The benefits of community college

Published 8:17 am Friday, November 6, 2009

Derived from our parent Web site, information in today’s column focuses on the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), of which Paul D. Camp is proud to be a member. At our community colleges across the state, students can earn an associate’s degree and then transfer to one of Virginia’s four-year institutions — at less than half the average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year college. Or they can embark on a path to new, rewarding careers through workforce programs that provide technical preparation, career readiness certificates, and on-the-job training through apprenticeships.

Virginia’s Community Colleges deliver high-quality education and workforce training throughout the state, with programs and courses to serve the demands of every region.

VCCS Mission Statement

The mission of the Virginia Community College System is to provide comprehensive higher education and workforce training programs and services of superior quality that are financially and geographically accessible and that meet individual, business, and community needs of the Commonwealth.

Shared values influence thinking, guide decisions, mold policies, and determine courses of action as Virginia’s community colleges strive to fulfill our mission. These values include:


Serving a diverse student population through lifelong learning and student development services that are inclusive, accessible, affordable, and of the highest quality.

Teaching and Learning

Sustaining teaching excellence and setting high standards that promote and encourage student learning.

Effective Learning Environments

Maintaining innovative learning environments that encourage creativity and the acquisition of knowledge and skills that prepare students for changing work environments, responsible citizenship, and leading rewarding lives.

Appropriate Use of Technology

Using technology effectively to enhance instruction and learning and to expand access to educational opportunities through distance education.

Professional Development

Encouraging excellence and renewal in faculty and staff performance by providing on-going opportunities for professional growth and renewal.

Community Service

Serving our communities by providing facilities for cultural enrichment, promoting economic development and partnerships, and providing leadership and college talent to meet community needs.


Demonstrating good stewardship by making effective and efficient use of resources, thereby ensuring accountability to the state and to the communities we serve.

Fast Facts

With 40 campuses located throughout the state, Virginia’s Community Colleges are committed to serving Virginia families and helping them acquire the knowledge and skills to seize the opportunities of today and tomorrow. Following are some fast facts underscoring what our community colleges are doing by the numbers:

262,444 The number of students being served this year.

3 out of 5 The ratio of Virginia’s public undergraduate college students who were enrolled in Virginia’s Community Colleges in Fall 2008.

18,400 The number of degrees, diplomas and certificates earned last year at Virginia’s Community Colleges.

32,550 The number of high school juniors and seniors earning college credit while in high school through Virginia’s community college dual enrollment courses.

65 percent The percentage of Virginia Community College graduates who pursue a bachelor’s degree.

More than 25 The number of Virginia public and private four-year colleges and institutions that have signed Guaranteed Admissions Agreements with Virginia’s Community Colleges, assuring baccalaureate degree access to associate degree graduates.

243,000 The number of people who participate in workforce training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges.

8.6 to 1 The benefit/cost ratio of customized and open enrollment workforce courses and programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges.

46 percent The ratio of new registered nurses in Virginia who earned their degree at Virginia’s Community Colleges in 2007-2008.

$3.80 The return on investment for every dollar spent at Virginia’s Community Colleges