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Save Money on School: Start at a Community College

Posted By Miranda Marquit On 06/28/2012 @ 12:10 pm In Education | 6 Comments

For many parents and students, the cost of college [3] is one of the most daunting expenditures likely to be faced. The cost of a four-year degree keeps rising, and if the student goes on to graduate school, the expenses continue to pile up even higher.

One way to reduce the cost of an education is to start out at a less expensive school. Community colleges offer a number of advantages that can help you get a good start on your education, while costing you less.

Save Money by Attending Community College

There are a number of ways to save money by starting out at a community college. My husband started out at a community college, and then transferred to a four-year school to finish his bachelor’s degree. He now has a graduate degree [4], and his progression wasn’t once held up by the fact that he started out at a community college. Here some of the ways that you can save money by attending community college:

  • Community college costs less: In many cases, a community college has lower tuition than a four-year school. Additionally, you might be eligible for local scholarships that can help you offset the cost.
  • Save on living expenses by going close to home: My husband saved a lot on room and board by living at home while attending community college. Instead of going to school hours away, stay at home for two years and reap the savings, from groceries, to laundry, to utilities.
  • Boost your GPA for a scholarship: My husband used his time at community college to good effect, making sure he did well in classes. When he was ready to transfer to a four-year school, his GPA helped him land a scholarship. Do well at community college, and you might not have to pay as much when you transfer.
  • Choose an associate degree that pays: In some career fields [5], an associate degree or professional certification is all you need to get started in your career. I know several people who received an education in a two-year program for radiology, or some other health career. After two years, they were able to start earning money — without the need to spend more money on further education.

With a little planning, it’s possible to save money by attending a community college, and reducing your overall cost of an education.

Choosing Your Courses

You do need to choose courses with care, however. If you plan to transfer to a four-year school, some of your credits may not apply. Actually receiving your associate degree can help you avoid most general classes in some cases, but it’s not guaranteed. Make sure you understand the transfer policy at your four-year school of choice. Keep the course descriptions, since you may need them. My husband used a course description from his community college to substitute for one of his generals — even though the class wasn’t offered at the four-year school.

In the end, it’s best to consider all your options, and choose a path that will give you the best value for your education dollar.

(Photo: ajagendorf25 [6])


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[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/save-money-school-start-community-college.html

[3] cost of college: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/what-will-college-really-cost-you.html

[4] graduate degree: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/graduate-degree-worth-money.html

[5] some career fields: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/worst-paying-jobs-united-states.html

[6] ajagendorf25: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajagendorf25/5734972521/

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