In the two decades following World War II, policymakers faced a tremendous challenge: How could demands for postsecondary education (made evident by the high proportion of World War II veterans who used education benefits of the GI Bill) be met in a cost-effective manner? Public two-year colleges were a big part of the answer. Known in the 1940s as junior colleges, they were usually operated by school districts as extensions of high schools into grades 13 and 14 (Cohen, Brawer, & Kisker, 2013). Why not, many policymakers asked, encourage the further development of these institutions, creating statewide systems of two-year colleges that would serve local communities and extend free public schooling for all through grade 14 (President’s Commission on Higher Education, 1947)? This would expand opportunity for postsecondary study at per-student costs to the state that were much lower than those at universities and, at the same time, buffer the universities from the anticipated onslaught of students that might otherwise threaten their standing as selective institutions and deflect attention from upper-division and graduate study (Illinois Association of Junior Colleges, 1956). It would also make college more affordable for students and their families.