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Is Community College for You?

a community college classroom with an instructor at the front of the room


Every year, millions of students begin their college journey at community colleges. Did you know that 40% of undergraduate students get their start at a community college?

The draw for many students is the low cost. Yearly tuition and fees are about $3,440 at two-year public schools, while a public four-year school costs about $9,410, according to The College Board. Community college students also save money by living at home with their parents or guardians.

Accordingly, community colleges allow students to make a good impression for the four-year college or university of their choice. If a student didn’t get into a school because of poor grades, they can improve their GPA at a community college before transferring.

Taking the financial pressure off students also allows them to determine what they want to major in when they transfer to a four-year college or university. There are other benefits of attending a community college as well, according to Marian Anderfuren, a spokeswoman at Tidewater Community College in Virginia.

“When you go into a freshman survey course at a four-year college or university, there are hundreds of other people,” she said. “At community colleges, classes are very much smaller.” Classes at community colleges have about 25-30 students, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.

In addition, professors at community colleges 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% 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 earn an undergraduate degree, 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 school of your choice.

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