Giving Compass' Take:

• Richard V. Reeves and Katherine Guyot explain that many middle-class students attend community colleges, making them a strong starting point for buoying the middle class. 

• How can funders best support community colleges? What do schools, instructors, and students need to succeed? 

• Learn about community colleges working to create pathways to success

Community colleges serve America’s middle class. They educate at least as many middle- and low-income college students as public four-year colleges do, but receive much less funding and less media attention. For students who would not otherwise have attended college, they are vital engines for upward mobility and preparation for the labor market.

About 60% of middle-class students born in 1991 attended college at some point between the ages of 19 and 22. Among those who attended college, two in five went to nonprofit two-year schools, according to our analysis of data from Chetty et al. (We define the “middle class” as the middle three income quintiles.) This exceeds the percentage who attended public four-year schools (36%).

By contrast, fewer than one in four students (23%) from households in the most affluent quintile attend community colleges, while 26% attend an elite or private four-year college.

Read the full article about community colleges serving the middle class by Richard V. Reeves and Katherine Guyot at Brookings.