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Community Colleges (August 10, 2010)

On 8/8/2010, Ms. Diane Viverito, Assistant Dean of Moraine Valley Community College International Student Affairs and Mr. Patrick McGinty, International Student Services & Recruitment Assistant Director of Deleware County Community College, the representatives of USACCC, visited and held a workshop about USACCC at Access American Education office.

USA CCC Generally speaking, the U.S. university’s requirement is a big barrier for Vietnamese students, especially for those who did not meet English requirements. According to the recent statistics, about 46% American students and 39% international students start their higher education with community college. One of the advantages of community colleges is that they do not require TOEFL or SAT score. Therefore, students do not have to wait until they reach the high English level to study abroad.

In particular, financial issue is another concern when parents want to send their children to study at U.S. universities. The tuition and living expenses of an academic year at US university will cost up to $40,000 or higher. Meanwhile, with $15,000 to 17,000, students can study at a community college and pay the living expenses for a year. Therefore, community college option is the best option for students who are planning to study in the US.

Founded over 15 years, USA Community College Consortium (USACCC) is a group of five community colleges located in different safe areas across the United States, including:

US Map

Ms. Diane Viverito and Mr. Patrick also introduced briefly five colleges during the presentation. Overall, the community colleges of USACCC located in the small city but very close to major cities of the United States. For example, College of Central Florida is located in a small city called Ocala but only about two-hour away from Orlando, the tourist attraction. Thus, students not only enjoy the quiet atmosphere of a small city to concentrate on their study but also can take a vacation to Orlando, the home of Walt Disney World.

USACCC Chart Moreover, USACCC colleges also provide students with flexible options after completing two year study there. The students can transfer directly to the third year university to continue their education or enroll into the internship program to start their working life right away (international students are allowed to work in the United States one year after community college completion). Most of the students after completing two years of college of USACCC will have the option to transfer to more than 100 universities in the United States such as Drexel University, University of Massachusetts, UCLA, University of Central Florida, George Washington University and so on. If students do well at community college, moving on to college, they may have the chance to get scholarships just like any others.


Before the presentation ended, parents and students had the opportunity to talk directly to USACCC representatives and to raise questions about the U.S. study, particularly about community colleges such as ” Is it difficult to get student visa to study at the community college? “. Ms. Diane Viverito noted that it’s just like any other student visa type, students must prove their financial ability and presented the purpose of their study. Besides, a number of questions related to the transition from high school to college was also mentioned such as “Is it possible for Vietnamese students attend community college after completing grade 11 in Vietnam? ” and “Are there any colleges of USACCC that offer dual degree?”

Responding to questions, Ms. Diane would suggest students to finish high school in Vietnam before studying abroad in the United States. The given reason is that when students go to US high school, the school may not offer them a degree after finishing high school there. Until now, the U.S. government hasn’t set any policy for international students at high school level so the benefit of international students will not be guaranteed. Another downside is that if the students find out later that community college is not the right one for them, it will be very difficult for them to find another community college that accept high school students. However, Skagit Valley College is the community college of USACCC provides high school completion plus program.


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