Cultivating Community Colleges

  • Prosperity
  • 1960

In 1947, as the post-WWII boom in higher education was taking off, the President’s Commission on Higher Education urged the spread of community colleges to serve students of diverse abilities and interests for minimal cost. Then in 1960, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation initiated an even larger wave of expansion. Declaring community colleges and the practical occupational training they offer to be one of its top priorities, Kellogg made over $50 million in direct grants to community colleges between 1959 and 2001. In addition, the foundation worked with 12 universities—including Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, and UT Austin—to establish and fund centers to train two-year college leaders. These Kellogg Junior College Leadership Programs graduated hundreds of future deans and presidents, and became the centerpiece of Kellogg’s success in this area. The ’60s saw the opening of 457 community colleges across the U.S. (an increase of more than 100 percent). This allowed an enormous expansion of educational opportunity as the Baby Boomers reached college age. While less than 2 percent of college freshmen in 1920 were in two-year colleges, by the 1980s these schools served half of America’s collegians.

  • George Vaughan, The Community College Story, (Community College Press, 2006)
  • Arthur Cohen and Florence Brawer, The American Community College, (Jossey-Bass, 2008)