Community College Study Abroad Programs provide instruction by accredited faculty to community college students in foreign locations. Programs range from single-subject two-week courses for minimal credit to full semester with a full academic load with instruction in arts, foreign languages, humanities, natural and physical sciences, social sciences, and occupational fields. Travel and living arrangements are typically arranged by the college, a 3rd party provider, or both.
Study Abroad is distinct from study tours in that they have a university accredited curriculum, that frequently matches transfer requirements and provides WSCH based funding (ADA). Similar to regularly scheduled classes, study abroad provides the college with state funding based on an established ratio of faculty to student contact hours. As such, study abroad class hours must match the state-mandated measurement of teacher-to-student contact hours per unit per semester.
Study Abroad adheres to the community college "open door" philosophy, as it includes all ages, aptitudes and backgrounds without sacrificing academic standards. Students are not denied an academic experience since they have a choice of taking classes either abroad or on-campus since a domestic section is always offered. Therefore there is no exclusion to academic experience. As in all academic programs, some pre-requisites may exist, but for the most part, neither GPA, campus standing, nor disabilities can figure into admittance into the study abroad program. Finally, community colleges are bound by their mission to offer high-quality and low cost academic programs which enables opportunities for all students to participate. The open access philosophy makes study abroad accessible to many students who would not otherwise participate in these educational endeavors. The diversity of students, and the academic open access policy does not fit a traditional higher educational profile for study abroad.
Indeed, community colleges have become the place to expand opportunities and challenge the notion of higher education as an elitist venture intended for only the few and are significantly impacting the field of study abroad.
Diversity Issues: Community college student population mirrors a multicultural and multiethnic mixture of local communities. Therefore, community colleges tend to serve a greater proportion of lower income and minority students than in any other post-secondary institution. This is also evident in study abroad programs offered by community colleges.