Once considered a “stepchild” of higher education, many community colleges are now innovators and well deserving of the title.
Half of all current college students attend a community college.
Federal and state funding for community colleges has increased over the past several years and a great deal is being done at the community college level to match majors with workforce needs.
I recommend, especially if finances are a major issue for you, taking a serious look at enrolling in a two year school first and then transferring to a four-year college or university.
This will save you the cost of a four-year bachelor’s degree at a more expensive school while still allowing you to graduate with a degree from that four year school. Most community college students live at home so that saves you the cost of residence hall expenses. And most community college students work and do not borrow to meet living expenses.
If you decide to go the community college route, do the same investigation that you would do if you planned on attending a four year school.
- Find out the successful transfer rate of the community college, the schools students transfer into, the percentage of students who stay for two years, the most popular majors, and the average debt.
- Find out how many of the students with an associate’s degree get a job at graduation.
- Be certain that your future career interests can be met by the curriculum.
I have a colleague who recently told me that he put all three of his children through college and graduate school with a cumulative debt of $90,000. And all three first attended a community college!