Community colleges remain a bargain

Published 10:20 am Friday, June 17, 2016

The cost of an education in Mississippi continues to increase, with tuition and fees for the state’s public community colleges increasing 7 percent on average this fall.

The average cost for two semesters is now $2,748. Of the 15 community colleges, only two aren’t planning an increase. Copiah-Lincoln is one of them.

The college in Wesson will continue to charge $2,730 for two semesters, just slightly below the state average. On the low end is East Central Community College at $2,330 and Mississippi Gulf Coast at $3,040 on the high end.

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Community colleges are a bargain when compared to a four-year university, and often can offer many of the same opportunities. Aside from the lower price tag, community colleges also typically have smaller class sizes and more flexible schedules.

They also give students an opportunity to explore what really interests them. That’s more difficult to do at a university.

Community colleges do more than just educate traditional students who plan to transfer to a university or enter the workforce. They provide skills training, GED classes and a host of other educational and cultural opportunities for students and the communities they serve.

It’s crucial that a community college education remain affordable. We’re thankful that Co-Lin is not raising tuition and we encourage college officials and state leaders to find ways to keep costs as low as possible.

For the state’s community college system to continue to succeed, the price must be right.