Community college enrollment has been steadily growing in popularity in recent years. According to recent figures from the American Association of Community Colleges, enrollment is over 13 million, which represents about half of all college and university students in the US.
One of the main reasons for this growth is likely the relatively low tuition cost of attending community college. Full-time tuition, based on two 15-unit semesters is about $600 -$5,400 per year, or an average of $2,361 according to the American Association of Community Colleges.
Many students go to community college to earn their associates degree in specialized fields (some popular fields are dental hygiene, computer technology, and nursing). However, many students attend community college in order to take advantage of the low unit costs that such schools offer in addition to the savings that can be recognized by continuing to live at home.
If you are a high school senior and are financing college on your own or have a smaller family budget for school, don’t forget to consider community college as an option.
When considering community college students should try to plan further out by anticipating what 4-year college they would like to attend following completion of their lower credits. Most community colleges maintain specific articulation agreements with four-year universities that outline exactly which courses will transfer. On occasion these articulation agreements also include agreements on the universities part to admit students who meet grad and course work requirements automatically. Students should pay close attention to such details, as courses that do not transfer equate to a loss of both time and money.
If you are already a college student, consider taking summer classes at a community college, or see if your school allows students to take courses at community college during the academic school year.
An additional bonus about community college is the flexibility that they offer. Because these colleges cater to a wide range of students they often have more evening and weekend classes and also have a variety of online courses and even telecourses.