Financial Advice Category
Financial Advice Category

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How Community College Saves You Money

How Community College Saves You Money

According to the average student borrows over $30,000 to pursue a bachelor’s degree. In addition, half of borrowers still have $20,000 in student loan debt 20 years after entering school! (The interest. The INTEREST).

Student loans have a time and place. But why not avoid the debt if you can?

One great way to reduce your overall tuition costs is to attend a community college. By attending community college and then transferring to a four-year college, you can save money while still achieving your education goals.

Lower Tuition Costs

Community college tuition typically costs much less than four-year college tuition. Regardless of your major or the college you attend, your first couple years will primarily consist of the same type of classes:

  • English 101
  • U.S. History or Civics
  • Chemistry or Biology
  • College-Level Math

If you’re taking essentially the same classes, why not go to a community college and pay less?

And not just less. Way less. For example, the Spokane Community College website shows an in-state tuition and fees price of $5,610 for the 2023-24 academic year.

Compare that to the 2023-2024 in-state tuition and fees prices at the following colleges:

  • Washington State University (Pullman): $12,966/year
  • Gonzaga University: $53,500/year

Using the colleges in this example, you could save anywhere from $7,356 to $47,890 each year! Even $7,356 is a significant amount of money you could put towards a car, investments, travel, further tuition or whatever you want. Plus that’s money you won’t have to repay in the form of a student loan.

Save On Cost of Living

Young people who live with their parents can save money by attending a community college near where they already live. This eliminates or reduces the rent and utility fees that a student would pay if living on their own. It also reduces travel costs especially around the holidays.

Dorms and meal plans can also be expensive. It’s important to look at the entire cost of attendance when making a college decision. For willing students and parents, living at home is an excellent way for young adults to save money.

Transferring to a Four-Year College

If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree you’ll eventually need to transfer to a four-year college.

Not all colleges automatically accept community college credits or coursework. To avoid spending money on classes that will not transfer, speak to your academic advisor early and often. Make it clear that you want to transfer and ask them for help planning your coursework. If you know where you want to go, also get help from a college admissions advisor at that school.

It may be easier to transfer to a state school. State education systems often have better-defined transfer routes from a community college to a state university. But when in doubt, reach out! (to an advisor or counselor).

It Helps to Have a Budget

When saving for college it’s important to have a budget. Horizon’s online and mobile banking services make money management easier than ever. And they’re completely free for members! Set up online banking to get our powerful budgeting tool MX, automatic bill pay and 24/7 account access today!