John chats up Randy Smith, whose organization, the Rural Community College Alliance, represents 2/3 of all community colleges in the United States, and 1/3 of all community college students in the country. Smith described some of the challenges facing rural community colleges, including the commute to the college, technology, and economic obstacles. Despite these challenges, rural colleges have a huge impact on local economic development. Funding formulas for rural colleges are all over the map today, due to state budgets and financial issues. In many states, funding has been substantially reduced in recent years. The most important element for rural colleges: recruiting and retaining students, in times when the number of high school graduates is actually declining, especially in rural areas. Today, most rural colleges have dorms and offer sports opportunities.