The Truth About Higher Education Community colleges educate about 46 percent of all undergraduate college students, but their impact is even greater.1 Of the 1.5 million students who graduate annually with a baccalaureate degree, 300,000 transferred from a community college and an additional 700,000 used them intermittently while earning their degree.2 even when we look solely at four-year college graduates, our higher education system would not function without community colleges. The global race for influence, power, talent, and money is intensifying. colleges and universities must equip our country with the educated citizenry that plays a fundamental role in American democracy, economy, and culture. yet America still struggles with getting students ready for college. in 2003, 28 percent of eighth grade students scored below the basic reading level and 33 percent scored below the basic math level.4 Nationwide, the overall high school graduation rate for the class of 2001 was 68 percent.5 More than 8 million adults speak english poorly or not at all.6 yet as educational standards rise to meet new economic and social realities, the number who need a college education grows larger.