MCCCD Works to End the Community College Stigma

TEMPE, Ariz., April 27, 2021 - In celebration of Community College Month, the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) wants to bring awareness to the value of community colleges and help end the stigma associated with these two-year institutions.

“Community colleges offer an undeniable benefit to communities and families across the nation,” said MCCCD Interim Chancellor, Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. “Not only do our institutions act as economic engines to support the workforce, but we also provide open access to an affordable education to all who seek it, prepare students with relevant skills that make them highly sought-after employees, and create a pipeline that makes earning a degree possible. I am extremely proud of the work we do at the Maricopa Community Colleges.”

Community colleges have historically been viewed as the lesser higher education option, commonly equated with a low-quality education or seen as less valuable than a four-year university. The Maricopa Community Colleges, one of the nation’s largest community college systems, proudly dispels these negative connotations each day by offering affordable, high-quality education at its 10 Colleges across Greater Phoenix.

Affordable Education

While education at a community college is less expensive than a four-year university, that does not mean the education is less valuable. The Maricopa Community Colleges are built on serving students with high-quality learning opportunities, like through our many partnerships with industry leaders including IntelAmazon Web Services, and Microsoft, providing students with innovative programs in current, high-demand industries. 

High-Paying Careers

Two-year associate degrees cost less and generally have shorter completion periods than bachelor’s degrees, and still afford graduates high-paying job opportunities. Several high-paying careers only require an associate degree, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data proves these careers offer competitive and sustainable incomes.

Seamless Transfer Pathways

Community colleges are continuously making efforts to improve the quality of education by enhancing transfer pathways to universities. The Maricopa Community Colleges have unique transfer partnerships with all three public universities in Arizona, and various out-of-state, private, online college and university partners. With these offerings, students can seamlessly transfer to continue on their path to earning a four-year degree. In the 2019-2020 school year alone, nearly 7,000 MCCCD students successfully transferred to a university.

Innovative Learning Opportunities 

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the future of higher education, increasing the demand for non-degree credentials, such as non-degree certificates, micro-credentials, and other upskilling opportunities in lieu of a traditional degree. MCCCD training and certifications account for about 95 percent of Arizona's most in-demand jobs. MCCCD also offers fast-track education opportunities to help prepare students to enter the workforce quickly, benefitting mid-career job seekers or students wanting a promising career in a short amount of time.

Financial Assistance

In the 2021 Spring semester, MCCCD awarded $6.6 million in scholarships to students. The MCCCD Foundation has even made scholarships more accessible by creating a seamless application that allows MCCCD students to use one application to apply for hundreds of scholarships. 

To learn more about the Maricopa Community Colleges, please visit


Media Contact: Dasi Danzig, 480-268-6766,

About the Maricopa Community Colleges

The Maricopa County Community College District includes ten regionally-accredited colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain – and the Maricopa Corporate College, serving approximately 100,000 students with two-year degrees, certificates, and university transfer programs.