Community college a smart choice for fall

Many in the education world agree – community college is a smart choice for those pursuing higher education. 

Community colleges allow young students to stay close to home and ease into their newfound  independence while still providing students with a quality education. Additionally, studies have shown that students who go to community colleges typically take out fewer loans and perform as well or better than those who begin their education at a university.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, enrolling in a community college for the Fall 2020 semester is an especially astute choice. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) reports that in an April Art & Science Group poll of graduating high school seniors, more than half reported that a parent or guardian had lost their job or been furloughed, and one in six who had previously planned to attend a four-year school in the fall were near the point of giving up on those plans.

“Students now more than ever need stability, structure and an opportunity to engage in meaningful reflection about the personal and professional life path they should pursue,” states an article from the AACC. “Community colleges are designed to provide a nurturing, supportive environment that gives students focus as they consider a world of possibilities.”

As many institutions of higher education plan a move to online or hybrid courses for the fall semester, students who planned to attend a four-year university are examining the possibility of getting the same quality education at a more affordable price while they wait out the pandemic. 

According to the nonprofit College Board, on average, tuition and fees were significantly less at two-year public schools versus in-state four-year public schools. For example, at Northwest Mississippi Community College, full-time tuition is $1,600 per semester or $3,200 for the 2020-2021 school year. By comparison, tuition at Mississippi’s eight public universities is $7,996 on average for the 2020-2021 school year. Other costs associated with attendance, like books and living expenses, are often much less for students attending a community college as well. 

“The potential temporary shift among four-year students to their local community colleges presents community colleges with an opportunity to highlight their role as providers of an affordable route to bachelor’s degrees via upward transfer,” states Columbia’s University’s Community College Research Center. 

“Providing a perfect combination of affordability, accessibility and quality, Northwest is the right fit for new high school graduates or those needing a new skill in order to provide a family-sustainable wage,” said Northwest President, Dr. Michael Heindl.

Registration for the fall is taking place now. For information about Northwest’s pathways and programs, visit northwestms.edu.