Community College as An Option
by CJ Gordon
The cost of higher education in the United States increases at an annual rate that is higher than the cost of living, in some cases at a rate that is 5 times higher than that of inflation. As tuition costs alone in 2013 rose 4.8 percent over the previous year, more and more individuals are finding it difficult to find affordable the college education that they need to be competitive in the job market.
Alternatives to college may provide a person with a way to begin their education and work toward a bachelor’s degree. One of those options includes deferring 4-year college degree in favor of starting a 2-year community college program first. This may be an attractive and affordable option for a person to consider. Annual college costs in the University of California system are almost 12 times higher than the cost of a 2-year community college in the state. The comparison is $1,100 versus $12,190.
This cost difference may give pause to many individuals looking to start a 4-year degree program. Delaying such a program in favor of 2-year community college may help serve the same purpose and reduce overall costs.
Why Community College May Be a Good Option
There are other advantages associated with attending community college, aside from the difference in cost between a 2-year community college and a 4-year college or university. Higher education is necessary in today’s world in order to earn a decent wage and achieve advancement in your career. For example, a high school graduate faces an unemployment rate of 8.1 percent versus 3.7 percent for the holder of a bachelor’s degree.
Because the annual cost of college can be prohibitive, for many, starting a college career in a 2-year community college may be a good way to take care of core requirements in subjects such as English and mathematics. This will help prepare for the rigors of a 4-year baccalaureate program.
Other Considerations for Community College over Undergraduate Institutions
The other consideration in choosing community college over a 4-year institution has to do with preparation and other costs besides tuition that a person will be confronted with when graduating from high school. Add fees, books, and supplies to the cost of a 4-year public college education and the cost rises to a total of just over $22,000. This would be$43,000 for a 4-year private college or university. Community college students have a greater opportunity to further save on costs by living at home and commuting to classes as opposed to living in a dorm, which contributes immensely to the overall cost of a 4-year public or private college or university.
The ability of many community college students to transfer some or all of their course work from a 2-year institution to a 4-year college or university is another factor in support of using community colleges as the first level of access to the college experience. More state legislatures and even Congress grapple with the issue of making all college coursework count, regardless of whether those credits were earned at a community college or another 4-year college or university. The beneficiary of these changes will be individuals who are looking to hold down the overall cost of college, eliminate a potential debt that could take a lifetime to pay off, and achieve the necessary credentials for life.
About the Author
CJ Gordon is a recent college graduate and former community college attendee. If you’re looking for an expanding your knowledge and skill set with A+ certification, CJ recommends visiting www.totalsem.com/a-certification/