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2013 April 15 - 12:00 am

Then and Now: So Much Has Changed Since CCWeek’s Debut


Then and Now: So Much Has Changed Since CCWeek’s Debut

Twenty-five years ago, in 1988, a gallon of gas cost 91 cents, a dozen eggs would set you back 65 cents and a first class postage stamp was a quarter.

President Ronald Reagan was winding down a second term marred by the Iran-Contra scandal; Robert C. “Bud” McFarlane, his former national security advisor, pleaded guilty for his role in the case and was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $20,000 fine. He was pardoned four years later by President George H.W. Bush.

A Libyan terrorist bomb exploded on Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground. A U.S. Navy ship shot down an Iranian airliner over the Persian Gulf, mistaking it for jet fighter, killing all 290 people on board.Benazir Bhutto became the first female leader of a Muslim nation when she was elected prime minister of Pakistan.

Community college enrollment was about 4.6 million students. In the 1987-88 academic year, community colleges conferred about 436,000 degrees.

Twenty-five years later, community colleges enroll about 13 million students, 8 million of them in for-credit courses. Now, as then, the colleges opened educational doors to those who otherwise would be turned away.

The year 1988 was also when the first edition of Community College Week rolled off the presses. Then, as now, it was dedicated to being an independent voice covering a vibrant sector of American higher education.

The first reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act allocated federal money to community colleges to prepare students for the world of work by combining technical training and academic coursework. It provided a template for much of the workforce education work that community colleges do today.

Much has changed in higher education since 1988. Working adults, stay-at-home moms, and rural and international students have unprecedented access to college programs through the Internet. The online delivery format has made higher education accessible to a population for whom campus-based learning is not an option.

The average age of college students has soared to 36. About 30 percent of college students participate in online education.

As CCWeek marks its 25th anniversary, we present a list of some the other things that have changed over the past two-and-a-half decades:

Download table (PDF)

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