2- years community colleges historically serve a number of important purposes. They provide those without financial or academic credentials an opportunity to get some education and to polish their learning skills for those who wish to finish their BA in a 4 years college.
With a 2-years record of academic work, a 4 years college could better evaluate the applicants ability. Many of these community college students do manage to enter a regular 4-years college and then graduate with a Bachelors degree.
The difference in life-time earnings between those with a BA and those without is substantial as any number of economic studies have shown.
Community college students tend to come from families of fewer means especially new immigrants. Sometimes the students are older.
Community colleges, therefore, help improve employment opportunities.
Their capacity tends to be more "scalable" meaning expanding capacity, than a typical 4 years full service college which is far more expensive to maintain.
This report here is encouraging and alarming.
Apparently demand is outstripping supply, a very new development. I had never heard of students getting rejection slips from community colleges. "Everyone" used to get in. "Community" colleges are here to serve their communities.
So the good news is more young and maybe not so young Americans want to improve themselves by enrolling at a 2 years community college.
The bad news is there is a supply constraint. This means even for a low cost operation like a 2 years no frills community college, there is a shortage of money.