low-cost higher education ill or near the students’ hO communities, Many take two year courses preparing for technical or semiprofessional careers of many kinds-dental t”technician, practical nurse, computer programmer, legal secretary, and many more. Others take an inexpensive two years at a community college and transfer to a four-year college to complete a degree. People already . in an occupation enroll in one or more courses to upgrade their skills. Functionalists see community colleges as a practical response to society’s need for more trained workers and to students’ need for inexpensive higher education. Some conflict . scholars see the community college as a device to preserve inequality by diverting less ado vantaged youth into a dead end; to “cool’ •them out” so they settle for low-level careers and never compete for admission· to professional schools [Alba and Lavin; 1981]. Thus, whether the community college is a mobility Iadd~r or a mobility barrier ca~ be argued.