Online Community Colleges: Their Benefits and Drawbacks
Community colleges in the US usually provide two-year associate’s degrees as well as professional certificates and diplomas. Community colleges often serve nontraditional students, and are very likely to have online classes available to accommodate the schedules of students who work full-time. Here’s an overview of reasons to consider attending an online community college rather than a four-year school.
Community colleges are highly affordable
In general, community colleges are the most affordable option of any. According to The College Board’s Trends in College Pricing 2010 and Trends in Student Aid 2010, public two-year colleges charge approximately $2,713 per year in tuition. Compare that to approximately $7,605 per year at public four-year colleges for in-state students, $11,990 for out-of-state students, and a whopping $27,293 for private four-year colleges. With these numbers, it’s no wonder so many choose community colleges.
You can transfer to a four-year college after you earn your Associate’s
Community colleges offer a distinct list of benefits—chief among them a great deal on tuition.
You can decide what you want to major in—without spending lots of money
Students are expected to know what they want to major in. But it’s not unusual for some to be unsure—and to want to try out many different areas of study before settling on one. At an expensive private school, experimentation is expensive. But at a community college, you can pay less for credits while you’re exploring—and then transfer to a four-year degree program once you’re sure.
You can boost your GPA
If you didn’t have a high enough GPA to get into your first-choice school, consider going to community college. Many students who don’t have strong college applications immediately after high school graduation attend community college, get good grades, and re-apply. You could into your top-choice four-year college after attending a community college for a year or two—and you’ll save on tuition.
You can save money by living at home
Community colleges serve a large population of nontraditional students, and many have begun offering online classes and degree programs to serve the needs of their working students. If you take classes online, you can save significant money on room and board—even if you’re attending a community college nowhere near where you live. This makes it easier to find a community college to attend, as well—you don’t have to limit yourself to schools within your geographic area, and you don’t have to move if you get accepted to a school that’s too far away to commute to.
You can fit school around work and family obligations
Online degree programs have significant advantages—and one of them is flexibility. If you’re a working student or have children to care for, going to school can be extremely difficult. But with online classes, you can study anytime and anywhere—when the kids are at school, during your lunch break, early in the morning, or late at night. Community college online degree programs make it easier for you to fit your college around your other obligations—and can save you significant money in commuting and childcare costs.
Community colleges offer a distinct list of benefits—chief among them a great deal on tuition. With rising tuition costs, many students are finding community colleges a more attractive option. As a community college student, you can still earn a Bachelor’s degree by transferring to a four-year school after earning your Associate’s. And with online degree programs at community colleges, you can save money on room and board as well as commuting costs—and you don’t have to cut back your work hours to make room for school. Online community colleges are an excellent way to save money on tuition—while earning the degree you need.
The College Board: Trends in College Pricing 2010 and Trends in Student Aid 2010
FastWeb: Advantages of Community Colleges
US News and World Report: Obama Touts Community College Benefits
More About Choosing an Online Program
- Is a Law Degree Still Worth It?
- How Admissions Work at For-Profit Colleges
- Get an MFA - or Learn Online?
- Graduate Certification vs. Professional Certification: Which is Better?
- How to Find the Best College or University for You
- Graduate Certification vs. a Master's Degree: Which is Better?
- What Is an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree?
- What Is Forensic Psychology - and Should You Earn Your Degree in it?