Community Colleges

graduation pic 2Yesterday I had a chance to meet with two educators and learn about Community Colleges. I live in Owatonna, MN and we have a great local institution called Riverland Community College. What was refreshing about meeting with Deb and Jill is that they share my passion for helping students get a great college education and also remain debt free. It is not often that you hear this from administrators of colleges. In my experience, admissions folks will comfort you by saying “nearly everyone will have debt when they finish college.” They mean well, but the problem is that they are promoting an idea that says there is only one way to pay for a Four Year degree and that is to borrow large sums of money. This has to change and our local Community College is making that happen!

Community Colleges can be part of a great strategy to getting an education without debt. Check out this post for more details on the financial benefits. The bottom line is that Community Colleges cost far less than traditional four year colleges. You can earn an Associate Degree (two-year) while living at home and working part-time or even full-time. With a little effort you can pay for your education, save money and clarify your continuing education plans. Some locations even offer Four Year degrees!

Here are some additional benefits of Community Colleges:

·         Time Management – Most students who attend a local community college are also employed. This requires managing your time for studying and work. You will often find that that four year colleges discourage working more than 10 hours a week, which does little more than provide spending money. When you are not working, living in a dorm setting and all of a sudden you have free time to manage, sometimes it gets easy to completely waste hours of your day with unimportant activities. When you continue to live at home, are attending college and also working, it helps you to be a little more serious about your future and making the most of your time.

·         Living at home is a Plus – Depending on your situation, living at home during college can be a big help. Your parents will want you to succeed and will encourage good use of your time. Living at home will also save you $8,000 to $12,000 a year or more. You can’t ignore this great option!

·         A Great Transition – The change from life at home to dorm life can be enormous. It’s a challenge for everyone, and sometimes very difficult for some.  College brings new costs, new experiences and the need for more responsibility. Community Colleges provide a great transition from high school life to college life. In fact it may be a more accurate picture of real life.

·         The Opportunity to Grow up Gradually – Sometimes when you leave for college life away from home, you are forced to “grow up” very quickly. While this is not always a bad thing, it can bring extra costs with it. Growing up in your home town and a familiar setting can give you the opportunity to adapt to adult life at safer or more economical pace.

·         Clarifying Your College and Career Goals – Most college students make changes to their major at least once during their education. This can cost them money in the long run. When you attend a community college, you have time for the same clarification without  the added cost of a Four Year institution. This is a HUGE benefit!

I know several young people that have chosen the Community College option as a transition to getting a Four Year degree. They are all able to work as much as they need to, and they are paying cash for their education.  I hope you will consider this choice as well. If you have a story to share about your

Experience, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below. If you have questions, you can reach me by email,, or you can also leave them in the comments section.

Check out these Posts for More information on this topic:

 Entrepreneur Stories: Helping Students Pay for College

 Education vs. Intelligence

 Financial Freedom for the Next Generation – Part Two

 A Must Read for Every College Bound Student and Their Parents



About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!

  • Great article, Duane! I think community colleges are the bright spot in our higher education system, and hold the key to reforming the system.

  • Thanks Lori! I hope to encourage high schools, teens and parents to give this option more than a passing thought. I know some great stories of young people that are beating the status quo that are taking this path. It’s a great start. Thanks for your support!

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