Community College: An Economical Choice
by Lyssa Goldberg | University of Miami
Searching for a way to afford a college education during a downtrodden economy, some students choose to attend community college before transferring to a four-year university as a more reasonably priced option.
For Dany Raffoul, who will be starting his second year at Miami Dade College in the fall, the financial aspect of an education was the main factor in his decision to attend a local community college.
“It’s becoming extremely expensive to be educated,” Raffoul said. “It’s helping me out financially, because times are rough, and my college tuition is not putting us in debt.”
Raffoul said he still plans to attend a four-year university after graduating with his associate’s degree.
“I think it was the smartest business decision I made,” he said.
Khalil Quinan, a rising senior at the University of Florida, attended Santa Fe College for two years before transferring. Quinan said that after his mom lost her job during the recession, the fact that the cost of living would be lower in Gainesville made the choice clear.
“Gainesville is a significantly cheaper of a city to live in than Miami,” Quinan said, “and with grants and scholarships it was the most economical and logical way for me to have my education funded while also having to work to pay bills.”
Though Quinan said that his limited time at each institution makes time at both schools feel hurried, he has seen many advantages from attending a community college.
“Aside from allowing me to do great things at a bargain of a price, including a study abroad to China, Santa Fe gave me significant room for growth and assisted me with my professional development,” Quinan said.
Maria Morales, who will begin her second year this fall, chose to attend Miami Dade College while working a full-time job.
“Miami Dade College offers a wide variety of times for classes, including night classes, so it makes it very doable for me to take on a full-time class schedule and a full-time job,” Morales said.
In addition, Morales said taking courses at Miami Dade College was an economical decision, because the college also offers in-house scholarships to those who qualify. For example, the American Dream Scholarship covers the full cost of tuition at MDC for students who graduated high school with a weighted grade point average of 3.0 or above.
“After finishing my first year at Miami Dade, I am very happy with my decision to attend this school,” Morales said. “I have been fortunate enough to have very small classes, even in introductory courses, as compared to some of the schools in the area.”
Morales said she plans on continuing her education after MDC by pursuing a bachelor’s degree and beyond.Lyssa is a NGJ College Reporter and a sophomore at the University of Miami, where she is studying journalism and political science. She is assistant editor of her school's student newspaper, The Miami Hurricane. She also writes for Distraction, the student lifestyle magazine.