Archived Story

Affordable way to your education

Published 10:12am Wednesday, November 21, 2012

by Felicia Blow

Today, getting a quality college education can be expensive.

And with the current national student loan debt level reaching $1 trillion, new options for securing an educational future — without significant cost — is a priority for many.

Paul D. Camp Community College is a great option for students who want an affordable and quality college education.

A public two-year college for in-state students costs about $3,735 annually compared to a four-year college, which runs $9,919.

As you can see, tuition and fees at community colleges are less than half of the comparable cost of attending Virginia’s public four-year institutions. And when you add room and board, the case for community colleges is even more pronounced.

Also, equally compelling, students at community colleges also are eligible to apply for federal financial aid programs, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Further, the perception of attending community college rather than a four-year institution has changed over time.

After four years, your college degree will be worth the same salary and credibility, except that you will not have the burden of a heavy student loan.

TRANSFERRING CREDITS

Students who spend two years at a community college, then transfer to a four-year school, get the same degree as someone who attends the four-year college all along — but with a lot less debt.

PDCCC and other Virginia community colleges have developed articulation agreements with many four-year colleges and universities. These agreements ensure that credits earned at a community college will count toward a student’s four-year-degree program once the student has transferred.

This means that a PDCCC graduate can attend the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, William & Mary, Old Dominion University, Norfolk State, Hampton University and a whole host of other Virginia colleges and universities.

They are guaranteed admission and that many of the credits will transfer. We have a number of students who have done so and they are living proof that the program works.

In addition, students at four-year colleges can save money by heading home for the summer and taking low-cost credit courses at PDCCC. Every credit earned rather than at the four-year institution can cut hundreds in tuition.

Moreover, many community colleges offer courses to high-school juniors and seniors. If courses are dual-enrollment, students can earn high school and college credits simultaneously.

A PROVEN OPTION

PDCCC is an invaluable resource not just for high school graduates. But others consider PDCCC for their education needs such as first-generation college students, adult workers aspiring to enter college, and mid-career changers transitioning to new careers.

In general, community colleges can be a gateway to an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree at a fraction of the cost of entering a public four-year college and just about any private institution. PDCCC has all the assets for a fulfilling an affordable education for graduating high school students and adults.

For more information, contact PDCCC at 569-6700.

FELICIA BLOW  is vice president for institutional advancement at Paul D. Camp Community College. Her email is fblow@pdc.edu.

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