11 Reasons Why The Next Education Secretary Should Come From a Community College


Reading the IHE piece on 11/11 Speculation Over Biden’s Education Secretary, and giving thought to the priorities of ED under Biden, has led me to conclude the following: the next Education Secretary should come from a community college.

Here are 11 reasons why:

#1.  A plurality of all undergraduates (44 percent) are enrolled in community colleges.  

#2.  Nearly 10 million students were enrolled in public two-year community colleges in 2018-2019.

#3.  Of the approximately 4,300 accredited colleges and universities in the US, about a quarter (1,050) are community colleges. 

#4.  Of the approximately $62 billion dollars spent annually to run community colleges, 33 percent of funds come from states, 27 percent from tuition, 20 percent from local jurisdictions, 11 percent from the federal government, and the rest of other sources.  

#5.  Almost half (49 percent) of all students who have obtained an undergraduate degree in the past ten years were enrolled at some point in a community college.  

#6.  In some states, community college graduates represent the majority of all bachelor recipients. In Texas, that percentage is 75 percent.  

#7.  29 percent of community college students are first-generation, 15 percent are single parents, and 5 percent are veterans. 

#8.  For families with incomes of below $30,000 a year, over half (55 percent) of dependent students will start college at a community college.

#9.  Among new college students, about 3-in-10 White and Asian students, 4-in-10 Black students, and nearly 5-in-10 LatinX students will first start at a community college.  

#10.  Family income data for all community college students show that 37 percent come from families earning <$20,000 a year, 30 percent from families earning between $20,000 and $49,999 a year, and 33 percent from families earning more than $50,000 per year.

#11.  Matt Reed is a Vice President for Academic Affairs at a community college. 

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