Community College

Go to Community College to Save Money

Going to a community college doesn’t usually give you a lot of bragging rights, but the extra $20,000 to $40,000 in your pocket just might. If you’re trying to save money on college expenses, you need to consider starting your higher education career at a community college.

Remember, the degree you ultimately get comes from the school you spent your last year in, not the school you spent your first years in. So, when it comes to the prestige of graduating from XYZ University, why pay full price?

There’s a perception that community colleges provide an inferior education. While there are certainly cases where this is true, the level at most community colleges is fairly close to the level of introductory courses at most 4 year colleges. The big advantage community colleges have for your benefit is that they’re staffed by teachers. That is often not the case at 4-year colleges.

Community colleges are almost always taught by “real teachers” (not the teaching assistants). Moreover, these teachers are usually there to teach, not to do research. Talk to any freshman at a major university and she’ll tell you about a professor who would rather do just about anything than teaching freshmen. Teachers at community colleges know teaching freshmen is a huge part of their job…and they usually like it that way.

In addition to lower costs per credit, community colleges are typically located close to home. This often means you can live at home if you want to. Some college students would rather be in debt up to their eyeballs than live at home, but at least if you go to a community college living at home is usually a nice, cheap option.

If you decide a community college might be in your future, check the facts. Does the university you want to transfer to accept transfer students? If so, do they limit the number or type of credit the student transfers in? Is the community college you’re considering on the same schedule as the university you want to transfer into? For example, if one is on trimesters and one is on semesters, you will have to be extra careful in your planning to make sure you don’t end up with lots of useless partial credits. Most of the time, the transition is reasonably painless, but you can avoid a lot of potential pitfalls if you plan ahead.