Oregon made community college free for in-state students in 2015, while Arkansas and Kentucky are developing similar programs.

The importance of two-year schools was routinely emphasized by President Obama, who called for making community college free in 2015.

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“I don’t think they’ve ever been more vulnerable.” At the same time, the value of an associate’s degree has never been clearer.

Currently, the median salary for someone with only a high school diploma is $36,000.

Even as officials hold them up as the answer to bridging America’s yawning blue-collar-skills gap, many are ill equipped to deliver on the promise.

Less than 40% of community-college students graduate, and many drop out their first year.

While more than 80% of two-year students say they want a bachelor’s degree, only 14% get one after six years.

The schools, meanwhile, are increasingly reliant on money from students as states cut funding, an added burden on a population that can ill afford it.We use cookies and browser capability checks to help us deliver our online services, including to learn if you enabled Flash for video or ad blocking.By using our website or by closing this message box, you agree to our use of browser capability checks, and to our use of cookies as described in our Cookie Policy. INITIAL_PROPS_HEADER = {"data":,"id":"header","context":{"nav Links Data":[,,,,,,,,,,,],"homepage Links Data":[,,,,,,],"customer Nav":{"user":null,"ads":,"urls":{"login Url":"https://com/login? Earlier this year, 48% of small businesses reported that they couldn’t find qualified job applicants to fill open positions, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.Recognizing the need, states across the country have taken steps to make community college more accessible.Officials originally projected that LATI would reach its current size in 2040. Across the nation, community colleges–which educate about 40% of all undergraduates in the U.