What’s your student’s higher education goal? If it’s to get a certificate or associate’s degree that’ll get him started in a trade or technical field, than he should be looking to attend a community college or public technical institute. But even it’s to earn a bachelor’s degree, your local community college may still be the place for him to start.
Why a community college or public technical institute? Because although there are many excellent private vocational schools, these schools are subject to little oversight and regulation. The result is that way too many of them are operated by con artists — people who rip students off by charging big bucks for degrees and certificates that don’t prepare them for gainful employment. Furthermore, private vocational schools often charge high rates of tuition.
Why begin at a community college if your student’s goal is a bachelor’s degree? Simple — it, too, is a much less expensive way to earn credits that’ll count toward that degree.
This year, the average total cost of attending a U.S. community college is $17,000 — just 69% of the $24,610 average total cost of attending a public 4-year college or university.
If your student lives at home with you while taking community college classes, he will (on average) lop another $8,060 in room and board off his costs. So now a year at community college averages just 36% the average cost of attendance at a public 4-year public institution.
Small wonder many high school counselors and state officials urge low-income and middle-class students to begin higher education at community colleges, then transfer the credits they earn there to 4-year colleges and universities. Many low and middle-income students can pay for their time at community colleges without borrowing a penny.
So community colleges can be one of the most cost-effective paths to a bachelor’s degree. But in considering this option, think carefully about the pitfalls that can come with attending a community college. If none of those are a problem for your student, than enrollment in local community college can be a wonderful money-saver.
WE’LL BE TAKING SPRING BREAK NEXT WEEK, SO OUR NEXT POST WILL BE ON MARCH 22.
College Affordability Solutions can help you conduct an affordability analysis on various paths your student may take to earn a bachelor’s degree. Contact us at (512) 366-5354 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need such assistance.