Most Affordable Colleges in America…a “Did You Know” PSA

Gulf Coast Community College

Photograph by Andrew Wardlow for The News Herald.

The more expensive four-year colleges get, the better community colleges start to look. In 2009, 3.4 million people enrolled in community colleges as full-time students, up 16.4% over the year before, according to the most recent data from the American Association of Community Colleges. No longer perceived as a consolation prize for students with lower grades, many community colleges now offer strong academics and courses that easily transfer to large public and private universities. Several states, including California and Florida, now have “common course numbering,” which means English 101 at a community college is equivalent to the same course at a four-year public or private institution, says an AACC spokeswoman. And they’re cheap. Some of the best, according to some ratings, charge less than $4,000 per year and many have instituted tuition freezes. In Maine, a tuition freeze means annual tuition at the well-regarded Washington County Community College is only $3,514–and enrollment at the school, which offers 15 associate’s degree programs–has increased of 10% in the past year, says Darin McGaw, dean of enrollment services. For those in need, they also offer financial aid and scholarships. [Source]

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