• http://madsaver.com Mac

    Well written article Zach. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I probably would have thought twice about going to a pricey private school. I don’t know if I would have gone to a community college however (dorm life was fun!), but definitely something public, rather than private to save some green. I, like most, left college with debt, but I was able to keep it low by working through college and had the 1st year paid via savings. Most weren’t as lucky.

    • Zach @College for 10k

      Mac –

      Going to a community college, the dorm life is one aspect that I greatly miss. I will be moving in with some friends who are also taking the community college route and will get a taste of the dorm life.

      Congratulations on making it through college with little debt!!


      • Ashley Eneriz

        Zach –

        I agree that you definitely miss the chance to do dorm life at a community college. However, I think you planned it right by moving in with your friends. Also, there is always the university after community college to enjoy dorms and fraternities.



        • Juliane

          Hi! May I ask if when did you post this article? the exact date or year?

  • Megan

    Great article – I can’t believe credit hours are only $79! I attended a college in Cleveland where individual credits were around $1200. If you’re already enrolled at another college, you can also take summer classes at a community college and maybe graduate a semester early.

    • Zach @College for 10k

      Megan –

      I couldn’t believe the price per credit hour either. For that price, I don’t know why others go to another school when I am receiving the same quality education as others.

      Taking classes during the summer is a very good plan. A friend of mine will be graduating this fall because of that very reason. One and a half years before anyone from my class.

      Thanks for stopping by!!

  • Donna

    This was a good, no great post and a timely one. My husband teaches at a community college here in Michigan. He is a band director and teaches music theory (has his doctorate). The college not only has a top rated reputation, it also has dorms! As well as dorms, a rock climbing wall in the student center/gym, student activities, organized intramural sports, college sponsored trips, many teachers are among the top in their field, a pulitzer prize winning author teaching in the english department set in a small town atmosphere. If you do your homework you can find a community college to fit your needs. To Mac, who commented earlier: Most of the grads or transfers go on to live in dorms at the 4 year school. You can have dorm life and save money! You just have to use your common sense and find the biggest bang to save your buck.

    • Zach @College for 10k

      Donna –

      That is very cool. What community college does your husband teach at? It sounds like quite an amazing school!

  • Lori A.

    I agree wholeheartedly!! We have told our kids that unless they get a full 4 year scholarship somewhere, it is best to go to community college for the basic courses. I went to a University right out of highschool…later, when I decided to change my major, I needed a few more core courses and went to community college. It was SO much better. This was at the time when they started offering online courses and tv classes. I took a few tv classes. I was able to record them (VCR! Haha!) so I could work during the day and then work on my classes in the evening. I only needed to go up to the campus for tests.

    • Zach @College for 10k

      Lori –

      You are 100% right. Community college is so much better! My largest class was freshman English and it only had 24 students in the class! With numbers like that, it makes it difficult to imagine a class with over a hundred students.

      Keep pestering your kids to head to a community college. They won’t regret it!

      • http://madsaver.com Mac

        I keep on going back to the fact that your class sizes have been so small! That is awesome, and such a contrast from a much more expensive university where some lectures could be hundreds of students.
        Once my kid starts thinking about colleges (in a good 14+ years), I’ll ensure that he looks at all his options, rather than just the pricey ones! Of course, by then everything could be different…but better start saving now just in case. Once students start realizing how good of a deal the community colleges are, the prices are bound to rise.

    • http://www.thethriftywife.com/ Ashley Eneriz


      Now that is some good parenting there! My parents urged me to initially just take any debt/loan to go to the best school. I am glad that I instead went to community college for 1 year (finishing 2 years in one) and a university for 2 years. Not only did I get my BA in 3 years, but I am so happy not to have any debt.

  • Winston C

    I feel a bit fortunate that I attend a public university for free due to many scholarships and financial aids. The only thing that I have to worry about is my living expenses. So I don’t have to worry about tuitions and textbooks costs.

    One thing that I have noticed about some of the students from my school is that they take some general courses at the local community school because obviously they are so much cheaper over there. I think if I remember correctly, one credit costs around 60 dollars. And best of all, the distance between my school and the community college is like 15 minutes. So they can go back and forth without missing a beat.

  • Nwanderski

    Community College is great if you have one nearby. Our local two year college is only a “technical” college with only a few gen eds that transfer and while they offer what they are calling ” Associates Degrees” , most are not transferable to four year public schools. Also, many of the programs they offer have long waiting lists to get in, and many students get off track waiting to get accepted into their desired programs and end up taking classes just to take classes. A very expensive “for profit” college has opened nearby recently to accommodate all those students waiting to get into the high demand programs at the public technical college. Makes the community college and technical colleges MORE expensive than the four year colleges, private colleges, and “for profit schools” when you realize all the time you waste waiting for an opening. The guidance counselors in the high schools don’t always consider this when advising students about the so called “savings” at community college. Consider ALL your options to determine what is the most affordable option. It’s not always what you think.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristen-Kuchar/100002941222787 Kristen Kuchar

    Great ideas! I wish I would have did this!

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  • thebruins

    Another option is to start at a four-year university, but take summer classes at a CC so that you can graduate early, sometimes almost up to a year. Having taken both uni and CC classes, I noticed that uni classes tend to grade on a curve, whereas CC courses have a rigid grading scale similar to what you had in high school, such as 100-90 for an A. at a uni, depending on the curve, an A could be 100-85. In that sense, a CC may actually be more challenging when it comes to earning higher marks than at a uni. But at the same time, a CC is more likely to give out easy filler assignments that you can get full credit on for simply completing them.

  • Sarah Clifford


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