Community College Costs Remain Affordable

October 29, 2009

In an economy like this, getting an education doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s no secret that community colleges are, on average, less expensive than private colleges or universities. A new College Board report confirms this.

A new College Board report shows that a community college is only one-third of the cost of an average four-year college, about 36 percent of the tuition and fees paid at an average four-year college.

“Community colleges are a beacon of affordability in higher education amid tough economic times,” said George R. Boggs, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) President and CEO. “They offer quality educational experiences that are tailored to support students at many stages of life–and because they start at a lower price point than four-year colleges, they are easier for students to finance with financial aid, and students are less likely to graduate with debt.”

Sixty-two percent of associate-degree participates at community colleges and 70 percent of certificate earners graduated without debt, compared to two percent of associate-degree earners and 10 percent of certificate earners at a for-profit school.

Furthermore, only 10 percent of community college students took out federal Stafford loans, compared to 88 percent of students at for-profit schools.

Low-income students at community colleges often paid nothing in tuition and fees because of Pell Grants.