The bubble of the two-year institute

 

Sarah Balough

Reporter

Since the financial crisis that began about five years ago, more students are thinking of college pathways other than the traditional four-year university, and the community college has become more popular option for almost half of college undergraduate students. It’s becoming the economic safe house for many.

At an annual growth rate of 7.4 percent a year, tuition has vastly outstripped the consumer price index of 3.8 percent. This increase is causing students to compile a vast amount of debt during a time of questionable employment.

As student debt can’t simply be expunged in bankruptcy, six figure student debts are swiftly becoming common. This debt has become the reason that student loan debt in America has passed the trillion-dollar mark, doubling the total credit card and automobile debt.

Though this level of debt is fast becoming common it can be avoided in a variety of ways, one of which would be attending a two-year institute and then transferring. More than 6.5 million students attend about 1,200 community colleges throughout the United States, according to the American Association of Community Colleges. This number is almost half that of the number of undergraduate students in America.

“That’s why I’m going here,” said one student, who wished to remain anonymous, about Pierce College Puyallup, “I don’t want to graduate with tons of debt. It’s hard enough to get a job in this economy. I don’t want to end up jobless with student loans.”

Last year, community-college students paid an average of $2,361 for tuition, as reported by CollegeBoard. This is in comparison to an average of $6,185 at a public four-year institute. Out-of-state students pay $16,640. This does not include expense for room and board and books and transportation, which substantially surpass that of tuition.

During two years, a community college student is projected to save an estimated $28,100 compared to a student attending a four-year institute at in-state tuition costs.

This attendance of community college due to the cost of tuition is purely due to the current economy for many students. According to Washington state findings published by KUOW, the yearly tuition of community colleges is equal to that of what a four-year university was only 10 years ago.

One student described this information as “distressing,” but another student was not shocked at all. Explaining that items fluctuates in price depending on the consumer’s desire for the product, and in this case the product is education.

“Because employers want their employees to have an education, and in almost all cases it’s required for the job, students are more willing to end up graduating not only with a degree but also debt. It’s sad because most will end up not getting a job in the field they went to school for,” said one Pierce College Puyallup student, who wished to remain anonymous.

While community colleges offer many of the first two year pre-requisite requirements , they also educate 60 percent of new nurses and credential 80 percent of firefighters, law enforcement officers and EMTs. In addition, 41 percent of the 1,200 community colleges offer online degrees.

Although many students attend a two-year institute for reasons besides that of economic stability, it’s still a prominent reason for attending. It creates an economic and educational foundation so that a student is fully prepared for a four-year university.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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The bubble of the two-year institute

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