Students at community colleges can now learn from anywhere at anytime, providing real estate opportunities for the institutions. Image from Wikimedia Commons. The phrase community college is one of those dyads we take for granted, not really thinking much about what it means. It is a signifier for a smaller, usually non-residential school with unconventional hours made up of non-traditional students. But its real importance comes when you take the two words apart and focus on the community side. A community college is a place that is both part of and an aid to the community. It draws regionally, from neighbors and coworkers, and its life comes from the strength of the community.