CG Building on the Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale CampusInternationalIndiaAfricaCompared to the average tuition of $75,000 per year at other colleges, community college offers unmatched affordability. A student at a public two-year college pays an average of $3,860 per year, compared to $10,940 at a public university and $39,400 at a private four-year college. Enrollment in community colleges has declined by nearly 40% since 2010. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the number of students enrolled in public two-year colleges fell from seven million in 2010 to 4.5 million in 2022.The low tuition rate of community colleges has helped low-income students achieve their academic goals. Additionally, community college students enjoy a sense of community, with many first-generation, low-income students finding a supportive environment.Miami Dade College in Florida charges local residents just $1,419 per semester, while Northern Virginia Community College charges $185.50 per credit hour to Virginia residents. These affordable prices have helped keep student debt low. Only 2% of the students served by Miami Dade College take on debt, and when they do, it’s an average of $5,000.AnalysisRichard Wolff: US Faces Multifaceted Economic Crisis23 March, 13:55 GMTDespite their reputation as an affordable degree for students who are unable to attend a four-year institution, community colleges have struggled with low graduation rates, with only 43% of students earning degrees within six years.Andres Acosta, a graduate of Miami Dade College, said he “didn’t like the experience” at his school, citing a lack of teacher engagement and motivation among fellow students.”Classes were easy to register for, and contacting advisement and setting up meetings were no real problem,” said Acosta, adding, “it felt like a lot of teachers did not really care… the atmosphere is one that feels like no one really wants to be there, they’re just there.”Some students are now opting to skip community college altogether and enroll in four-year public colleges instead. Others are foregoing higher education altogether and opting for jobs that pay $15 to $20 an hour and require no degree.While the decline in enrollment is concerning, some experts argue that the decline is not surprising given that community colleges were at peak attendance ten years ago during the Great Recession.Sputnik ExplainsWhat Happens If US Defaults on Its Debt in 2023?20 January, 12:16 GMTHowever, dual enrollment programs that allow high school students to take classes at local community colleges are growing. These programs are especially popular in rural areas, where they often account for half of community college headcounts. Community colleges also continue to enroll a more diverse student body, including older students, low-income students, working students, and those who are caring for family members.
- Number of students in US community college dropped by 40%