Rising costs make community colleges more attractive

Most agree that a college education can help to level the socio-economic playing field. We all know someone that may have grown up with great disadvantages and later greatly improved their situation by getting a college education and a good paying job.

Going to college has always been viewed as good for the country and an important element of the "American Dream."According to the U.S. Census Bureau, college graduates will make 80% more lifetime earnings than wage earners with only a high school diploma. In recognition of this fact and in spite of spiking tuition costs, college enrollment has risen for two decades in United States. Expanding enrollments have come at a cost though. The current average indebtedness for acquiring a bachelor's degree is $23,000 and many students are leaving college with $30,000 to $40,000 of debt.

To compound the problem, middle class wages in the U.S. have stagnated further limiting middle class parents from helping their children with college costs. Many more students are working jobs to offset the shortfall created by tuition costs that have outstripped the ability of the student or the students' parents to pay. Many students are not just participating in a work-study program; many are working full time or near full time jobs. Students working full or near full time jobs are at a 30% higher risk of academic failure than their non-working peers are.

Community colleges have always offered a low cost alternative to private and public universities. As private and public college costs escalate, the Community College option may become more important than ever.

According to Essex County Treasurer, Mike Diskin, "Community Colleges are still a great deal. Essex County provides substantial financial support to students attending community colleges." Diskin added that, "Students can go to a community college to get the first two years of college out of the way for considerably less than at a private or public four year school. The best deal for Essex County students is to attend North Country Community College at the campuses in Saranac Lake or Ticonderoga. However, we do provide tuition support for Essex County residents that attend a community college outside the county as well."

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