Government Relations

About Community Colleges

Community colleges are centers of educational opportunity. They are an American invention that put publicly funded higher education at close-to-home facilities, beginning nearly 100 years ago with Joliet Junior College. Since then, they have been inclusive institutions that welcome all who desire to learn, regardless of wealth, heritage, or previous academic experience. The process of making higher education available to the maximum number of people continues to evolve at 1,173 public and independent community colleges. When the branch campuses of community colleges are included, the number totals about 1,600.

The Mission of Community Colleges

The community college's mission is the foundation from which all of its activities flow.

In simplest terms, the mission of the community college is to provide education for individuals, many of whom are adults, in its service region. Most community college missions have basic commitments to:

  • serve all segments of society through an open-access admissions policy that offers equal and fair treatment to all students
  • a comprehensive educational program
  • serve its community as a community-based institution of higher education
  • teaching
  • lifelong learning