Despite the obviously expensive venture that is trying to get yourself a higher college education, there are a number of ways that you can cut these high costs and still get your degree. For all the ideas currently floating the media, the single greatest money saver you can conjure up is opting to attend a community college. It is no exaggeration to say that choosing to spend your first two years studying in a community college could literally save you thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.
As a testament to the superior decision in alloting your first two years to a community college, the primary opposition to this idea comes from the vocal, business driven universities. Although a high quality, long term education can come from these schools, they are not primarily intended to be a service of learning, and have a financial aim to them. It should go without saying that, armed with a need to maintain a customer base as much as a student body, universities’ objectivity should probably be brought into question in this case.
The truth of the matter is, for the first two years of at one of these smaller colleges, you are still accruing credit that can later be transferred to a university, if that is your ultimate decision. If pure learning is something that interests you, this may actually be better in the long term, as universities usually teach their newer students in large, open auditoriums where you will be packed to the brim with your classmates. Meanwhile, a grad student will likely do the majority of the lecturing, as the professor is often too busy digging into his research.
But once more, it cannot really be understated the financial burden that would be lifted by deciding to go to a local school. As their name implies, community colleges are intended to appeal to the local community, which are usually in short commuting distances. This allows you to save a great deal of money not only in tuition, but will also cut back on moving costs, and you will not have to pay for expensive lodging, as you can go to school while staying in your own home.
However, it’s also important to understand that you will not get a four year degree from these colleges – and therefore they need to be regarded as a money saving alternative to entry level education, not a different source of your bachelor’s. Therefore, you should consider making a savings account, filled with the thousands of dollars you’ll be saving by opting not to leap straight into one of the bigger, expensive schools. These can all later be applied to the cumbersome financial burdens that will come later.
In addition, many states offer incentives, bonuses, and financial assistance to families that are interested in participating in school, as long as they are currently enrolled in a community college. These excellent programs also fundamentally lock in your eventual tuition fees – as long as you are planning to go to a university later – and will help by freezing the costs, preventing you from suffering from the burden of future inflation. This is an important thing to plan for, as the cost of school tuition is only rising, with no signs of stopping.