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Community College Cost

How Much Does Community College Cost?

average costState Residents: $7,500-$25,000+ Annual Costshigh costOut-of-State Students: $12,000-$35,000+ Annual Costs
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Also sometimes called junior, technical or city colleges, community colleges are typically public institutions providing college-level, enrichment and vocational classes and programs in a smaller, more local and less expensive setting than traditional four-year colleges and universities. According to the American Association of Community Colleges[1] , there are 1,132 community colleges in the United States; 986 are public, 115 are independent and 31 are tribal.

Typical costs:

  • Full-time community college tuition and fees (typically for two 15-unit semesters) can cost $1,000-$12,000 or more a year for state residents, and $4,000-$30,000 or more for out-of-state students, depending on the school, the location and the program of study.
  • For example, tuition and fees at community colleges in Texas[2] for 2013-2014 are $1,630-$6,153 for state residents and $4,150-$16,683 for out-of-state students, with an average cost of $2,394 for Texas residents and $6,322 for nonresidents. At Century College[3] in White Bear Lake, MN, tuition and fees for two 15-unit semesters total $5,356 for general classes, $5,540 for dental hygiene courses and $5,846 for the nursing program.
  • Tuition is just one of many college expenses. In order to award financial aid and scholarships, each school predicts its "cost of attendance[4] " for a typical student to attend for a full academic year, based on estimates for tuition and fees; books and supplies, room and board, transportation and personal expenses. The COA at community colleges varies from $7,500-$25,000 or more for state residents and $12,000-$35,000 or more for out-of-state students, depending on whether student live with their parents/relatives or on their own, and the local cost of living.
  • For example, Santa Barbara City College[5] in California estimates 2013-2014 costs of $1,378 tuition and fees; $1,710 books and supplies; $4,518 room and board for living with relatives and $11,268 for living away from home; $2,844-$3,096 for personal expenses; and $1,180-$1,324 for transportation, for a total COA of $11,822 for students living at home and $18,524 for away from home; for out-of-state students, the COA is $17,758 if living with relatives and $24,460 for out-of-state students living on their own. In Texas[6] the average COA for 2013-2014 is $14,921-$16,275 for Texas residents and $18,841 for out-of-state students.
  • Two-thirds of community college students nationwide attend part-time, according to the American Association of Community Colleges[7] . Tuition for state residents typically costs $45-$250 or more per credit unit/hour, or $135-$750 for a standard three-unit class. For out-of-district or out-of-state students, tuition can cost $100-$550 or more per credit unit, or $300-$1,650 to take one three-unit class. Additional mandatory per-student fees plus other costs like lab fees or a parking permit can add $25-$200 or more to the total cost for part-time students, depending on the school.
  • Many community colleges provide an online net price calculator, which allows students and their parents to enter basic information and get a rough estimate of the total amount they might have to pay after receiving typical grant and scholarship aid, based on their individual circumstances. For example, Community College of Philadelphia offers a net price calculator[8] .
Related articles: College, ACT Test, ACT Prep, SAT, SAT Prep, AP Test

What should be included:
  • Community colleges are typically outcome-oriented, leading either to career employment or transfer to a four-year university, according to Mott Community College[9] in Flint, MI. Most community colleges offer vocational certificate programs, two-year associate degrees and college-level classes that satisfy the general requirements for the first two years at a four-year university (for transfer students). Many also offer classes for local high school students who want college-level classes, and continuing and adult education programs.
  • Community colleges typically cost less and offer smaller classes, more night classes and more flexible scheduling options than most four-year universities. However, they may also have a more limited curriculum and a less-active campus life. lists the pros and cons of community colleges[10] .
  • Community college students may qualify for a variety of financial aid programs. The US Department of Education gives an overview of federal programs[11] . Check with the the college's financial aid office for information on available state, local and private assistance, including grants and scholarships.
Shopping for community college:
  • Search for local community colleges through the American Association of Community Colleges[12] .
  • The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation lists factors to consider when choosing a college[13] .
  • The National Center for Education Statistics provides an online college navigator[14] to locate potential schools by types of degrees offered, campus setting, size of enrollment and other factors.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
10 credit hours
Amount: $4,680.00 per year
Posted by: yola in lynnwood, WA.Posted: April 22nd, 2015 09:04AM
School: edmonds community college
5 credit hours cost $586 give or take. base this on how many classes you can afford to take at one time.
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12 credits cost is insane
Amount: $1,889.98 per year
Posted by: Dannie in Milwaukee, WI.Posted: June 3rd, 2014 09:06PM
School: Milwaukee area technical college
3 credits were going to cost me 465.00.
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