Students Save by Starting at Community Colleges
COLUMBIA - For students who want to avoid pricey student loans, the alternative appears to be community college.
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, more than 6.5 million people were enrolled in community colleges in 2005. With the tuition of 4-year schools continually on the rise, students are choosing to spend a couple of years at a junior college before moving onto a larger state school.
Current Columbia-branch MACC student Nick Leonhard enrolled at the school last fall after failing out of the University of Missouri. He says going to community college has helped him tremendously.
"MACC gave me a second chance. I was able to still go to college. I got on to the Dean's List at MACC and they've been really good to me. It's cheaper and it's still a good school."
Though not sure whether he will go to a local university after MACC, Leonhard does plan to continue his education after receiving his Associate's Degree.
"I've been looking at Columbia College, obviously not Missouri, and some other places. But that'll be next year, right now I'm happy at MACC."
The trend of starting a college career at a smaller school before transferring to a larger, more expensive schools, has the larger schools pitching in.
Beginning in the fall of 2012, Columbia College will offer students fixed-rate-tuition. Students will sign a contract with the school stating the amount they will pay for the entirety of their schooling up to 5 years.
"Now it's kind of like a morgtage, where you know what you're going to pay over the life time of your education," says Columbia College Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management Tery Donelson. It's not going to change so now you can start budgeting and figuring those things out."
MACC is the number one provider of transfer students to state schools in mid-Missouri.