Getting an education and being on a pathway to having a more successful and lucrative career is becoming more and more accessible to people yet, the financial strain of achieving a college education is rapidly increasing.
From 2000 to 2009 spending for post-secondary education by Americans increased by 42 percent, and according to the College Board tuition increases rose by another six percent in the past year.
As reported by CNN Money.com, the average cost nationally including room and board for a four-year public university with in-state tuition costs was $21,447. Costs for the Arizona’s in-state public universities compare to the national average at $24,000 a year for Arizona State University and the University of Arizona and more than $20,000 for Northern Arizona University.
The tuition cost, for an in-state student attending one of Arizona’s public universities for a year averages around $9,500 a year based on two 15-credit semesters according to the Arizona Board of Regents. The cost of attending a private institution in Arizona such as Grand Canyon University averages out to about $16,500 a year.
A year of tuition at Rio Salado College based on two 15-credit hour semesters is only $2,280 a year.
For many students, living at home to reduce expenses and attending a community college for the first two years is an attractive option in order to reduce the amount of expenses for a college education. Earning an associate degree at a community college provides easier transition and an affordable option for students who want to start their college education but aren’t ready for the university campus life. Attending a community college such as Rio Salado, is also beneficial for new college students who are unsure of what major and career path they want to pursue, as it offers the same general education courses any degree requires in the first two years of college, at a discounted rate.
Rio Salado College also has strong partnerships and transferability articulation agreements with all of the in-state universities as well as many others around the country. This makes it a great stepping stone on the path for students who dream of receiving their college degree from a four-year institution such as ASU, the university of Arizona or NAU.
In all, the first two years of education at Rio Salado College Online costs a student around $4,560. Two years of education at a public Arizona university cost a student around $19,000 in tuition and $40,000 to $50,000 with housing, a meal plan and all other expenses included.
This is why choosing the community college path at a school like Rio Salado College is a smart decision for students are looking to save money on college expenses.
Recent Rio Salado College graduate Leann Hancock says the low costs and flexibility allowed her to succeed, “The affordable tuition and versatile learning opportunities helped me achieve my career goals, and I am a better mother, sister, friend and member of society as a result of what I’ve learned.”The accessibility, flexibility and affordability of Rio Salado College’s online courses not only allow a student to save a large sum of money on tuition and living expenses their first few years of college by living at home, but also enables them to save some gas expenses by not having to travel to and from campus. Not to mention the need to take out student loans to pay for their schooling, an increasingly scary proposition with a possible student loan interest rate hike looming in the near future.
By Ryan Bawek, PR Intern at Rio Salado College
Article published in Tempe Republic on June 23