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Why Community Colleges Matter

02/24/2021  /  Audrey Harton - Public Relations Specialist  /  POSTED IN learning 
A diesel student holding a sign stating #SupportTheSolution
A diesel student holding a sign stating #SupportTheSolution

The benefits of community college are seemingly countless, and not just to students. Wyoming’s community colleges are imperative in building Wyoming’s economy especially in the state’s current economic climate. 

For every $1 that students pay for their education at Western Wyoming Community College, they can expect $4.80 in higher earnings. The annual rate of return is 18.2 percent. For every $1 that is invested in an education from Western, an average of $4.50 in social benefits are derived by our counties and Wyoming in the form of reduced crime, lower welfare and  unemployment, and increased health and well-being.

Not only are community colleges great for boosting the economy, but they also serve as cultural and educational engines that help communities flourish. They offer courses and programs that help develop communities, such as high school equivalency, English as a second language, as well as dual and concurrent enrollment for high school students. Western and other community colleges offer an array of events such as concerts, musicals, performances, presentations, expositions, museum displays and many others that would not otherwise be available to rural communities. 

The colleges are required to have and are proud of their relationships with their respective local advisory committees, which utilize local industry input to meet needs and build valuable partnerships to obtain great internships and job placements for students. Sixty-seven percent of Wyoming community college students are part-time students with jobs. Thirty-eight percent are seeking short-term certificates. Forty percent are ages 25 to 64. 

Because most community college students are part-time, employed, older, and are "place-bound,” they cannot simply pack up and move to another town for college. They have car payments, children, a job, a family. Community colleges cater to those who need an education that fits their very specific needs, right where they are. 

Additionally, many of Western’s students go on to transfer to four-year institutions. Seventy five percent of the University of Wisconsin’s 2019 graduates were community college transfers. Wyoming’s community colleges enroll nearly three-quarters of all college students in the state. Community colleges offer a great steppingstone to four-year institutions. Not only does it save families thousands of dollars, but it also helps students ease into higher education so they can be more successful at larger institutions. 

Resources: Wyoming Association of Community CollegeTrustees, Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees , 2021, 


For people in Wyoming, community colleges are a cost-effective way to attain a higher education, regardless of where they are in their educational journeys. This is directly correlated to lower unemployment and better quality of life, less drug use, fewer medical issues and a lower tax burden. 

Wyoming community colleges need the continued support of their communities. To learn more about Western’s programs, financial aid options, or to give to Western, visit

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