NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

The Benefits of Community College

By Matthew Couture

Deciding where to go for a college education can often be a very long and tough process. Yet at the same time, the decision may be very simple if everyone thinks it through.

There are many benefits to going to a community college, and the first obvious one is the tuition of classes. Community college tuition and fees are lower than those of 4-year colleges and universities.

NECC Student Shaun Connors expressed his opinion on this when he said, “I personally decided to attend Northern Essex because of the tuition cost. I just couldn’t imagine paying upwards of $20,000 per year for four straight years to get an education just to graduate and be burdened with the debt from student loans.”

Community colleges allow students to feel more comfortable with how much money they are dishing out for school, and they love the idea of being able to cut their debt in half after earning their bachelor’s degree or having no debt and an associate’s.

On top of just the tuition of community colleges, there are many other benefits to attending a community college rather than a 4-year college or university.

NECC Professor Amy Callahan pointed out a benefit that most students likely don’t realize when deciding their higher education. Callahan said, “An even greater benefit I believe is the quality of the teaching at a community college, because here the emphasis is on teaching. Whereas if you go to a 4-year college or university, the emphasis there is more on their research and not as much on the teaching itself.”

Community college faculty focuses on teaching and providing personal attention to students. Unlike most university faculty, they are not required to spend time away from the classroom to conduct research.

In addition, students attending a community college are able to gain a real world perspective or experience from faculty members who usually have practical work experience in the subjects they teach.

In addition, when someone thinks of community college, another thought is convenience. Many community colleges, including NECC, have multiple campuses.

That was a huge plus for NECC student Eddie Hoar as he expressed his comforts that NECC is close to his own house and that it allows him to have a flexible schedule.

Connors said, “going to NECC allows me to give myself the schedule I want and need.”

All of these advantages are the main reasons why students go to community colleges like NECC. These 2-year schools give students options that almost everyone can handle and use to help them gain the knowledge necessary to be successful in life.