More students are enrolling in community college than ever before. The most obvious reason for this has to do with financial savings, as the average cost for a two-year community college is nearly three times less than that of a four-year university. In the grand scheme of things, it seems that attending community college would be a no-brainer. However, starting at community college is not always better.
In the short-term, you could save thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, there are several potential obstacles that students fail to consider when thinking about higher education. For one, the average university only accepts about half of transfer students’ academic credits, thus stalling their graduation date. The more time passes, the faster you’ll exhaust financial aid and scholarships—and the bigger the price tag becomes on your degree. Knowing this, will going to community college actually save you money on student loans?
Contact Your School’s Financial Aid Office
Making big decisions when you’re not certain it’s right for you can feel overwhelming. Luckily, the beauty of college is the resources available for students. When you’re unsure of your situation, it’s best to speak directly to college financial aid administrators for a better understanding of your out-of-pocket costs and financial aid awards.
Start by making a list of four-year schools you may want to attend, then call the financial aid office to discuss your options if you were to enter as a freshman or as a transfer student. Compare the financial aid packages you were offered from community colleges to assess the price difference.
Find Out If Your Credits Will Transfer Over
A common mistake students make is taking a bunch of courses that aren’t transferable. Many four-year colleges require that the course descriptions match exactly or that you get it approved with them beforehand. The last thing you want is to take a class and do well in it, only to find out later that you have to pay to retake it.
Refer to your list of four-year colleges and reach out to the school’s admissions office for information about which courses they accept and don’t accept. From there, you can plan your schedule accordingly and not have to duplicate classes, saving you time and money in the long run.
Research In-State College Benefits
To ease the transition from community college to a four-year college, look for state-specific college programs. These are community colleges and four-year colleges that have already established a partnership with each other and may guarantee the transfer of your credits, as well as your acceptance into the prospective university.
Usually, students must attend the community college for two years or until they receive an associate’s degree while maintaining a specific GPA. In return, the four-year college may offer discounted tuition to students who satisfy the requirements.
Numbers Aren’t Everything
When paying for college, most students and parents focus on the money they must pay up-front. While evaluating tuition costs and financial aid packages is a good starting point, they aren’t everything. As you can see, you may still need to take loans after transferring. That’s why it’s important to think about value versus price.
Consider the type of education you’ll receive, your on-campus experience, and the relationships you’ll build. In the end, these are the factors that matter and get you a higher return on your investment.
Escape Student Loan Debt with Arizona Debt Settlement Lawyers
We’ve all seen the commercials claiming “immediate” debt removal. Most of these advertisements are run by scammers who prey on vulnerable people, and if you aren’t careful, you could be looking at a future filled with significant financial struggles. The bottom line is that there are no quick fixes for escaping debt the right way. But there are forms of relief available. That’s where the expertise of the Arizona debt settlement lawyers at McCarthy Law is invaluable.
At McCarthy Law, we help those with private loans negotiate with their creditors with the goal of settling their debt for a reduction of what’s owed. For decades, our legal team has helped Arizona residents overcome their financial problems. We’ll work closely with you to generate the best debt relief option based on your needs and goals. To move beyond student debt, call (855) 976-5777 or fill out our contact form for a consultation with an Arizona debt lawyer today.