COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROGRAMS
By Judith Roy, NWSA Past President
WOMEN’S AND GENDER STUDIES COURSES are part of the curriculum at community colleges all over the country, from schools with large programs offering certificates or associate in arts (AA) majors to colleges offering only a few courses. As of January, community colleges educated 46 percent of all U.S. undergraduates, and within that population the number of students seeking women’s studies courses continues to rise.
There is a natural affinity between women’s studies and significant numbers of community college students. Sixty percent of the students are women, and the average age of all community college students is 29. Of the “nontraditional” (commonly defined as older or part-time) women students, many are parents, first-generation college students, place-bound and employed part time or full time. They have made a significant change in their lives by deciding to start or return to college. Further, U.S. community colleges are increasingly diverse, with 35 percent of those enrolled being students of color and 8 percent international students (with many urban campuses exceeding these percentages).
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