Community Colleges Lowering Cost of Education

On an afternoon in July, the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College bakes in the summer sun. On the quad, a few hardy students brave the heat, gathering at outdoor tables in the leafy shade. Nearby, a group of kids from Camp College—a summer enrichment program for ages 6-16—take an outdoor break, their enthusiasm muted by the rising mercury. Suddenly, the torpor is broken by a string of young adults in identical dark-blue T-shirts and trousers—recruits from the on-campus police academy—jogging single file toward the student center.

It’s a perfect snapshot of the multifaceted nature of the state’s 19 community colleges (also known as county colleges), whose shared mission is to fulfill the diverse educational needs of the 21 counties they serve.

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