Considering Community College? These 10 States Offer the Best Deals

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When it comes to higher education, I only have good things to say about community colleges.

They’re a money-smart education option that can save you thousands. Some will even pay you to graduate on time.

Unfortunately, not all community colleges are created equal. Some are a better value than others.

Student Loan Hero compared the costs of college credits at schools across the nation to find out which states offer community college students the most bang for their buck.

Here are the top 10 states where community colleges are a money-saving option, as well as how much students can save on tuition by attending for two years compared to attending only a four-year college:

1. New Jersey, $20,993

2. Illinois: $20,707

3. Pennsylvania: $18,653

4. California: $18,403

5. Virginia: $17,706

6. Arizona: $16,698

7. Michigan: $16,231

8. South Carolina: $16,153

9. Vermont: $15,866

10. Delaware: $15,773

Be sure to check out Student Loan Hero’s interactive map for data on all 50 states.

What These Numbers Mean For You

“Based on our findings from this study, prospective college students should seriously consider attending a community college and then transferring if they want to offset their overall educational costs. Not to mention avoid taking on more student loan debt than may be necessary,” says Student Loan Hero columnist Elyssa Kirkham.

In an ideal world, your local community college would offer the biggest tuition savings and also happen to intersect with schools whose alumni make the most money after graduating.

But what if the community colleges in your area don’t hit one or both of those sweet spots? Try not to stress out too much.

First, check to see if any of the colleges around you offer free tuition.

No? What about a college with a proven track record of making poor kids rich?

Perhaps an alternative certification is the way to go?

If a four-year university turns out to be a better bet than community college after you’ve priced out both options, keep these money-saving tips in mind.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves telling readers about ways to save money on college tuition. Look her up on Twitter (@lisah) if you’ve got a hot tip to share.

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