The best education doesn't have to be the most expensive one. That's what an increasing number of college students are discovering as they consider post-secondary education options.
An Associated Press story this spring quoted high school counselors and community college administrators who said that interest in community colleges is on the rise as tuition continues to climb at four-year institutions.
Community college students are looking for more bang for their educational buck. Tuition at the two-year colleges averages about $3,000 this year compared to $3,800 at state universities and $7,116 at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus. Smaller class sizes and more attentive faculty members might also play a role in a student's decision to attend a community college.
Brainerd is blessed with a quality community college housed in a first-rate facility. Central Lakes College serves both traditional and non-traditional students. Its presence here allows students to pursue higher education, including specific four-year degrees, without leaving the Brainerd area.
College students' needs are diverse and Minnesota is lucky to have choices spread throughout the state. Whether a student chooses a state university, a community college or the University of Minnesota, the opportunity to learn and earn degrees is available for all Minnesotans. The payback for the state is a work force that's intelligent, adaptive and ready to go to work for the state's employers.
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