Published on 2012/08/07

Community Colleges Best for Adult Remedial Education

It is becoming increasingly necessary for adults to return to higher education to earn a degree, but many require remedial education first in order to gain a baseline of knowledge. The question is whether community colleges are best-suited to deliver this learning, or if high schools would be more appropriate. Photo by Kurhan.

Community colleges serve the community and its core responsibility is to facilitate vocational education, job training and other programs that assist potential students the opportunity to earn an education regardless of their academic ability (Kasper, 2002-03). For the adult learner, community colleges offer remedial courses as a prerequisite to college entrance. Adult remedial education is better served in these colleges, because adults need to learn skills as they grow older to stay competitive in the job market. These challenges are brought on by the changes in the economy and low employment rates, for which many adults have lost employment. With the recent initiative by President Obama, community colleges were given $12 million dollars for building infrastructure and student aid, with the goal of producing 5 million college graduates by 2020. This is necessary due to increasing enrollment and the need for change (Brooks, 2009).

Adults are focused on earning their college education because of their lacking knowledge, skills and desire to be job-ready. For many, the family would also play a vital role in their education because of school-aged children who would benefit from their assistance with homework and study skills. Gaining an education is vital for these adults to be the example. As education becomes the remedy for adult learners, the financial impact of community college attendance is made more affordable. The cost of attending community college is less, per credit, then a four-year institution. Additionally, students have the option of taking online courses in their specific programs taking advantage of no transportation, gas or parking costs.

As society changes forces changes in school requirements and design, perhaps life and work experiences can play a vital role that help adults meet college requirements.

Adults are proud to enter college regardless of their learning disparities to acquire the skills that meet their career objectives. They may not have followed an educational path earlier in their careers, but with the opportunities of chance Adult learners can achieve!

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Brooks,D., (2009). Community colleges ready for reform. The New York Times Article, July 2009.

Kasper, H.T.,(2002-2003). The changing role of community college. Occupational Outlook Quarterly- Winter 2002-2003.

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Readers Comments

Tyrese Banner 2012/08/07 at 11:34 pm

High schools are best suited to deliver remedial adult learning, not colleges. They are already structured to follow the high-school curriculum, which is what remedial learning is aimed at delivering. They can also be more accommodating to the individual needs of students, whereas the community college must follow a tight schedule and a specific set of learning objectives, which can leave some students in the dust.

High school level education is guaranteed to us, whereas colleges are an extra expense. Adult students should not have to pay to gain the knowledge they already pay for through their tax dollars.

    Darlene Morrison 2013/08/29 at 12:28 pm

    Your comments are well appreciated and pointed. However, many adults completed their high school education long ago and the guarantee of their past education is lost! They have a strong desire to get back into the educational arena and do not have the appropriate basic skills that is needed for the college classroom. It is these individuals and many of them, who need remediation.

Lionel 2012/08/13 at 5:58 pm

Interesting piece about the role of community colleges, but I think there is a need for such colleges to adapt their methods of delivery. If adults need to remain competitive or are seeking to change their employment position then community colleges need to offer courses are more appropriate times including weekends and on a more intensive basis. Making a change often means planning 26 or 52 weeks ahead as learning is week on week rather than say intensive days or weekends to meet adult needs more and the faster paced society in which we operate; if they are to continue playing their important role in the community.

Darlene Morrison 2013/08/29 at 12:32 pm

Thanks for your comment! I concur with your suggestion to make schedule changes at the community colleges to accommodate adult learners. It is my understanding that several community colleges are now paying attention to the needs of prospective students making such changes!

Jackson Willis 2015/02/20 at 12:44 am

It can be really difficult to advance your education after high school. If you don’t go to college right away, it gets exponentially harder to go back. If you don’t graduate on time, it becomes even less likely that you finish and go to college. I remember encouraging my best friend to get through all of that stuff back when we were twenty and I was in my first year of college. I hope people do what they can to improve their lives through education.

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