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Reach Roundup: Community Colleges

Note: The following is the weekly Reach Roundup newsletter from August 30, 2018.

Reach: Community Colleges

In the 2014–2015 school year, an estimated 735,000 students were enrolled across the 58 community colleges in North Carolina, with more than 35,000 faculty and staff employed. For comparison, the UNC system reports having just over 221,000 graduate and undergraduate students in 2014. Based on the number of campuses, the North Carolina Community College system is the 3rd largest in the nation.

This week, the EducationNC team is visiting all 58 community colleges across the state. This blitz is an opportunity for us and for you to get to know them better — from where they are to who they serve to their leaders and the role they play in the community and economic development across our state. Follow along on Twitter @Awake58NC and sign up for our new weekly newsletter on postsecondary education.

Our next question of the week is about minimum wage. Click here to weigh in!

What you told us about community colleges:

Five Facts:

1 in 9 citizens
An estimated 735,000 students enrolled at one of the 58 N.C. community colleges during the 2014-2015 school year. This accounts for 1 in 9 N.C. citizens ages 18 and older.

40% of wage earners
40% of wage earners attended a N.C. Community College in the past 10 years.

$2.30 to the dollar
Students receive $2.30 in higher future income for every $1 they spend on education at a community college.

11.8% of two-year students
N.C. community colleges account for 11.8% of U.S. students in public two-year colleges.

91 years of two-year colleges
Buncombe Junior College was the 1st two-year college to open its door in N.C. Another public junior college didn’t open until 1947. It offered free vocational classes and college transfer courses.

Our Picks:

Community colleges are the ‘workforce engines’ of our state | EducationNC – 8/27/2018
In 1964, Herring said, “We must take the people where they are and carry them as far as they can go.” This ideal became the foundation of our community college system’s open door philosophy, a philosophy that presents an opportunity in the 21st century’s “world economy where increasingly what you earn is based on what you learn.”

Keep Reading

Tens of thousands of adults line up for free college in Tennessee | Inside Higher Ed – 8/24/2018
In the weeks after Tennessee started accepting applications for its tuition-free program for adult students last February, Kim Bare and her family began having discussions about going to college.

Keep Reading

Question of the Week:


Travel Notes:

This week, our team is visiting 54 of the 58 community colleges in North Carolina. By mid-September, we will have visited all 58 of them. 

For more details about our travels, follow along on our website at, on Twitter at @Awake58NC, on Facebook at Awake 58, and on Instagram at @Awake58.

EdNC’s Alex Granados holds a snake during his tour of Davidson Community College on Tuesday.
Reach NC Voices Team

The Reach NC Voices team includes Nation Hahn, director of growth for EdNC; Molly Osborne, director of policy; Analisa Sorrells, chief of staff and associate director of policy; and Alli Lindenberg, engagement specialist.