By Greg Brecht
CCC Journalism Program
In a report issued by the Higher Education Research & Development Institute, a record 43 percent of undergraduate students are choosing community colleges over four-year schools.
It is clear that many young people are feeling the effects of a crushing economy.
Aldo Sacco is a freshman at Atlantic Cape Community College in Cape May Court House.
“It was an easy decision for me,” said Sacco. “I didn’t waste my time looking at any other schools because I knew I couldn’t afford them. ACCC is close by and it’s cheap.”
Like others, Sacco would have had to take out student loans to cover the cost of a four-year institution.
Current graduates are facing a huge debt after school that could take years to pay off.
Community college offers that much cheaper alternative that some students desperately need.
A student attending Rowan University for four years will pay somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000 for tuition alone. That same student attending two years at Camden County College, followed by two years at Rowan, would pay somewhere around $30,000. These amounts and similar information is easily found on the schools’ websites.
Rowan is the most popular choice for many students attending CCC and is relatively inexpensive. For example, a single credit at Drexel University costs around $1,000, ten times as much as CCC.
In comparison, the education received at either school is relatively comparable.
Lower level courses, or general electives as they are sometimes called, are mostly unrelated to students’ majors. Courses such as history or a foreign language will not vary greatly from one school to another.
The can, however, be situations where the choice of school is important.
A student at Stockton College, Tessa Leone is studying physics and engineering in a specialty program only offered there.
“Yeah I have to pay a lot. School is expensive, but the government told me that my family was just above the line and we make too much for me to get financial aid,” said Leone. “It’s not fair”
“I want a good job with a good salary, but I’m putting my family in debt to get a quality education,” she said.