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Analysis of College Tuition Savings: Why a Community College May Be the Better Choice

written by: Mary White•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 12/5/2011

Are you looking for a way to avoid having to borrow so much money to pay for your college tuition? Did you know that you can save a lot of money simply by taking your core courses at a community college, then transferring to the senior university of your choice? Find out more!

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    Affordable Community College Tuition

    money Are you concerned with finding the money to pay for college? While it's true that student loans, grants, and scholarships may help you pay for your education, there are also choices you can make to control the cost of your education. Community colleges, for example, offer an affordable option for individuals seeking higher education with a minimal expense. Even if your plan involves earning a Bachelor's degree or higher, you can begin your coursework at a community college and transfer to a senior university once you have completed your core classes.

    But is it as easy as that? Let's take a look at Community College tuition vs. University tuition.

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    Comparing the Two

    The difference between university tuition and community college tuition can be quite significant. Depending on where you live, community college tuition can be as much as 25 percent less than senior university costs. Everyone who enrolls in a degree program at a senior university is required to complete certain basic classes prior to focusing on major-related coursework. By getting your English, math, science, and other required core curriculum classes out of the way at an inexpensive community college, you can enjoy significant college tuition savings in terms of the total expense of your college education.

    Even though tuition at state operated community colleges can be significantly lower than that of senior universities, the credits you earn (assuming you meet minimum grade requirements) for core requirements are likely to transfer and count toward your ultimate program of study. Before choosing this path, be sure to verify that the credits you earn at the community college you are considering attending will transfer to the school where you want to complete your studies. Typically, community colleges and state universities within the same state have a reciprocity agreement, meaning that credits earned for core curriculum classes must transfer from one to the other.

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    Make the Most of College Tuition Savings

    If you are looking for ways to maximize college tuition savings, it only makes sense to choose the least expensive route to earning credits for the basic classes that every student has to take regardless of major. Comparing community college tuition vs. university tuition makes it clear that that starting out at a two-year school can really reduce the amount of student loans that you need to take out in order to pay for your education.

    As an added bonus, when you begin your college career at a community college and finish it at a senior university, you just might find that your credits can apply to an Associate degree from the first school in addition to being transferable to the second one. This would mean that you would be able to earn an Associate degree and a Bachelor's degree for less than you would have paid for your B.A. or B.S. coursework if you took all of your classes at the four-year school.

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    • - Benefits of Attending a Community College (
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