Last Updated: May 7, 2015
by Jessica Zdunek
It’s no secret college is expensive. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average annual cost of a private four-year university has shot up to $33,716. While college is important, most people find paying for college impossible unless they have scholarships or grants to help cover the cost.
But even if you’ve taken the initiative to apply for scholarships and other sources of free money for college, a four-year school can still be out of your price range.
That’s where community colleges come in.
Community colleges sometimes get a bad rap. You may have heard that they’re for people with low GPAs. People who can’t get in anywhere else. People who weren’t motivated enough to apply to a good four-year school on time.
Guess what? None of these stereotypes are true. Community colleges offer you a huge bang for your buck, allowing you to graduate with no debt, or significantly fewer loans than you may have taken out at a four-year university. Here are some of the things you’ll save on:
With college costs skyrocketing, everyone’s trying to save money on tuition. By choosing community college, you’ll spend thousands – sometimes tens of thousands – less in tuition and fees. If you’re on a budget or haven’t been granted any scholarships or grants, community college is a great place to cut back on tuition expenses.
The majority of community college students live with their families. Even if you’re responsible for helping out by paying for groceries or certain bills, it’s significantly cheaper to live at home than it is to live in a dorm. You can also save big by eating at home instead of buying a meal plan or eating out all the time.
If you can take public transportation to school, you’ll really be able to save big. But even driving a short distance to your local community college a few days a week can be cheap if your other option is a college on the opposite coast. The cost of plane tickets home for Thanksgiving weekend, winter break, spring break, summer vacation, and any other long weekends you want to spend with family can add up quickly.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a four-year school, but don’t discount a community college right away – it just may be your best bet when it comes to paying for college.
image credit: tacomacc.edu
Original Post Date: May 11th, 2015