Middle-class students, usually enrolled full time, are demanding services that less advantaged, community college students have often done without, reports Inside Higher Ed. Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey, for example, updated and expanded its fitness center, remodeled the cafeteria, added sports teams, and created a first-year experience program.
It's about time, writes a community college dean on his Inside Higher Ed blog. "If the daughters of privilege start demanding the services that 'real' colleges offer, then the single moms who come here will have access to those, too." The risk is that commuter students with jobs and family responsibilities may help pay for a fitness center they'll never have time to use.
[Read more about saving money by starting at community college.]
College bargain hunters won't be enough to close higher education's class divide, the Century Foundation's Kahlenberg says. The rise in middle class, community college students has been dwarfed by a surge of low income students in two-year schools.
Community colleges remain the low status, discount option in U.S. higher education.
Joanne Jacobs writes Community College Spotlight for The Hechinger Report, an independent nonprofit education news site. Jacobs also blogs about K-12 education and is the author of Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the Charter School That Beat the Odds.