Celebrate SVCC during Community College Month

Published 12:40 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Virginia’s Community Colleges are marking national Community College Awareness Month (CCAM) in April designed to raise awareness of the benefits of attending one of its 23 community colleges. Southside Virginia Community College has been part of the community since 1970 and is still the best deal around.

In honor of the Community College celebration, here are a few tips to remember.

Top five ways to save money on your bachelor’s degree.

Student debt has reached crisis levels in this country. The typical bachelor’s degree graduate in Virginia leaves college nearly $30,000 in debt. That burden is forcing people to wait longer to get married, buy a home, and even retire. So why would anyone take on more debt than necessary?

Below are five guaranteed ways to save money while pursuing your bachelor’s degree in Virginia.

1. Know what you really want to do: There’s nothing wrong with changing majors while in college. Lots of people do it. But it means you’re going to pay for classes that won’t serve you in the long run. Take the free assessment tests on the Virginia Education Wizard. They can help you decide before ever spending the first tuition dollar.

2. Start college while you’re still in high school: Sign up for Dual Enrollment classes which allow you to take college-level classes while still in high school, often at a reduced price. Ask your school counselor or Career Coach about it. Use these credits to jumpstart your pursuit of an associate degree at a community college.

3. Earn your associate degree first: Thanks to an amazing collection of Guaranteed Transfer Agreements, you can earn an associate degree at a community college first, which guarantees placement as a junior at one of more than 30 Virginia universities. Community college tuition and fees are only about one-third of what you’ll pay at a public university.

4. Get free money from the state to attend a university: Virginia’s Two-Year College Transfer Grant Program will give you up to $3,000 a year, for two years, at a university to finish your bachelor’s degree. That’s free money. But, you should graduate from a community college first.

5. Always take 15 credits every semester: No matter where you go to college, go full-time, which means 15 credit hours every semester. Time is money.

If you follow all five of these steps, you will save at least $52,000 on the cost of that shiny new bachelor’s degree. That’s about one-anda- half times the average student debt load of a graduate in Virginia, and one more way to show that you’re smarter already. For information, www.southside.edu.