Editorial: Community colleges don’t break the bankPublished 9:03pm Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Obtaining a college degree is part of the American dream, and reaching that goal can be almost a badge of honor. We boast of our alma maters as if they are name brands — who wants a discount bin version when you can have a high-end designer one?
But that cost is becoming too heavy a burden for many students to carry. The average U.S. monthly student loan payment is $287.38.
Considering a community college — at least for general courses or until a major is decided — is a more practical and affordable option. Community colleges recognize that the point of going to college is to get a job — not just a fancy diploma and a decade or more of tuition bills.
A year of in-state tuition at two local community colleges is substantially more affordable than state schools — one year of tuition at Southwestern Michigan College is $4,728 and a year at Lake Michigan College is $3,480. In comparison, Grand Valley State University charges more than twice what LMC does, and the University of Michigan charges nearly four times the amount.
Both LMC and SMC offer a variety of courses tailored to the workforce’s needs. Especially during the recession, these colleges looked at which employers were hiring and how to fill that need with skilled workers.
For those who achieve a bachelor’s degree or higher — the name of that college or university of choice will be the name on the diploma. But in the end, all that should matter is students have gained knowledge from their college experience to head out into the workforce.
This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.