Finally, a Community College in the District

Washington, D.C. now has its first community college:

The Community College of the District of Columbia is being incubated within the University of the District of Columbia, the city’s land-grant and only public institution, and has taken over its existing associate degree, certificate and work force development programs. For the time being, it is also located on the same campus as UDC and will consist only of these existing programs. In the next year or so, however, the community college will distinguish itself from UDC further when it moves into a new facility across town and adds a variety of new academic programs.

Pressure for the city to establish a community college came to a head during the summer of 2008, after the Brookings Institution released a report identifying the need for more postsecondary educational opportunities in the city. Researchers found that nearly a third of the city’s jobs required some education beyond high school, preferably an associate degree, but also noted that many of the city’s residents do not meet this educational threshold. It further noted that UDC “struggles with the dual missions of a community college and a state university, straining its resources and hampering its effectiveness.” The only solution, the researchers suggested, was for the city to create “a freestanding community college from an incubator institution.”

It sounds like the program will be rather skeletal at first, but it’s definitely a start.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.