The cost of a college education continues to rise — and financial aid isn’t keeping pace. As such, it’s becoming financially unfeasible for many students to afford a college education. One option many students tend to overlook is enrolling at a community college.
The main difference between a community college and a college is that degrees at a community college take two years to complete while those at a university take four years. That said, a community college enables students to get an education and develop marketable skills that allow them to compete in the future workforce.
Here are the top five benefits of community college students should still consider.
1. Lower Tuition and Fees
Overall, the cost of tuition is going to be significantly cheaper at a community college than at a university. Attending community college could mean avoiding crippling student loan debt, which often forces college graduates to delay home ownership, financial independence, and other adult milestones. Ultimately, less student loan debt will provide a higher financial return on the cost of education.
It’s also possible to start at a community college and proceed to transfer to a four-year school. By getting an associate’s degree, students will have completed half the credits needed for a four-year degree, chopping up to $20,000 or more off the total cost of a bachelor’s degree.
Saving money is one of the most significant benefits of community college, but there are other benefits as well.
2. Increased Flexibility and Smaller Classes
Community colleges allow for flexible scheduling, including night classes and asynchronous coursework. The flexibility doesn’t end there, as students have the opportunity to explore different majors. Since tuition costs are considerably cheaper at community colleges, students have more
freedom to explore and change their minds. Such flexibility also enables students to attend college while working or raising a family, making higher education accessible to more people.
Moreover, students at four-year universities can potentially reduce time-to-degree by taking two-year courses in the summer or outside of their four-year class time, as community colleges tend to offer most courses year-round.
Moreover, students can get more individual attention at a community college due to smaller class sizes.
3. Opportunity to Improve Student Transcripts
For students with less than rosy transcripts, community college offers a chance to improve their grades and access scholarships that were previously closed off to them. Core curriculum courses in community college are transferable to most public universities providing some students with the opportunity to “start over” and take on a new educational route.
Another one of the greatest benefits of community college is that many prestigious universities have transfer agreements with local community colleges, providing students with the opportunity to get the GPA they need to qualify.
4. Further Professional Education/Licensure
It’s quite possible to complete a four-year degree and lack certain courses required for licensure in some professions like teaching and nursing. For such students, enrolling in community college is a great way to attain missing coursework.
Community colleges offer programs in many fields of study. Students are sure to find a program that fits their needs, no matter their interests.
5. Plenty of Work Opportunities With a Two-Year Degree
The skills and education received at a community college can significantly increase an individual’s earning power. In fact, continuing education in any capacity paves the way for more job opportunities.
Community colleges are developed specifically to economically empower the communities they serve. They offer students leadership, internship, and volunteer opportunities that are a direct result of relationships built within the community and which transfer well into the job market.