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Abstract

Once a stepping stone to higher education, the rural community college has evolved into a multipurpose institution that meets lifelong learning needs and the economy's demand for information and skills. The best institutions merge an applied higher education with extension-like services for local industry. But rural community colleges are facing new challenges, including new competition from other providers, expanding student diversity, rising credential requirements, and the digital divide. All of this leads to an even greater proliferation of missions and expectations, and possible growing pains for smaller rural community colleges.

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