Can I Really Save By Going to Community College?

Posted by Rebecca Prince on May 16, 2017

Community College

College.  There’s nothing quite like it.  Walking on campus, listening to the fall leaves crunch under your feet.  The tradition.  The late night study sessions.  The life lessons.  The PRICE TAG!

It’s pretty easy to get nostalgic when contemplating your college dream.  But let me assure you, there’s nothing heartwarming about how much it costs.

So what’s a struggling student to do?  Is it even possible to graduate without being buried under mountains of debt?   The answer is yes – it just takes an open mind! 

In today’s blog, we’ll explore the benefits of going to community college.

The Pros

According to Forbes blogger Robert Ronstadt, attending community college can save you anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000.  Pretty crazy, right?  Here are a few of the benefits

  • Tuition is typically much cheaper
  • If you go locally and live at home, you can save thousands on room, board, and travel
  • You can improve your transcripts if you struggled in high school
  • It allows you to “test the waters” if you’re not sure what you want to major in

A Few Savings Tips

Feeling a little more enthusiastic about community college now?  Some pretty hefty savings are possible!  Here are a few things you’ll need to do get the most bang for your buck:

  • Create a plan that includes only courses that will transfer to the school of your choice. Be sure to meet with an adviser!  You don’t want to waste money on credits that won’t count.
  • Focus on general liberal arts courses that are required for any major. That will minimize the number or preparatory classes you need after you transfer.
  • Check the graduation requirements for the school(s) you plan to transfer to. Make sure you’re taking as many of the courses they require as possible.

The Cons

Attending community college doesn’t automatically mean you’ll enjoy a debt free journey.  You’ll have to work hard!  And like any big life decision, it’s important to get a clear picture before you commit.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • You’ll need to finish your degree in four years. That means you’ll need to complete your community college program in two or less, so you can transfer successfully and complete your degree.  (FYI: According to the College Board, the average student is taking about 6 years to graduate)
  • You’ll have to be a full time student. It will be tempting to take a light course load, so you can work.  But, the longer you take to complete your degree, the more savings you lose, and the longer you delay starting your career.
  • Working probably isn’t a good idea. Only you know the load that you can handle.  But, see our previous point!  Being a full time student and working can be a lot to juggle.  Your grades could drop, which affects your chances of transferring and keeping any scholarships you might have.  You also run the risk of burning out and giving up on your college dreams completely.

Making a Decision

Attending community college has some definite advantages.  The potential savings are tremendous!  As you make your decision, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  What are the risks?  What are the benefits?  Will it fit your lifestyle?

Locally, there are some great community colleges – like Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College Port Arthur, and Lamar State College Orange.

How DuGood Can Help

If you want to continue your education, there are a number of ways, DuGood can help:

  • Earn Scholarship Rewards for books, tuition, dorm life and more with a DuGood debit card.
  • Enter our Scholarship Giveaway. We begin accepting applications every January.
  • Download our FREE College Savings Guide for even more ideas of you can continue your education without going broke

Topics: Students, Teachers, & Education