The Community College Initiative (CCI) Program seeks to foster mutual understanding between the citizens of the United States and the citizens of participating CCI countries. The CCI Program encourages a holistic learning and exchange experience and focuses on five program pillars: academics, cultural exchange, service learning, internships, and leadership and action planning. All pillars of the CCI Program are of equal importance. The CCI Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State.
The CCI Program provides participants with a non-degree, one academic-year program at a U.S. community college designed to build participants’ technical skills in applied fields, enhance their leadership capabilities, and strengthen their English language proficiency. The program also provides opportunities for professional internships, service learning, and community engagement. After completing the program, participants return home with enhanced skills to help them contribute to the economic development of their countries.
Since the program’s inception in 2007, nearly 3,100 participants from 21 countries have received scholarships for study at community colleges throughout the United States.
The CCI Program demonstrates U.S. commitment to increasing access to higher education for international students from underrepresented and underserved communities in selected countries and highlights the learning environment offered at U.S. community colleges. The program also builds U.S. community colleges’ efforts to deepen international education partnerships and programming.
Community colleges are predominantly publicly funded, inclusive institutions in local communities that welcome all who desire to learn, regardless of wealth, heritage, or previous academic experience. Community colleges offer individual courses (credit and non-credit), certificate programs, workforce development training, and Associate degrees. Associate degree coursework at community colleges is roughly equivalent to that offered in the first two years of a four-year Bachelor’s degree program. There are more than 1,100 public, independent, and tribal community colleges across the United States. Community colleges are sometimes referred to as technical colleges or junior colleges.
The CCI Program offers study in the following fields: Agriculture, Applied Engineering, Early Childhood Education, Information Technology (IT), Media, Public Safety, Tourism and Hospitality Management.
The CCI Program offerings within these fields of study are limited to specific concentration areas listed on the 2020-2021 CCI fields of study summaries and included as part of the application.
Courses and programs of study vary by individual colleges. All colleges offer introductory classes that would be taken during the first two years of a four-year Bachelor’s degree. The CCI Program does not offer advanced field-specific courses. Participants will work with their Program Coordinators at each host college to develop an individual program plan within his/her field of study and concentration area. Participants should develop their goals broadly within these fields of study and concentration areas. In this application, participants should describe their specific areas of interest in their proposed fields of study and concentration areas, their related experience, and their long-term goals.
Participants are applying for the CCI Program and are not applying to a specific, academic degree program at a particular institution. Based on their proficiency in English, participants will have access to courses at the CCI community college where they are placed. Participants may earn an academic certificate in their field of study or complete courses that are relevant to their professional goals. Certificate programs are not available for all programs at all campuses and are contingent upon multiple factors, including the participant’s level of English. Participants will combine academic or professional coursework with first-hand practical experiences through internships or service learning that will help them build their professional skills and capacities.
The educational system in the United States will be different from the educational systems in the participants’ home countries. To be successful in U.S. academic courses, participants will need to attend all classes, participate fully, complete assignments on time, and complete additional coursework (such as readings, essays, individual and group projects) during their own time outside of the classroom. It is common practice to have 6-10 hours of homework each week after each 3-hour class.