With college tuition rising, more and more students are doing what they can to cut the overall cost of their education. Tuition and fees at public four-year colleges increased by an average of 6.5 percent for in-state students and 6.2 percent for out-of-state students in the 2009-2010 school year, reported CollegeBoard in “Trends in College Pricing 2009.” A recent article in the Washington Post sheds light on the growing amount of students who have traded summer vacation for summer school and set out to take courses at their local community colleges in order to cut costs.
It’s no secret that the community college route tends to be significantly less expensive than attending a public university. On average, public four-year universities cost $7,020 in tuition and fees per year for in-state students and $11,528 for out-of-state students, according to CollegeBoard. Compared to the $2,544 in tuition and fees that public two-year colleges charge students per year, it is no wonder that students are beginning to pick up credits at community colleges. The Washington Post article states that Federal data reveals about 15 percent of students at four-year colleges choose to enroll in classes at community college, most of which are in the summer.
Summer school not only saves students money in the long run, it will also saves them time. Rather than spreading basic courses out over the first two years of college, they can utilize their free time and get a few general education requirements out of the way. In summer school, students take about five weeks to complete a course instead of spending an entire semester on it. Most colleges offer two different sessions during the summer and allow students to take two courses during each one. This means that students can almost complete an entire semester of credits in just one summer, which in the long run will reduce the total amount of time they have to spend in school.
Most universities have fairly convenient transfer policies which allow their students to pick up extra courses during breaks when they are not currently enrolled at the university. This enables them to go home and get a few basic courses out of the way for a portion of the price. Usually, once they finish a course, students have to request that their transcript from the community college be sent to the transfer office at their university, which then applies the appropriate credits to their degree plan. It’s important though that students make sure courses will transfer and discuss summer school plans with their advisors before enrolling, as each university has their own policies when it comes to transfer credits.
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