Why Community College? … To Save $1000s

The cost of higher education has skyrocketed over the past 35 years; it is now the second highest form of consumer debt behind mortgages.

But higher education is more important now than ever.

“By 2020, 69% of Maryland jobs will require some type of postsecondary education or training.”
– Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce


Soaring College Costs

– 2x the increase of healthcare and 4x inflation –

Skyrocketing tuition and fees
Flat family incomes since 2000
Result → steep increases in the college debt levels of Americans.

Source: The Educational Trust, edtrust.org

Compare Maryland College Costs

Average Annual Tuition & Fees

Maryland community college students save about 60% compared to students who attend a public 4-year college. They save 76% compared to the average tuition and fees at for-profit colleges, and 91% compared to average Maryland private college tuition.
Additionally, community college students living at home may not have living expenses, which are typically $10,000+ per year.

Sources: All amounts, except for-profit college tuition and fees, are 2016-2017 Maryland college tuitions from College Tuition Compare.com. The for-profit tuition number is a national average calculated by Capsee.


Soaring Student Debt

Current student debt is rising at a rate of

The above student loan debt clock is for representation purposes. Actual total debt outstanding demonstrates more volatility at the beginning of each semester, when most student loans are disbursed.

So, you need college, or some type of education or training beyond high school. But while that additional education can be helpful in getting a desirable job and earning a higher salary, it costs money, sometimes a lot of money. And student loan debt can prevent or delay your ability to reach your other goals, such as getting a car, your own apartment or house, starting your family or business, or saving for retirement.

In fact, between 20% to 50% of borrowers say that their student loan debt is impacting their ability to reach critical life milestones.

Effect of Debt

Community college can help.

By attending your local community college, rather than a for-profit school or public university, you can save several $1000. And that’s money you can use to reach your next goals in life.

~ $1000 Savings ⇒  College in High School
Dual enrollment programs, also called early college access, offer discounted or free tuition on 4 community college courses.

~ $11,000 Savings ⇒ 2 + 2 Programs & Transfer Degrees
Students who study 2 years at a community college, then transfer and study 2 more years to earn a Bachelor’s degree, save an average of $11,000 on tuition and fees. Plus, the State of Maryland, and some 4-year colleges, offer 2+2 Transfer Scholarships to eligible students. (Transfer agreements between community colleges and regional 4-year colleges facilitate transfer without loss of credit.)

Promise Programs

Below, see 5 Maryland community colleges’
locally-supported promise programs.

~ $2000/year* Savings  – Statewide & Workforce Shortage Programs
Reduced tuition may be available to students based on the 2 programs outlined below.

  1. Workforce Shortage Programs – Special tuition rates may be available at Maryland’s community colleges for students pursuing education in areas projected to have future workforce shortages.
  2. Statewide Programs – Maryland students pay in-county tuition rates regardless of residence county, if pursuing training in “high-cost” programs as designated by the State of Maryland.

These program areas are evaluated annually by Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), and are subject to change.

~ $#### Savings – Members-only Scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Students
Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society makes $90 million in scholarships available to PTK members only. PTK International Honor Society is the academic honor society for two-year colleges.

*Estimate based on averaged costs and savings.

‘Promise’ Programs
at Maryland Community Colleges

The 5 community colleges listed below offer locally-supported promise programs. These college programs typically require: minimum county residency terms; minimum GPA attainment; and a “last dollar” funding approach, meaning students must exhaust both federal and state funds before the college promise funds are available. Click the links below for program-specific information.