A Community College Proposed for the District of Columbia

The University of the District of Columbia is the only publicly operated institution of higher education in the nation’s capital. But many political leaders in Washington share the view that there should be a community college in the District to provide entry-level college education and job training to non-traditional students. A report by the Brookings Institution found that one third of the available jobs in the District require more than a high school diploma but not a bachelor’s degree. These positions include paralegals, medical support personnel, and technicians.

The administration of the University of the District of Columbia is wholeheartedly in support of the effort and may even consider housing the community college within the UDC structure. Students at UDC already can take classes toward a two-year associate’s degree but the university has not had the money to provide the two-year programs necessary to fill the area’s employment needs. The university would like to have administrators and faculty dedicated solely to two-year programs.

A majority of the population in the District of Columbia is black and a huge percentage of the students graduating from the public school system in Washington are black. Therefore, a community college in the District would disproportionately benefit African Americans.