As the price of a four-year degree skyrockets, so has enrollment at community colleges — the cheaper alternative to higher education.As of January 2011, 43% of all college undergraduates were enrolled in community colleges, according to the Higher Education Research and Development Institute.
That number is just the latest benchmark in a long line of increasing enrollment at community colleges.
The share of students going to community colleges jumped 8% since 2007, according to Inside Higher Ed. This follows a 10% growth in enrollment at two-year institutions from 2000 to 2006.
The rather surprising enrollment number could be attributed to a gap in the cost of attending a two-year school versus a four-year school.
According to CollegeView, tuition and fees at a two-year school costs $2,544. That number jumps to $15,213, for tuition, fees, and room and board, at a public four-year school.
Students hoping to go to a private four-year school can expect to pay around $35,636.
The benefits of attending a community college might also be influencing that rather high enrollment number.
Richard O’Brien, a student in Illinois, told FastWeb that in addition to the price factor, he chose to attend community college because it was easier to complete his general education courses, and it gave him time to choose a major.
Community college also gave him a chance to boost his bank account: “Living at home also saved me a lot of money on living expenses … that was an added benefit financially.”
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