Community colleges are educational institutions that typically offer two-year degrees to students (although some may offer four-year B.A. and B.S. degrees). Community colleges usually do not have on-campus housing and may not offer the same services to students as more traditional four-year colleges. Community colleges also typically have more trade and vocational courses that are difficult to find at more traditional four-year universities. For a variety of reasons, attending community college to save money is possible because tuition at community colleges is often lower than other four-year universities.
Attending community college to save money may make sense if you wish to enter a field that does not require a four-year degree. Many people assume that attending a four-year college is a requirement in order to enter a lucrative profession. However, many trades do not require a four-year college education, and students may not wish to borrow the student loans needed to earn a four-year degree if they do not need that degree to enter a field.
As a result, if you wish to enter a trade, technical field, or other more blue-collar industries, attending community college to save money may be a great idea. Community colleges might have a targeted credential for the particular trade you wish to enter and will provide more hands-on training than may be learned at a university. In addition, community colleges will almost assuredly cost less money than a traditional four-year university and individuals can likely save money by living at home while they attend a community college.
Attending a community college to save money may also be desirable if you wish to eventually enroll at a four-year university. Sometimes, people can attend community college for the first two years of their college education. During this time, they may save money because they only have to pay the discounted tuition of community colleges and may save money while living at home.
However, after those two years, many community college students may be eligible to transfer to a more traditional four-year university. Once at a four-year college, they can start fresh with their GPA and resume their studies as an ordinary student of that college. However, they may have less student debt than individuals who attended college since the start of their college experience because they paid discounted community college tuition for their first two years of college.
My sister-in-law is one such person who used this strategy to minimize her student debt. This sister-in-law of mine attended a local community college for her first two years of college. During this time, she was able to save money by living at home and paying the discounted tuition of her local community college.
After her second year at the community college, my sister-in-law was able to transfer into a leading state college in my home state. She graduated with a degree from this college, and she rarely mentions how she attended a community college for her first two years of college. When she applied for jobs, her degree from the four-year college was the main educational accomplishment upon which her applications were based and attending community college allowed her to earn that degree with lower expenses.
Attending community college to save money can help if you find yourself in other situations as well. For instance, many colleges have mid-year programs through which students are admitted to the university so long as they begin their studies after skipping a semester. The college may get the chance to renovate dormitories and reduce the number of students on campus through such programs, and students may get into a university through such a program when they wouldn’t be admitted through the regular admission process.
Mid-year students can pursue a number of opportunities during their gap semester. Some volunteer with meaningful organizations, and other students spend their gap semester traveling. However, some students attend community colleges during their gap semester and pay less during this semester than when they attend a full four-year university. So long as they are able to transfer their community college credits to their eventual university, paying less tuition during this time can lessen your educational costs.
Attending community college to save money may also make sense during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since many campuses are closed because of COVID-19, numerous students do not see the value of attending a high-cost college if they will not be able to enjoy the experience typically enjoyed by college students. Some undergraduates are spending a semester or two at local community colleges instead to complete some courses.
So long as their college will accept such credit, this can be a great way to reduce educational costs. Moreover, because many community colleges now have virtual classes, attending community college courses is now easier than ever. Of course, college students need to do their research and make sure that any community college credits can be transferred to their four-year university, attending community college to save money can be a wise way to ride out part of the pandemic.
All told, attending community college to save money is advisable for individuals who wish to enter certain fields, or those who want to boost their grades before attending a four-year college. Moreover, attending community college may be advisable for mid-year students and those who wish to ride out the pandemic away from their four-year university.