community college, public institution of higher education. Community colleges are characterized by a two-year curriculum that leads to either the associate degree or transfer to a four-year college. The transfer program parallels the first two years of a four-year college. The degree program generally prepares students for direct entrance into an occupation. Because of their low tuition, local setting, and relatively easy entrance requirements, community colleges have been a major force in the post–World War II expansion of educational opportunities in the United States. They are also referred to as junior colleges.
See E. J. Gleazer, Jr., This is the Community College (1968); C. R. Monroe, Profile of the Community College (1972).