A public institution of higher education that offers many college courses in several areas of concentration. Most, if not all, community colleges are junior colleges, meaning they only offer the first two years of a college major. After those two years, one can transfer those two years of work to a 4-year college.
Community colleges tend to be much cheaper than their 4-year counterparts, mainly beacause they receive funding two levels deep: from the state as well as the county. Also, they have open admission policies. This means that as long as you have a high school diploma or GED, you will be admitted, regardless of your grades or test scores. The low price and open admission tends to attract poor students, which gives community colleges their bad reputation. In actuality, however, many community colleges are quite competent and offer small class sizes and a large selection of useful courses.
In addition to the 2-year transfer programs, community colleges also offer 1 and 2-year vocational programs that allow one to start a career without having to transfer to another college.