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What is a community college?

The community college is America's contribution to education in the 20th century. The roots of the community college movement may be found in the junior colleges of the 1920s and '30s, which offered the first two years of a postsecondary education. Today, there are more than 1,160 comprehensive community colleges across the country. The community college's broad curriculum, its responsiveness to community needs and its accessibility to all local residents distinguishes it from the old junior college.

Recent research shows that public community colleges serve more than 40% of all U.S. undergraduates. Nearly one third of community college students are the first generation in their family to attend college. Across the country, 9 million students are enrolled in community college credit programs, and 5 million are taking community college noncredit courses. Because of the equal opportunity for education offered to its supporters, the community college has been called the "characteristic educational institution of the United States."

A local college serving local needs

Johnson County Community College was founded in 1969 to serve the residents of Johnson County, Kansas, an active suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. JCCC is now governed by a seven-member board of trustees elected at-large by Johnson County voters to four-year terms. The board governs the College and sets the budget and local tax levy. Every other fall, in odd calendar years, elections for alternating three or four trustee positions are held.

State legislation has enabled community colleges to establish service areas that are supported by state funding and local taxes. Over 65% of JCCC’s operating funding comes from county and motor vehicle taxes. The remainder comes from student tuition and state aid.