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While the programs at various community colleges vary in character from those designed to prepare x-ray technicians to those designed to inculcate a love of the Great Books, one thing is for certain: They are a valuable, yet at times underappreciated, part of the vast lattice of higher education across the United States. Interestingly enough, the first public two-year college in the United States was Joliet Junior College, which opened its doors in 1901. Currently, community colleges enroll more than half the nations' undergraduates, and the American Association of Community Colleges is the primary advocacy organization for the approximately 1100 associate degree-granting institutions and their students. The website contains important information about the organization's ongoing activities, its relationship with government (and lobbying activities), and some basic statistics about the landscape of community colleges.
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