Community colleges increasingly attractive for wealthier students

With more students filling out college applications for the nation's top schools than ever before, many students from wealthier families are choosing to attend community colleges after graduating from high school, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Increasing costs at private schools and the high quality of education provided by many community colleges are changing attitudes toward two-year schools among students from wealthier families. Financial pressures on families who may be unable to send their children to private four-year colleges are making community colleges an increasingly attractive option.

"A lot of folks in the middle class are taking a look at community colleges," Walter Bumphus, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, told the news source. "The increases are significant."

According to a report by student financial giant SallieMae, 22 percent of students from families earning more than $100,000 per year attended community colleges last year, an increase of 6 percentage points from four years ago. The number of families taking advantage of educational grant programs also rose significantly, up from 30 percent in 2010 to 46 percent in 2011.

If you're thinking about filling out college applications, two-year schools can be a great way to explore new majors and experience college-level work at a more affordable rate. Ask your college admissions advisor about the kinds of programs offered at community colleges.

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