It’s common knowledge that community college is more affordable than tuition at a private university, but that may not be universally true. The average cost of tuition at community college is $3,660 per year, a cost that is twice as high as it was 30 years ago. Even if community college is less costly than a traditional four-year college, it isn’t cheap and there are other costs to consider.
In this article, we’ll determine whether community college is really the most affordable option and what costs other than tuition students should plan for. You’ll also receive some helpful tips for managing your money while attending community college.
The True Cost of a College Degree
Over the past few decades, a college degree has changed from a luxury that only the privileged were able to obtain into a necessity if you want to obtain anything more than a minimum wage-paying job. A strong work ethic is no longer enough to land a job or to keep it and many fields have begun to require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree for even entry-level positions.
Statistics show that college graduates earn 66% more than those with only a high school diploma and, over the course of a lifetime, earn about $1 billion more. It is important to consider, however, at what cost this benefit comes. A college degree has never been more necessary if you want to succeed in the workforce, but it has also never been more expensive.
Since 1992, the average amount a
Life as a single parent is tough enough without the added burden of going to school. If you’re already shouldering the load of parenthood by yourself, you’re probably hesitant to add more to your plate. Furthering your education, however, could provide opportunities both for yourself and for your children that could change your lives for the better.
Getting a degree can open doors for you, but it does come with its own challenges and many of those challenges are financial. Raising a child is expensive, and so is going to school! Student loans are available for single parents, but they may not be the best option.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of community college in particular for single parents and we’ll provide some tips for making it more affordable.
The Benefits of Community College for Single Parents
Whether you’re starting college for the first time or continuing your education, community college provides many unique benefits over traditional 4-year schools, especially for single parents.
The way community colleges are structured is much more flexible than the typical college or university. Many community colleges offer both in-class and online courses with tuition prices that are much lower than traditional schools. Classes are offered both during the day and in the evening, making it easier for busy single parents to find a class schedule that fits their lifestyle. Plus, this flexibility enables single parents to keep working while attending college.
Another benefit of community college for single parents is that you can customize every aspect
College tuition is not cheap, and the cost seems to rise with each passing year. According to College Board, the average yearly rate for in-state tuition at a public college is over $25,000. At a private college, tuition can cost upwards of $50,000 per year.
If you are determined to go to college but you don’t have an extra $25k to $50k per year to spend, consider community college as an alternative. The average cost for community college tuition is under $5,000 for in-state students and under $10,000 for out of state students. Even if you complete your general education requirements and then transfer to a four-year school, you’ll still be saving a lot of money.
While attending community college is much more affordable than paying for a four-year university, it is still a significant expense. Keep reading to learn about your options for financing community college, including common myths about scholarships, the different grants, and tips for reducing your costs while in school.
This video offers suggestions on how to pay for college.
Debunking Common Myths About College Scholarships
The word “scholarship” is a dangling carrot for high school students preparing for college. While most colleges and universities offer them, they often seem like they are just out of reach. Though you may not realize it, many community colleges offer scholarships as well and there are always private scholarships to consider.
Unfortunately, many students misunderstand certain facts about scholarships, which could prevent them from obtaining one. Here are five
If you are one of the millions of college graduates struggling with student loan debt, you might be considering an option to refinance. Even though community college is often more affordable than a traditional four-year university, school is never cheap. Depending on how much debt you have and how much you are able to pay, you might be able to consolidate and/or refinance your loans to make your payments more affordable – keep reading to learn more.
Save Money by Refinancing Your Student Loans
Refinancing your loans means that you will be repaying your existing debt by taking on a new loan with new terms, often from a new creditor. Two of the most common options for refinancing your student loans are private loan refinancing and federal loan consolidation. Again, it depends on the type of loans you have and how much debt you have as well. If you are able to refinance through a private lender you might be able to get a lower interest rate while federal loan consolidation is usually a good option for people who are looking to simplify the repayment process by lumping multiple loans into a single payment plan. Loan consolidation may or may not give you a better interest rate.
If you’re thinking about refinancing your community college student loans, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first:
- Why are you refinancing?
- What are your options?
- What rate can I get?
The first question about why you are refinancing is very important – your goals will help
Many students choose community college over a traditional four-year university because it is the more affordable option. With each passing year, however, college tuition costs are rising across the board. Attending community college may still be the more affordable option, but it is by no means cheap.
If you are thinking about attending community college, take the time to do some research to learn what kind of costs you can expect and how much financial aid you might qualify for. You should also familiarize yourself with some of the most common financial aid mistakes that community college students make so you can avoid making them yourself.
How Much Does Community College Cost?
When you think about the costs of attending community college you have to consider more than just tuition. Most community colleges charge for tuition on a per-credit-hour basis, though that is not always the case. The average cost for one year of tuition and fees to attend a public 2-year college is around $3,500 for in-state students. For a public 4-year college for in-state students, the average yearly cost is closer to $9,500. In addition to the cost of tuition and fees, you also have to think about things like school books, housing, and various living expenses like food and transportation. Many community college students are able to minimize these costs by continuing to live at home.
Financial Aid Options for Community College
To help you cover the cost of community college, there are a number of different kinds of financial aid