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5 Community Colleges That Cost More Than Four-Year Schools

In general, two-year and community colleges are a smart way to land some hefty college savings. According to the College Board, a student at a public two-year college pays, on average, approximately one-third in tuition and fees of what an in-state student at a public four-year school pays. While the vast majority of two-year students do pay substantially less than their four-year counterparts, there are exceptions. Using data from the Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center and updating it with more recent net price figures, we’ve determined that these two-year schools have the highest net prices.

Florida Keys Community College

Key West, Florida
Net price: $22,933

Students only pay $2,878 per year in tuition for a Florida Keys education, but this college’s sweet location drives up the cost of attendance. According to the FKCC site, in-state students who won’t be living with mom and dad should add an estimated $16,262 in room and board to their college costs. For out-of-state residents, the costs rise to $22,106 per year.

Becoming a resident can eliminate out-of-state costs. Residency requirements vary from state to state, but most require students to provide documentation that they have lived in that state for at least one to two years. A full guide to residency requirements can be found at CollegeBoard.com.

Mohave Community College

various locations in Arizona
Net price: $19,552

With a tuition price of $1,656 per year for in-state residents, MCC has one of the cheapest sticker prices around, but factor in room, board and living expenses and the estimated cost of attendance shoots up to $27,248 for full-time in-state residents living off campus.

When costs climb, students frequently reduce their college hours to make time for a job says Judith Wertheim, vice-president of higher education services for the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, a Chicago-based nonprofit that works to increase higher education access and success.

“There’s a lot of financial aid that’s available for part-time students but that lengthens the time that you’ll be in school,” she says. “Financial aid very often expires after a particular length of time.”

Before moving from full to part-time, Wertheim recommends double checking that your financial aid awards will carry over.

NHTI-Concord’s Community College

Concord, New Hampshire
Net price: $17,613

Not all two-year schools have super cheap tuition. NH residents pay $210 per credit at this school, but out-of-staters pay more than double. If tuition is pricey, harness what you already know.

“Another thing to check out at the institution is whether they award credit for prior learning, for learning that you’ve acquired outside the college classroom,” she says.

While some institutions allow students to take placement tests and skip certain intro courses, others accept certain scores on CLEP exams administered by the College Board.

Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute

Wooster, Ohio
Net price: $16,896

This two-year school is a part of the Ohio State University system and it shows in price. Tuition here is more than twice the price of one year at the average public community or technical college. The good news, says Judith Wertheim, is that your boss might help through tuition assistance or reimbursement programs.

“This can be a huge help in affording a post-secondary credential and there are many employers that do offer tuition assistance,” adds Wertheim. “Some advertise it more than others.”

The catch is that employer-sponsored assistance programs sometimes come with restrictions on what the student can study and may require the student to stay with that employer for years after the degree is complete.

Inver Hills Community College

Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Net price: $15,958

At $5,250 per year, tuition makes up a big chunk of the cost of attendance at this school, but students should be less worried about tuition and more about turning the tassel. Only 19 percent of full-time IHCC students graduate within 150 percent of the “Normal Time” necessary to complete their program of study reports the College Board.

To make sure you’re not stuck in school too long, Wertheim recommends that students “…talk with an advisor to find out specifically what courses you will need.”

Visit the Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center [3] for tuition costs.