In American English, I've always heard Community College in academic conversations, but Junior College (or JUCO) in athletic conversations. Such as:

I went to community college before attending State University.

Cam Newton played for a junior college before joining the Auburn Tigers.

Is there a difference between the two types of schools? If there is no difference in the type of school, are there reasons why Junior College/JUCO is used primarily in sports contexts? any thought why I commonly hear JUCO only in a sports context, but community college in academic context?

  • 1
    Junior College is not, to my knowledge, used "primarily in sports contexts." There was a junior college in my neighborhood that had nothing to do with sports. Dec 15, 2017 at 20:58
  • It's the same thing.
    – Lambie
    Dec 15, 2017 at 20:59
  • The junior college in my neighborhood was public, by the way, so I also don't necessarily agree with the tendency mentioned by @MarkBeadles in his answer. Dec 15, 2017 at 21:01
  • @Clare based on your comment I decided to check the stats directly, see the edit to my answer. Dec 15, 2017 at 21:11
  • 2
    As with the difference between university and college and institution that has been hashed to death here, any historical distinctions have been swept away and it is largely a matter of tradition versus marketing.
    – choster
    Dec 15, 2017 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


They are just different terminology for essentially the same thing, which has evolved a little over time. "Junior Colleges" tend to be a private 2-year institutions, and "Community Colleges" tend to be public 2-year institutions, but that's not a hard and fast rule. You'll also see the terms "Technical College", "City College", "County College", depending on where you live.

Edited to add:

It looks like "Community College" is currently much more common that "Junior College" as a name. Per the US National Center for Education Statistics, there are only 17 institutions with "Junior" in their name, of which 10 are private. However, there are over 500 institutions with "Community" in their name.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.