PDCCC makes college affordable

Published 10:17 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

By Felicia Blow

Getting a quality college education can be expensive. And with the current national student loan debt level reaching $1 trillion, finding new options for securing an educational future — without significant cost — is a priority for many.

Paul D. Camp Community College is a great option for students who want an affordable and quality college education.

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According to the 2012-2013 Report from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, in-state students at public two-year colleges can expect to pay $3,735 annually for tuition and fees.

That same student would pay $9,919 at a four-year college, a cost that nearly doubles when adding in room and board.

As you can see, tuition and fees at community colleges are less than half of the comparable cost of attending Virginia’s public four-year institutions. And when you add room and board, the case for community colleges is even more pronounced.

Equally compelling, students at community colleges also are eligible to apply for federal financial aid programs, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. And the perception of attending community college rather than a four-year institution has changed over time. After four years, your college degree will be worth the same salary and credibility, except that you will not have the burden of a heavy student loan.

Students who spend two years at a community college, then transfer to a four-year school, get the same degree as someone who attends the four-year college all along — but with a lot less debt.

Paul D. Camp Community College (and other Virginia community colleges) has developed articulation agreements with many four-year colleges and universities. These agreements ensure that credits earned at a community college will count toward a student’s four-year degree program once the student has transferred. This means that a PDCCC graduate can attend the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, William & Mary, Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Hampton University, and a whole host of other Virginia colleges and universities in the state. They are guaranteed admission and they are guaranteed that many of the credits earned transfer. We have a number of students who have done so, and they are living proof that the program works.

In addition, students at four-year colleges can save money by heading home for the summer and taking low-cost credit courses at Paul D. Camp Community College. Every credit earned at PDCCC rather than at the four-year institution can cut hundreds in tuition costs.

Moreover, many community colleges offer courses to high-school juniors and seniors. If courses are dual-enrollment, students can earn both high-school and college credits simultaneously.

Paul D. Camp Community College Community is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to further his education — recent high school graduates, adult workers aspiring to enter college or adults looking to switch careers.

In general, community colleges can be a gateway to an associate or a bachelor’s degree, at a fraction of the cost of entering a public four-year college and just about any private institution. Paul D. Camp Community College has all the assets needed for a fulfilling and affordable education for both graduating high school students and adult learners.  For more information, call 569-6700 or visit www.pdc.edu.

Felicia Blow is vice president for institutional advancement at Paul D. Camp Community College. Her email is fblow@pdc.edu.