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5 Benefits of Choosing a Community College Over a University

With the cost of an advanced degree going up every year, students might be looking for ways to further their education, without taking on more debt than they are comfortable with.

Starting a degree at a community college and later transferring to a larger university to finish a bachelor’s degree can be an effective way to get a name brand education and network at a discount. Besides the cost benefits, we will also outline the four other upsides community colleges offer students.

Community Colleges Are More Affordable

According to the Community College Review, the average tuition for full-time, in-state students in 2018-19 is $4,836. This is half the average cost of attending a public university as an in-state student. While this doesn’t cover the cost of fees and books needed, it is a smaller starting figure.

Read more: How Much Does College Cost in 2019?

When available, you can also save even more money by attending a community college near home. This allows you to live at home rather than spend more money on rent. For students that need to keep an income stream while attending school, flexible community college schedules could make it easier to work part-time.

Community Colleges Have Smaller Class Sizes

You may be familiar with the movie troupe of a large lecture hall freshman class. That isn’t so far from the truth for introduction courses at large universities. By comparison, community college classes are generally much smaller.

Smaller class size is a benefit for both the students and teachers. Teachers are able to give more individual attention to students and tailor the experience to fit the needs of a smaller group. Students will also be able to get to know their classmates, ask questions during the lesson, and have one-on-one conversations with teachers in a smaller classroom environment.

Less Strict Admission Requirements

Community colleges are great for students who want to earn a degree, but might not have a competitive high school GPA for applications. By offering students an opportunity to improve their grades and earn credits towards a degree, community colleges are also helping students become better candidates for university admission requirements.

One important thing to keep in mind if you are hoping to transition to a four-year school for your Bachelors—how your credits will transfer. You don’t want to pay for a class you already took at a higher price tag.  

Improved Academic Quality at Community Colleges

In the past, community colleges were looked down on by some, and were not considered a strong academic experience. That has been changing, and while there is still variety in the student experience, community colleges are more widely accepted as a way to knock out gen ed courses before transferring to a four-year program.

Community colleges have improved their academic standards to attract more students and meet the transfer requirements of larger universities. This also creates the opportunity for students already attending a four-year university to take summer classes at local community colleges for a lower cost.

Easier Transition from High School to College

Typically the transition to community college is easier on students leaving high school.  With smaller classrooms, flexible schedules, and entry-level courses, students who are concerned about getting lost in a large school might find community college a better fit.

There is also the stress of leaving home and the newfound independence of living on your own that can be disruptive for students.

This article was written by Carolyn Pairitz Morris, Senior Editor at Earnest.

Disclaimer: This blog post provides personal finance educational information, and it is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice.