Footing the bill for your child’s college education is one of the most expensive parts of being a parent. However, many parents are slashing those expenses in half by sending their teens to a local community college for the first two years of their college career and later switching to a four-year college to complete their Bachelor’s degree.
How can a community college save you a bundle?
1. Tuition. According to an article published by US News, the average annual cost of tuition for a community college is a mere $2,500, while its four-year counterparts average $7,000 for a public university and $26,000 for a private college.
When starting in a community college, you can save between $4,500 and $23,500 per year on tuition. Over two years, your savings amount to $9,000 to $47,000!
These savings don’t include the extra expenses associated with attending college – just the tuition. Therefore, your savings are bound to increase when considering other college-related costs.
2. Financial Assistance. If your teen is eligible to receive grants from the government, your out-of-pocket costs may very well drop to $0. You can use these years of “free” college to ramp up your savings for the upcoming years your student will spend in a four-year college.
Many students even receive a check for the overage of their grant, ranging from $200 to $600 or more per semester.
It’s a misconception that only children from low-income families can receive grants. However, the government offers both needs-based and non-needs-based grants. This is in addition to the aid received through the FAFSA and other sources like scholarships.
3. Room and Board. Next to tuition, room and board will be the most costly expense of sending your kid to college. Attending a local community college allows you to forego this expense by having your teen live at home.
According to Collegeboard.com, annual room and board at a public college averages $7,400, while the average is over $8,500 at a private college.
Even if you decide to give your teen the “ultimate college experience” by allowing them to live in the dorm, the room and board rates of a community college are significantly lower than those charged by four-year colleges.
Keep in mind that most community colleges refrain from offering housing to their students.
4. Fewer amenities. Community colleges are designed to keep costs low for the students. Therefore, a no-frills campus is the norm. It’s common for community colleges to forego dorm rooms, elaborate sports teams and stadiums, fraternities/sororities, and other distractions.
Eliminating some of these “frills” will help your student focus on his schoolwork rather than indulging in dorm life, a bowling league, or a fraternity.
Another reason community colleges can keep costs so low is because they often forego teacher’s assistants, which are generally paid an average of $15,000 per year. Professors must take on a heavier workload, but students benefit from being taught by a professor rather than an assistant.
In short: there’s nothing wrong with community colleges. Yes, there will be fewer frills, and your teen will have to become comfortable with the fact that they’ll live with mom and dad for two more years. But this also avoids rowdy roommates and the distractions that ensue.
Your teen may be giving up a few parts of “the ultimate college experience” for the first two years, but they can make up for it in the final years of their college career. Also, your teen may be able to graduate from college with little to no debt. For most kids, it’s a worthy tradeoff.
Would you like to know more about which type of post-secondary school is right for your teen? Schedule a complimentary College Assessment Plan call with me here.