Affording Community College

Updated September 13, 2017 |
Affording Community College
Learn about the different financial options you have for affording community college.
Embarking on a journey of higher education can be exciting, confusing and stressful all at the same time. To help with the financial aspect of education, current and prospective community college students are in a unique position to choose from various forms of student aid available. As you navigate your way through the myriad of financing options out there, let this overview help you in making the right decisions about financing your education.
 
While the average college tuition rates are rising fast across the country, you may be pleased to learn that the average cost of tuition at a community college is just under $2,300 per year (American Association of Community Colleges 2007). Although this cost is relatively low when compared to 4-year institutions, many students still find themselves looking for ways to finance their community college education. Unfortunately, it is also a fact that most parents are either unwilling or unable, for various financial or personal reasons, to finance all of the costs of sending their child to a community college.
 
You may be surprised to learn that there are over 1,200 community colleges across the country. In fact, 11.6 million students, just under half of all U.S. undergraduates, attend community colleges. Of those students, 47% receive some sort of financial aid (American Association of Community Colleges 2007).
 
The federal government alone provided more than $78 billion in various types of aid to college students last year (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). Although there is some indication that financial aid increases
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Updated April 20, 2018 |
Choosing a Community College
Learn how to evaluate and choose a community college that is right for you.
Many things factor in one’s selection process when choosing a community college. After briefly introducing you to these factors, we will discuss each factor in detail in turn. Here are some of the selection criteria that students consider when investigating community colleges:
  • Why are you going to school?
  • If you plan to continue with a four year degree, what type of articulation agreements does the community college have with four year colleges?
  • What type of coursework do you need?
  • Is cost an issue?
  • Do you want or need a virtual campus?
  • Do you have a four year college in mind?
  • Location, Location, Location!
  • On Campus Activities
  • Student Support
Let’s look at each of these factors in detail now that we have introduced them to you.
 
Most people attending a four year college go with the sole target of getting a four year bachelor’s degree to help prepare them for their professional career. But with community colleges, students attend for different purposes.Many students attend to get a two-year degree. There are, however, other end goals for students including:transferring to a four year college, getting a high school diploma, remedial education including “English as a Second language, personal growth, professional certification, or workplace required continuing education.” While nationwide statistics were not available, numbers are available by looking at records that BellevueCommunity College in Bellevue, Washington, collected from 2002 to 2004 on the purposes that their students reported for their enrollment intent. The following statistics is from their Fall 2004 student population (the statistics do not total 100% probably due to rounding
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Updated April 20, 2018 |
What is a Community College?
Learn about what community colleges are, how they work, and how they can benefit you.
Ivy Tech Community College
A community college (also known as a junior college) is a higher education institution that provides a two year curriculum that can include leading to an associate’s degree. Other programs in place include a transfer program towards a four year degree and occupational programs (one and two year programs of study). Besides coursework focusing on academic programs, courses are also often offered at the community college for personal growth or development.
 
Historically, community colleges sprang up in the early 20th century as a way to meet young adults’ needs who did not or could not afford to leave their families to pursue further education. Early on, many community colleges helped support African Americans and women who wanted to go to college. Many students prepared for grammar school teaching positions or enrolled in new vocational education programs in community colleges. These smaller schools were developed locally, in communities, further distinguishing them from typical four year schools which had campuses where students needed to leave home and stay in student dorms. 
 
Traditionally, the community college student went to school to pick up a two year degree. Now it is quite common for community college students to continue on in their education within a four year college (thus transferring their community college credits).
 
What can you study at a Community College?
 
Many of the subjects taught in a four year college are also taught in a community college. Most students attending community colleges pursue the following endeavors:
  • Associate degrees (Two year degrees).
  • Transfer Programs.A transfer program is
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