Community Colleges

1. Tuition and Fees are Low

The first two years of college will primary be the same set of classes – for most majors. For example, nearly every freshman and sophomore takes English, Biology and Math. Considering the average annual cost at a two-year college is around $3000, this represents a significant savings.

2. Improving your Transcripts

If your grades are not stellar enough to get scholarships into a college, high grades in a community college can help you become eligible for new scholarships.

3. Living closer means lower living Expenses

College tuition is just the one of the costs of attending college. You must also consider housing, living expenses and travel expenses. These are significant expenses.

Trying College Out

Over 75% of students entering college are not sure of their major. Also, nearly half change their majors at least once before graduation. Community colleges offer a wide range of courses. You can take these courses to try out your potential major.

529 Programs

A 529 plan is an education savings plan sponsored by a state or state agency.

Savings can be used for tuition, books, and other education-related expenses at most accredited two- and four-year colleges and universities, U.S. vocational-technical schools, and eligible foreign institutions. Savings may also be used for tuition expenses at eligible public, private, and religious primary and secondary educational institutions (K-12).

U.S. residents of any state, who are 18 years of age or older (or the age of majority in some states), may invest in most state plans.


State vs Private

Tuition Costs:

Public Colleges & Universities
Since they receive public funding, public colleges and universities, generally speaking, tend to have lower tuition rates. Additionally, these colleges and universities also offer scholarships and financial aid so it’s important to determine what you may qualify for financially before making that final decision.

Private Colleges & Universities

While the majority of private colleges and universities tend to have higher sticker prices, it’s important to remember that they often offer more in terms of financial aid and scholarships. So, this con isn’t always as clear cut as you may think. Take the sticker price with a grain of salt and, before deciding against a college or university solely on tuition, find out how much you’d actually be paying after qualifying for scholarships and aid.


Public Colleges & Universities

Public universities typically attract students from diverse backgrounds since they generally offer more options in terms of major varieties. They’re also less expensive, especially for in-state students, so you’ll likely encounter students from all different backgrounds.

Private Colleges & Universities
Private colleges and universities tend to have students from diverse backgrounds, but that’s usually geographically speaking. They’re definitely great spots to meet students from all over the country, but tend to have fewer options in terms of the variety of majors they offer since they’re often a little more specialized academically.

Student Life on Campus:

Public Colleges & Universities
Public colleges, as a rule, are larger in scale and in terms of students, so there’s usually a lot more going on campus in any given day than at some smaller schools. You’ll have plenty of options for different clubs, activities and student involvement – but private schools have these, too – just on a smaller scale.

Public universities are a great choice for students looking to be a part of a huge student body that has aspects that are social, athletic and, of course, academically speaking. A public school may be right for you if you’re not bothered by larger size lecture courses, love going to support the college’s athletic teams and need a large variety of social options (and students) to choose from.

Private Colleges & Universities
Public colleges and universities tend to have fewer activities and clubs – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have the options you’re into. Plus, most schools will allow students with similar interests to create their own social groups, so that can easily be remedied.

If you desire smaller course sizes and faculty-to-student-ratios from the get-go uncommon (a lot of public colleges have these options once you’re further into your major program) or have a very specific major program in mind that’s unique or specialized, then a private college may be a good option to consider.

Quality of Education / Value:

Public Colleges & Universities
Generally speaking, public schools can offer more for your money. It’s important to take all of these factors into consideration, public or private, to determine the quality of faculty, graduation rates and prestige. Remember, lower tuition does not indicate a lower quality education.
Private Colleges & Universities
If prestige is at the top of your list, consider the fact that the first 19 institutions are private on the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings. That being said, there are wonderful schools within both categories.