Opinion: Stigma surrounding community college is unjustified


"Large lecture college classes" by kevin dooley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Current high school seniors are committing to colleges in mass as most decisions have already been released. High school juniors are quickly feeling the pressure to begin applying for the colleges they want to attend in fall 2022.

Students spend excessive amounts of studying and saving up to ensure they make it into a good college to earn their degree. As time goes on, the stress becomes even heavier. Aiming to get into a high league college becomes a top priority. With this, community colleges seem to be looked down upon, as people assume the degrees earned at community colleges aren’t as good as a traditional college degree. These ideas need to change because community colleges are a more affordable way to get quality education.

Many are stuck on the mindset that these schools should only be a last resort because they feel like they don’t offer a comparable education or the degrees won’t get them as far as a university would. However, not only do they offer quality learning, they also doesn’t look bad on future resumes.

Business majors are very popular among community colleges. They usually offer classes for every interest, allowing students to earn an associates or even a bachelors. According to study.com, community colleges can get people an associates degree in almost every field. The courses have a balance between general education and business-focused courses.

A common thing students do is start their first two years at a community college. They take their required classes such as mathematics and science, and once those two years are over, they transfer to the university of their choice to finish a four year degree. There, they take the remaining classes needed for their degree. There’s less money being spent, and a quality education provided to the student.

“When you graduate from the university, the diploma only puts the university, not the community college,” sophomore Noelly Jasmin said, “but jobs don’t really care where you went anyway.”                     

Some may argue that a degree from community college won’t get very far. People may develop this misconception simply because it costs less.

“Your Associates [degree] is the same no matter where you graduate from,”  junior David Perez said, “why does it matter how much you pay for it? You save so much money.” 

Another valid reason why community college is beneficial is because of the price. Universities are notoriously very expensive. According to collegecalc.org,  The average in-state tuition in Florida for community college is $2,580. For universities, the average in-state tuition was $13,971. Financial problems are one of the top reasons for students dropping out. As stated by experian.com, the average student debt in Florida is $37,352. While attending high profile colleges is commendable, they often leave people taking almost 20 years to relieve their student loans. Community college is a fraction of the cost of a university. Debt to a community college can usually be paid off in about two years as opposed to the lifetime one would have to spend when in debt to a big name university. Even then, around one third of community college students receive financial aid.

“A community college is a great choice to save money and stay out of debt,” guidance counselor Frances Melendez said.

Students can save money on housing since community colleges are usually local. Instead of spending an entire life savings on a four-year degree, community college is something that is worth looking into. In the end, it’s not about where someone studies, but the education they receive.