Easy way to cut the cost of your college degree in half


It’s financially smart to get your core classes done at a community college, especially if you’re not sure what you want to major in yet. 

As Clark has said before about two-year colleges, ‘A couple years spent at community college before going to a traditional 4-year school is, I believe, one of the most effective ways for families to avoid the crushing burden of student loan debt. The reduction in the overall cost of education can be dramatic when you take this approach.’ 

Read more: Cheapest college degrees that will make you $70K a year

Bachelor’s degrees at community colleges can cost 50% less

As of recent, there has been an uptick in the number of two-year colleges offering four-year degrees. According to the ECS Education Policy Analysis, 23 states allow community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees. Though it has been challenging for community colleges to obtain bachelor degree programs due to accreditation rules, it is much cheaper to get a four-year degree at a two-year school.

For example, in California it is estimated that obtaining a four-year degree at a community college would cost roughly half what it would cost at a state college. 

But what about the stigma associated with getting a bachelor’s degree at a community college instead of a state university?

Daron Vchulek, a graduate of Bellevue College, a community college, says it doesn’t matter as much to employers. What matters most is completing the degree program.

He told US News and World Report, ‘I talked to people in our HR department and people in the community and asked, ‘Would it make a difference if I was applying with a bachelor’s from Bellevue versus a well-known college in the area?’ And all said it wouldn’t make a difference, as long as it was an accredited college.’ 

Community college can also be ideal for people already in the workforce due to the availability of evening and online classes. 

There are however some limitations related to bachelor’s degrees at community colleges. Colleges that do offer them may only have one or a few programs since community college programs are typically tied to opportunities within the community. But if there is a bachelor’s degree program available at a community college, it’s definitely worth checking into! 


One other important note: Attending a community school for two years, before completing your last two years at a four-year school, can still save you thousands of dollars. In fact, in just two years, you could save between $12,000 and $66,000 on the same education you would get at a public or private four-year school.

Below are 78 community colleges that offer four year degrees by state. (To view these colleges in a list along with degree programs, click here.) 

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These community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees




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New Mexico

New York

North Dakota

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West Virginia


Read more: 9 ways to pay for college without student loans

How to save money on textbooks

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