Is Community College for You?
Every year, millions of students begin their college journey at community colleges. About 40 percent of undergraduate students get their start at community colleges.
The draw for many students is cost. Yearly tuition and fees are about $3,440 at two-year public schools, while a public for-year school costs about $9,410, according to The College Board. Community college students also save money by living at home with their parents.
Another perk: Community colleges allow students to make a good impression on the four-year college or university of their choice. If a student didn’t get into a college of their choice because of poor grades, they can work to have a strong GPA at their community college before transferring.
Taking the financial pressure off students also allows them more time to determine what they want to major in when they transfer to a four-year university. There are other benefits to attending a community college as well, said Marian Anderfuren, a spokeswoman at Tidewater Community College in Virginia.
“When you go into a freshman survey course at a four-year university, there are hundreds of other people,” she said. “At community colleges, classes are very much smaller.”
Classes at community colleges have about 25 to 30 students, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.
In addition, professors at community college have more time to focus on students. Many community college professors do not need to focus on research or getting published, Anderfuren said.
Although community colleges help students graduate with less debt, many community college students never receive their degree. Only 17 percent of students who transfer from a community college to a four-year college or university earn a bachelor's degree within six years, according to the Community College Research Center at Columbia University.
If you’re determined to graduate, but not sure what you want to do and looking to save money, community college could be right for you. Just make sure your college credits will transfer to the college of your choice.