Community College / Lower Cost Schools

"Community College / Lower Cost Schools" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Monday 9th January 2012

Whatever type of school you attend after high school—a public or private university, trade school or Community College / Lower-cost schools— you have to be thinking about how you are going to pay for it. For many students and their parents, attending a few years of community college prior to enrolling at a four-year college is a wise idea. Not only can they save a significant amount of money on their tuition costs, but also on room, board, and transportation.

If you are determined to achieve the success that education beyond high school can bring, the investment is worth it. But that doesn’t mean managing these costs isn’t a challenge. Federal Student Aid can assist more than 14 million students each year with grants, work-study and low-interest loans.

Success at the community college level has become a nationwide focus. Many students enroll in Community College District schools with the intention of completing only an industry-accepted certificate for their jobs or to take occasional classes for personal enrichment. Those students are counted in the graduation and transfer statistics.

At a community college you can take classes to prepare you for college-level math and English, receive career training to get in the workforce quickly and affordably, and complete lower division courses that are transferable to a four-year college or university. Community Colleges play a vital role in the state's economic recovery by retraining the unemployed to work in emerging and in-demand industries such as health care and green jobs.

You have many postsecondary education options from which to choose. Whether you decide to attend a four-year college or university, community college or technical school, the knowledge you gain will be of value to you for the rest of your life, no matter where you go or what you do.

If you’ll be working toward a bachelor’s degree, you might consider starting at a two-year community college and then transferring to a four-year school. Community colleges are usually less expensive than four-year schools. (Some four-year schools that are partially funded by local or state taxes can be less expensive as well.) If attending a community college allows you to live at home, you can save money on room and board. If you decide to start at a community college, make sure your community college courses will transfer to your four-year college and that they will count toward your bachelor’s degree. Many community colleges have “articulation agreements” with four-year colleges under which the course work taken at the community college transfers into the four-year degree program. Be sure to ask about the types of articulation agreements the community college has, with whom, and for what programs of study. Discuss any concerns you have about transfer courses and credits with the college registrar at the college you’re transferring to.

Students With Dependents
If you’re both a parent and a student, you may be eligible for cash aid and help with child care, transportation and job or training expenses through your local community college. Contact your county social services office for more information if your child’s other parent is deceased or absent from the home, or if you or your spouse is physically or mentally disabled, unemployed or working fewer than 100 hours a month.

Available major financial aid programs and favorable Federal loan program for community college students: Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, PLUS Loans, Pell Grants, State Programs, Scholarships. Save thousands of dollars in tuition and have your general education requirements behind you by starting at a community college. You can use financial aid to pay for fees, books and living expenses. Check with your community college to make sure your credits will transfer, if that’s your goal.

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