March 1, 2017
Money
Community college represents a tremendous bang for your buck, especially when compared to the costs incurred at four-year colleges. Community colleges cost less than half of the in-state tuition rate of public schools, providing a similar education at a fraction of the price. However, the price tag associated with community college can still be oppressively high, with the average tuition rate clocking in at nearly $3,500 per year. Here are some ways you can pay for community college so that you can get the job you want.
Greg Jarboe
How can I afford community college?

Community college represents a tremendous bang for your buck, especially when compared to the costs incurred at four-year colleges. Community colleges cost less than half of the in-state tuition rate of public schools, providing a similar education at a fraction of the price. However, the price tag associated with community college can still be oppressively high, with the average tuition rate clocking in at nearly $3,500 per year. Here are some ways you can pay for community college so that you can get the job you want.

Private Scholarships While a community college isn’t likely to offer you the type of scholarship you typically hear about at four-year schools, you can still apply any private scholarships you receive to your community college tuition. Private scholarships include scholarships administered by charities and employers. Best of all, there’s no limit to the amount you can earn, meaning you can use several scholarships to significantly defray the costs of community college.

Financial Aid Community college isn’t typically synonymous with financial aid, but that’s largely because many community college students don’t try. The White House states that many students in the 39 percent of community college attendees that decline to fill out a FAFSA form would actually be eligible for financial aid. This includes Pell Grants, which are awarded based on financial need and often cover the entire cost of community college education. Additionally, filling out the FAFSA makes you available for state-based financial aid programs that can help you to reduce your financial obligations.

Student Loans Although nobody wants a long-standing financial commitment to go along with the work associated with community college, a student loan is an option that can sometimes be the difference between attending school or entering the workforce without the necessary education. The FAFSA form makes you eligible for federal student loans, which are far preferable to private loans based on the increased repayment flexibility afforded by federal loans. The loan repayment period doesn’t begin until six months after graduation, giving you ample time to focus on getting through school and finding work before you have to worry about making monthly loan payments.