What is Community College?

Fulton Montgomery Community College - Quad
Fulton Montgomery Community College in New York

A community college is an affordable two-year college that serves people in its surrounding area.

One way to save money getting a college education in the U.S. is to attend a community college and then transfer (i.e. change schools) to a four-year university. Community colleges offer two-year degree programs––associates degrees (e.g. A.A. and A.S.)––and allow you to complete your general education requirements, such as math and history, for less money. For instance, a three-hour credit course at the University of Illinois costs about $2,800 but only around $1,500 at the nearby Parkland College community college.

Community colleges don’t have the strict admissions that universities have and anyone eligible may attend. You may take just one or two classes or complete an entire degree program. Just check first that the credits will transfer to the universities that you’re considering for your bachelors degree. Often community colleges offer a variety of classes in the summer and you might be able to graduate early by taking classes in the summer, another popular way of saving money.

Also called junior college, technical college, and city college, community college can be a great transition to collegiate life in the U.S.

(CC image courtesy of Clemens v. Vogelsang)