How to use a community college to save money

Many students begin their education at a community college to save money.
Many students begin their education at a community college to save money.

Operating under a tight budget, many students opt to begin their education at community colleges and then transfer to four-year institutions. While this can benefit some students, The Ledger reports that if not done correctly it can set others back.

In order to make the most out of a community college experience, the news outlet recommends signing up for classes as soon as they become available. While budget cuts to many schools are limiting their resources, many community institutions cannot afford to enroll as many students as they used to. As classes become more crowded, students who procrastinate registering may miss out.

The news outlet also warns against a rocky transfer. James Fishbein, a professor at the University of Maryland, said many community college students have a hard time adjusting to a four-year school. Not earning a sufficient grade in only one class can set a pupil back a semester.

Students should also change any negative feelings they have about community schools, said Irma Medina, senior coordinator of a program at Holyoak Community College.

"This isn't the 13th grade," she said. "We have a great faculty here that even taught at Harvard."

According to the most recent data by the National Center for Education Statistics, about 35 percent of postsecondary students attend a community college.