Community college on the rise

From college applications to letters of recommendation, so much is on the mind of seniors as the summer turns into fall. The stress about being accepted into the college of their dreams is all too real for those applying to four year universities. But many people are deciding to forgo those stressors entirely, and go to community college instead.

Community Colleges are becoming more and more popular. According to the San Diego Community College District, in 2021’s enrollment it saw a 7% overall increase in enrollment as well as a 42% increase in returning students for that school year.

It would make more sense at first to presume that more people would choose to go to a traditional four- year private university. Higher prestige and an education from more renowned professors, (for the most part), both add to people’s generally higher perception of such colleges..

However it would not take a genius to figure out that the current American university system is

not built for the vast majority of students graduating from high school. Private colleges are notoriously expensive, and scholarships are not a guaranteed thing.

For those concerned about the financial burden of a four year university, and risking their money on a college they may not enjoy, community college offers an alternative.

Titans have access to many workshops to learn about the community college route.. Jaime Brown in the Titan Center  has all the information as well. Ultimately, the process goes like this: “You send in an application, and once you get accepted, you go through the registration process normally in Spring, and during that process you will choose your classes,” counselor Jerilyn Padua Reyes said.

The average cost for a four-year college is $32,590 in the U.S. The average cost of all things considered for a community college is much lower, at $7,123, and some are even free with special offers like academic/athletic scholarships or cost reduction opportunities like the Palomar Promise which offers up to two years of free tuition to those transferring from a community college to a four year university.

When it comes down to it, community colleges are flourishing in states like California, where the push for affordable college is skyrocketing. 

“I want to go to a community college for a few years, then go to a university. My initial plan is to go to Palomar for baseball.” senior Blake Johnson said.

However, community colleges are still stigmatized in multiple ways. Many Americans consider them as “lesser” than four-year universities. This makes many students discount attending a community college.

Some people go to community college due to their poor grades in high school, but a growing number of students are just simply unable to afford a four-year university, and/or do not want to deal with the dreaded problem of student loan debt later in life. 

Almost all community colleges even allow you to graduate and move up to a university for a fee after two years at said community college. Many colleges in California including Palomar offer to pay for a 25/50% of in-state tuition for a four year university once you meet a certain set of requirements. These requirements vary from school to school, but generally include high academic performance and recommendations from other teachers. 

Ultimately, the journey into free public universities is a welcoming experience. The benefits are high to pretty much anyone, and it should be seriously considered by everyone.