The average community college student pays $3,131 in tuition and another $1,200 for books and supplies per year, reports College Board. As costs rise, keeping college affordable is more important than ever, reports Community College Times.
California’s I Can Afford College web site tells current and prospective community college students about financial-aid opportunities.
“Students need to know that there is a variety of financial aid opportunities available to help them attend community college, and that’s the role the I Can Afford College program has served,” says Kathy Degn, extended opportunity programs and services and CARE coordinator at Cosumnes River College. “It helps break down the myths about aid, which in turn allows the financial aid offices to focus on serving students.”
Since the website launched in 2004, the number of students receiving financial aid has increased by nearly 70 percent.
To help students with textbook costs, College Open Textbooks, a group of colleges, government agencies and education nonprofits, is promoting the use of online learning resources. The collaborative was created by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and the Open Doors Group.
“Although community college tuition is lower than a four-year college, the educational materials cost the same,” says Charles Key, director of adoptions and grants for Open Doors Group. “The cost of textbooks has risen at a rate that outstrips anything else in the economy, and in some cases students at two-year colleges pay more for their textbooks than for tuition.”
Washington’s State Board for Community and Technical Colleges has completed open-source materials for 81 core courses. Instructors can use, customize and distribute the course materials. Since the project began in 2011, it has saved students an estimated $5.5 million in textbook costs.