Colleges in USA are an important component of the higher education system in the States. Unlike universities, the college system in the US devotes very little funds and effort to research. Colleges in USA can refer to a community college affiliated to a community college district association or a college imparting courses in a specific discipline. However the college terminology generally refers to the community college system and not the latter in all places. The community college system in the US has been set up by state and federal help and offers an opportunity to students who cannot afford university. The tuition fee and other cost of education is lower . This is due to the fact that the community colleges generally are funded to a large extent by the state and federal grants. The coursework at most colleges have much lesser goals than an equivalent course in an university. The coursework can lead to an associates or bachelors degree.
There are private colleges too. These should be more aptly called education companies doing business in the States. These are for -profit institutions which provide a specific occupational skill. The tuition fees may be substantially higher and can lead to a certificate or associates degree. All colleges , community or private need to be accredited to a centrally recognized accrediting body. The diploma mill scandals that crop up time and again relating to bogus institutes are being fought with stricter regulation. Thus, it is hoped that only companies with serious approach towards education would enter the business.
The quality of education in these institutions cannot be compared to that available at the universities. Lower amounts in funding and a lesser quality of teachers and facilities mean that quality of education is not on par with the bigger universities. Also the quality of students differ. Most students with good academic record get some form of financial aid to attend universities. This leaves the colleges with students with lesser grades and with lesser means.
The colleges in USA , nevertheless do a great service to the community by bringing education to more people than the universities can reach. They have embraced adult education programs and online training and teaching tools which help them reach more students than ever before.