Looking at where tuition costs are today, I am surprised more people don’t go to community colleges. Community colleges seem to me to be a great option. They offer freshman and sophomore level education at a fraction of what it costs at 4 year institutions.
And they give students a chance to transfer to four year colleges. Most community colleges even have formal transfer agreements with full universities. Some very high quality four year schools have such agreements with community colleges- University of California (Berkeley), UCLA, Michigan, University of Texas.
If I could “re-do” my college career, I would probably choose to go down the community college route and then transferred to a full university. Would have saved me over 40k! And I would end up with the very same bachelor’s degree in the same amount of time.
I did take a couple of courses at a community college. But that was while I was enrolled in a regular four-year school during my freshman year. I found the quality of teaching to be excellent at the community colleges. The instructors may not have been the “renowned” researchers and scholars that I had at my undergrad school, but they were excellent teachers. They cared about teaching. Not sure I can say that about all my professors at my four-year school!
Reading some of the recent developments in higher ed, I am quite disappointed that community college enrollment is falling nationwide. From my readings I gather that this Is because community colleges have traditionally catered to more low-income students, and even small increases in typically a low rate of tuition, can make community college costs beyond the reach of these students.
I hope (although unlikely) that government funding can sustain the community college system. Offering more scholarships for community college system might in fact be cheaper for the government if this could nudge students to begin their higher education in community colleges before transferring to full schools.