How Much Does Community College Cost? Tuition, Living and Expenses

by Chad Agrawal

How much does community college costAre you planning on attending community college? Smart move, but are you worried about how much does community college cost? Obviously, it is a lot cheaper than going to a 4-year college. Yet, I totally understand wanting to know the actual costs so I decided to write this post.

In this post, we will consider how much community college costs in regards to tuition, living and other general expenses. It is tough to give a perfect estimate, but I will do my best by comparing community colleges in suburb and city areas.

Community College Tuition

Let's start with the basics. Community college tuition will run you about $3,700 per year. Depending on the community college you are interested in, number may change, but it's a good ballpark price.

In addition to your tuition, you are going to have to pay for your college textbooks. While many textbook stores offer used textbooks and "buy back" options, your textbooks can cost you upwards of $500 per year.

If you are planning to succeed, you may want to add another $50 or so for a top notch community college guide. This will help you maximize your return on your community college tuition.

How Much Does Living Cost?

Your living expenses are the most variable. They will strongly depend on where you plan to live, where you eat and how much you spend on fun. For each person, these can make a dramatic difference over the course of the year, so please keep in mind you can spend a lot less if you are thrifty.

If you are like most students, living at home in community college can save you hundreds or even thousands per month. When you consider the cost of renting combined with utilities, internet and maintenance costs, it can really add up.

However, if you are planning on living on your own, there are some community colleges that offer horsing. These housing options are fairly cheap compared to living off campus. If you are living off campus in a city, such as New York City, you can expect to pay as much as $1500 per month. However, you can live in an apartment in a suburb for as little as $300 per month.

Next, eating out can be very costly while in college. If you plan on eating out a lot at plenty of nice restaurants, it is pretty easy to spend over $400 per month. However, if you are on a tight budget, you can spend just $200 per month and cook your meals at home. For the lucky ones staying home, you can pretty much eat free!

And similar to eating, your entertainment habits can be expensive or almost negligible. If you like to go out a lot and spend big, that is up to you. However, there are plenty of on campus activities that are free and a lot of fun. They tend to attract high quality students and offer great opportunities to make friends or get involved.

 Don't Forget The Small Stuff

It is also a good idea to factor in all the smaller expenses that tend to add up. For instance, your day-to-day expenses like transportation, school materials and transfer applications. Like before, these expenses can drastically vary.

For transportation, having a vehicle can be very costly since gas can cost you over $100 per month. However, if you are planning on taking public transportation, you can probably get to and from school for just $3.00 per day. Even in suburbs, taking the bus can be very economical.

Please do not try to be super cheap on school materials. Keeping a budget for $25 per month can help you stay organized. When you need an extra binder or materials for a project, you do not have to hesitate. This will help you make the most of your community college education.

Lastly, you may want to account for the cost of applying to transfer to Ivy League or Tier 1 universities. Most universities require a transfer application fee that may cost anywhere from FREE to $75. If you are applying to transfer to Harvard, Yale, Cornell, NYU, UVA and MIT, you might be spending well over $400. You might not being thinking about this right away, but it is good to keep in mind for those of you will transfer to top universities using my community college guide.

The Final Cost of Community College

Considering all your expenses including tuition, textbooks, my guide, living at home, entertainment, transportation, school materials and applications, you can expect to spend less than $10,000 per year. Keep in mind, this cost significantly rises if you are not living at home and if you plan on paying for a car. However, $10,000 per year is extremely cheap compared to the costs of 4-year universities which charge over $30,000 for tuition only.

Community colleges are the best "bang for your buck" when it comes to higher education in the United States. Considering that you can transfer your super cheap credits to a top-flight university, you are basically $3,700 for the first two years of a much more expensive degree. That's what I did before transferring to NYU Stern 🙂

Good luck and please let me know if you have any questions or comments below!

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

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