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 after mortgages.

But higher education is more important now than ever before.

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


Maryland’s NEW

Community College Promise Program

Starting in the fall of academic year 2019-2020, eligible students can attend community college tuition-free. Maryland has earmarked $15 million per year to help low- and middle-income students attend community college full-time. The Promise program is open to students in both academic as well as credit and non-credit career training courses.

Regulations have been developed by Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Please visit MHEC’s website for more information on Maryland’s Community College Promise program.


Maryland’s NEW

Near-completers’ Grant Program

Starting in the fall of academic year 2019-2020, and running through 2024, Maryland will make grants available to eligible adults seeking to complete their academic degrees. Grants may be used to complete academic degrees at either 2-year or 4-year institutions. Three-quarters of the degree requirements must have already been met for applicants to be eligible.

Draft regulations have been developed by Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). Please visit MHEC’s website for more information on the Near-completers’ Grant.

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 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


Effect of Debt

But you need college, or some type of education or training beyond high school. But 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.


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

~ $11,000 Savings ⇒ by enrolling in “2+2” programs & Transfer Degree programs
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.)

~ $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 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.