Community college offers a wonderful alternative to traditional four-year colleges and universities in many ways. Not only are community college degrees generally much more affordable, but the programs themselves are also very flexible. Many community colleges offer online classes which is particularly beneficial for non-traditional students, including parents and students who work a full-time job. Keep reading to learn more about non-traditional students in community college and tips for success.
What is a Non-Traditional Student?
College students come in all kinds of packages, but the majority of students fall into the same categories in terms of age and lifestyle. When it comes to community college versus four-year colleges and universities, however, there are some major differences among the student body. Community colleges tend to attract more “non-traditional” students, but what does that really mean? According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are seven characteristics that are commonly seen in students who qualify as “non-traditional” – here they are:
- Didn’t go to college right after graduating high school
- Attending college part-time instead of full-time
- Working a full-time job while in school
- Being financially independent of parents and family
- Having children or other dependents
- Being a single parent
- Having a GED rather than a high school diploma
Of course, not all non-traditional students fit all of these criteria, but you really only need one to be grouped in this category. You may be surprised to learn, however, just how common non-traditional students are at the undergraduate level as a whole – it is close to 75% of
Many students choose community college over a traditional four-year university because it is the more affordable option. A year of tuition at community college could be as low as $3,500 compared to more than $33,000 for a private university. But just because community college is more affordable doesn’t necessarily mean it is any less a real college. Many community colleges strive to mimic the “true” college experience by offering their students campus housing and social activities.
Another way in which community colleges strive to compete with traditional universities is by offering athletics programs. In early March of 2017, community college athletics was a trending topic on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media. Keep reading to learn more.
Students Choose Community Colleges for Sports
In early March 2017, the Twitter hashtag #communitycollege was filled with announcements made by incoming community college students making commitments based on athletics. Here is an overview of some of those announcements:
- On March 2, 2017, Twitter handle @jvaught11 posted, “Excited to announce that I have signed to play baseball at Chandler Gilbert Community College.” Home of the Wild Coyotes, Chandler Gilbert Community College is located in Chandler, Arizona and they offer a variety of different sports programs including baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, softball and volleyball.
- On March 8, 2017, Twitter handle @CoachRegalado posted, “Congrats to @mgonzalez13 on her visit and PWO offer to Laredo Community College!” Laredo Community College, also known as LCC, is located in Laredo, Texas and offers sports programs including baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis,
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
Though many people still think that community college is a lesser version of a traditional four-year university, the truth is that your education will be what you make it – it doesn’t really matter where you go to school. In the end, all that really matters is the effort you put into it and how well you take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. If you want to graduate from community college with the best chance for future success, follow these top ten tips when you start attending school.
Why Attend a Community College?
According to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), almost half of all undergraduate students in the United States attend community college. Community college appeals to a diverse range of students from recent high school graduates to adults seeking continued education. Many students enjoy the flexibility and affordability of community college as compared to traditional four-year universities, though both options come with their own set of unique challenges. Going to college, in general, is a major life event and the choices you make could influence your future success. Having the right mindset and being proactive about your community college career can help you to get the most out of your education.
This video offers reasons why you should attend community college.
Tips for New Community College Students
Though community college is very different from a traditional four-year university in many ways, in many ways it is very much the same.
Many students opt to attend community college over traditional four-year schools because it is generally cheaper to attend community college. But there are always hidden fees and extra costs to consider as an incoming student. This week on social media, various topics related to community college costs have been trending including Detroit’s action to make community college free and San Francisco’s move to use taxes to pay for community college. There was also an interesting post made by NPR regarding a rise in hunger and homelessness as college costs increase.
San Francisco Becomes First U.S. City to Offer Tuition-Free Community College
On Saturday, February 11 the Twitter handle @CNN (CNN News) posted a link to a news article regarding San Francisco’s decision to offer free community college to all residents starting in the fall of 2017. San Francisco will be the first U.S. city to make this choice and it has many residents in uproar, considering that the tuition costs will be paid for by property taxes equaling more than $5 million. CNN news writer Katie Lobosco reports that this tax is called the “real estate transfer tax” and it was increased in 2016 for both commercial and residential properties, an increase that was approved by voters in November of 2016.
The real estate transfer tax begins at 2.25% and goes as high as 3% for properties with an estimated worth exceeding $25 million. The tax is expected to bring in an average