Tuition

This section will help you prepare for the costs of attending community college and any future increases. Explore pricing plans, learn where you may be able to attend community college tuition-free, and examine the latest initiatives to make higher education more affordable.
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Due to the financial challenges incoming students face, many local and state leaders are advocating for tuition-free community college programs. As community colleges strive to provide local residents with programs for certification, degrees, and training, many community leaders argue that tuition-free programs will help students to more effectively prepare for the job market without being subjected to excessive educational costs during difficult economic times.
 
The Tuition-Free Debate
 
As Diverse Community College reveals in their investigation, the county majors of both Knoxville and Memphis assert that residents of their communities should have access to free public education at local community colleges. Mayors A.C. Wharton and Mike Ragsdale of local Tennessee counties argue that, in utilizing the resources of scholarships and grants that are currently available, local community colleges can shift their current programs to create tuition free pathways for incoming and current students. As Tennessee, along with most states across the country, are struggling with job losses and a struggling economy, Wharton argues that the shift for tuition-free programs is Tennessee’s attempt at creating a more effective and prepared work force: “‘We want to blast our way into being able to produce a world-class work force. You can't do that with merely a high school diploma.’”
 
By collaborating with community college and local political leaders, the Tennessee mayors are working to establish a proposal that will provide residents with tuition-free access to higher education. As the leaders describe, “The community college program, as envisioned, would provide public and . . . read more

According to recent press release from the College Board, the cost of college courses during the 2008-2009 school year did not rise faster than the Consumer Price Index. As reporter Kim Clark from the US News and Report reports, “In the academic year starting in the fall of 2008, for the first time in six years, most college prices rose by less than inflation. Even better: After subtracting out the typical amount of scholarships and tax breaks, the average community college student paid only $101 for a year's worth of classes, down from $122 last year.” 
 
Although the dwindling economy poses new struggles for academic institutions and students, the silver lining may be seen more clearly as the analysis of tuition hikes and the rate of inflation is evaluated. 
 
How to Handle Potential Tuition Increases
 
Investigating Reports
 
Although the rise in college costs poses challenges to students and families, Gaston Caperton, the College Board President, asserts that understanding “information in the trends reports will help families to make better educational decisions.” As Gaston further reveals, “‘A college education is the passport to opportunity and success in today’s global economy. In this time of financial uncertainty, it is essential that students and families have the most up-to-date information on the true costs associated with making this important investment in their future.’” 
 
Caperton advocates that families should review and evaluate information in the College Board publication “Trends in College Pricing 2008,” as the trends report will help inform individuals and families with greater details regarding issues of higher . . . read more
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Recent Articles
Freshman Year in College Looks More and More Like High School
Freshman Year in College Looks More and More Like High School
Nearly 52 percent of community college students in the United States begin their freshman year in at least one remedial class. These courses, which help students acquire knowledge and skills they should have acquired in high school, do not count toward their degree requirements. As a result, students are taking longer than ever to obtain their degree, if they obtain one at all.
Federal Student Loans – Unavailable at 20% of Community Colleges
Although a community college education is inexpensive when compared to tuition and fees at a four-year institution, some students still need financial assistance to pay their education bills. Yet, some community colleges don’t participate in the federal student loan program, putting some students in a financial bind.
Post-Recession Cliff Looms for Community Colleges
While many factors have contributed to the current decline in community college enrollment, the recovering economy is chief among them. As more and more people return to the workforce, fewer students enroll in courses at community colleges. Many institutions must now deal with budget shortfalls in the face of double-digit declines in enrollment.
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