Miner Editorial | Getting past the taboo of junior college
Post-secondary education is at the forefront of the national discussion again as more of the rich and famous are being thrown into the fire over bribing their children’s way into prestigious universities.
Even when the children didn’t want to go.
University can be a rewarding experience for young-people – and old – but focusing on the bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees or doctorates leaves out a very important post-secondary educational option.
There is nothing wrong with going to a junior college or a technical school. Not everyone does, nor should, have their life figured out at the age of 18. It is a lot to ask of students to make a decision like attending a four-year university upon high school graduation.
If they want a few years to figure out what they want to major in – essentially what they want their future career to be – we have to encourage them to go to a junior college. Junior colleges are excellent ways to get general education credits like math, science and English out of the way without breaking the bank.
At Mohave Community College, classes are $81 per credit hour for in-state students. Tuition for Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University for the 2018-2019 year was $10,822 and $10,390, respectively. This averages out to about $360.74 per credit at ASU and $346.42 at NAU.
This roughly translates to a difference of $280 per credit between a community college and a four-year institution.
That is a lot of money spent on general education credits at university. General education credits don’t even get into the student’s declared major credits, which can carry extra fees based on classes. And all of this ignores additional fees and housing costs and textbooks.
There is nothing wrong with saving money in order to get those pesky gen-ed credits out of the way. Junior college is also a great way to actually explore if post-secondary education is the right fit or a chance to look into what a person actually wants to do with their career.
Parents always want what is best for their children, but sometimes what is best for their children is to slow down and take time to figure themselves out.
Students should never let the taboo around junior college or state college deter them from attending, and parents should never try to force their child into attending a four-year university because of some perceived prestige around a four-year degree.
Editor’s note: The costs of ASU and NAU per credit hour is based on the average per dollar amount between a 24-credit year and a 40-credit year at those institutions, and only takes tuition – the price colleges charge for classes, specifically – into account.