As a high school student in Tampa, Fla., Sheena Jackson fell in love with the University of Washington from pictures she saw on the Internet. When she was not accepted, she still wanted to go to the Seattle area for college. She decided to go to a community college — with housing — in that area so she could establish residency in the state and try later to get into the university.
“It’s in a big city,” Jackson says. “I needed a change and something that could challenge me that I could look forward to doing. I lived on the East Coast for most of my life. I wanted something new.”
So, four days after graduating from high school, Jackson and her parents drove from Tampa to Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Wash. — just 20 minutes from what Jackson calls her “star in the sky.”
Jackson is an environmental science and political science major with a minor in history who wants to become an environmental lawyer.
She is part of a growing trend of young people who choose to go to community colleges with residential facilities as a bridge between living at home and getting an apartment or going to a four-year college. For some, community college is their first choice, and the two-year program fits their career goals. Others enjoy the low-cost housing and transferrable credits while preparing for their next move.
Community colleges are responding to the requests for housing. In 2000, 225 community colleges offered housing, by 2010 that number grew to 260, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Now in 2012, 391 two-year institutions are providing a place to live, reports the National Center for Education Statistics. <Read more.>