College tuition costs have been on the rise for the past several years. The availability of grants and scholarships have begun to plummet, leaving many students with few options for pursuing a college education. Tuition at a major university will cost the average student approximately 30-40% more per semester than at a community college. Although students always have the option to take out loans to cover the cost of their education, many graduates are finding themselves in loads of debt leading to defaulting on their student loan payments after graduation. Community colleges provide students and opportunity to attend college with little need for student loans. With the average student saving thousands on their college education, it is not surprising to see community colleges gaining in popularity.
The Community College Advantage
In addition to saving money on tuition, students that attend community college often save money on room and board by living with other students in off campus housing or with family. Many students find attending community college a pleasant experience due to the lower student-teacher ratios. It is easier to get to know their professor and feel part of the group, rather than to be another face in the crowd of students. For students who work during the day to pay for their educations costs, community college offers a wide range of class schedules during the day and evening.
In the past, community college may have been perceived as a second choice college, reserved for those who couldn’t get into their number one college choice. But recently, many top High School achievers have made the choice to attend community college before transferring to a university. Freshman applications to community colleges have nearly doubled since 2009 and many more applicants are adult re-entry student over the age of 25. Universities have seen a significant increase in their population growth coming as transfers from community colleges. Many students felt attending a community college prior to transferring to a larger institution would provide them with an opportunity to explore their interests, without spending thousands on classes they may not need in the end.