The American Association of Community Colleges estimates that there are 1,195 community colleges in the United States that have over 6.5 million students enrolled in accreditation programs. These students, whose average age is 29 years old, highlight the diversity of the Millennial Generation; 35% are minorities and 60% are female. With the increasingly prohibitive costs of a four-year education, 46% of undergraduates are enrolled at community colleges; in order to ensure that they can afford their education, 27% of community college students are employed full-time while over 47% receive some kind of financial aid. More than one-third of all community college students are the first in their family to attend college.
These diverse statistics paint a hopeful picture of the next generation of leaders in our business, non-profit and government sectors. However, access to an education has become less of a barrier than a student’s ability to successfully complete his or her education. A recent Brookings Institution polls shows that less than 46% of community college students successfully graduate within 6 years. Despite that statistic, community colleges across our country are becoming diverse laboratories for Millennial innovation and civic participation for a diverse cross-section of the Millennial Generation.
In 2010 – 2012, Mobilize.org will convene three Summits, each with 150 Millennial community college students in attendance and many more participating online. At each Summit, Mobilize.org will provide awards to the top projects that address community college completion rates. Through the use of keypad-voting technology, winners will be decided by Summit participants, and at each Summit a total of $25,000 will be distributed to projects that will be incubated by Mobilize.org for a period of 12 months.