Save Money on College Through Community College Programs

With the cost of a college education rising faster than inflation, and the average graduate in 2016 carrying $37,172 in student loan debt, many entering colleges are rethinking the traditional path of four to six years at a major university to obtain the all-important college degree. One strategy to keep costs at bay is beginning the first year or two at a local community college, which has the potential to reduce student loan debt balances in half.

It is possible to save thousands of dollars without sacrificing the quality of education through the community college route. Most freshmen retake the high school curriculum with schedules including classes like biology, calculus, English, and history. Here are the top ways to save money by attending a community college before transferring to a University.

  1. Tuition. In the 2016-17 school year, the average in-state tuition was $9,650 and the average private college tuition $33,488. Community colleges average $3,260, much of which students can cover through grants, eliminating the need for loans during the first year or two of school.
  2. Room and Board. Nearly doubling the cost of attending school, room and board is a major factor in the cost of secondary education. Public universities room and board expenses average $10,440 with private universities at $11,890. Living at home the first two years of college can reduce or eliminate housing costs.
  3. Flexibility. Community colleges gear classes towards working adults. They offer classes in traditional classrooms, online, and night classes, giving students the ability to attend either part-time or full-time.

Saving money, the first two years of school, and then transferring to a university will result in a degree from the university of your choice, without leaving you with an average of over $37,000 in debt.