Comparatively affluent students are picking community colleges over four-year schools in growing numbers, a sign of changing attitudes toward an institution long identified with poorer people.
A recent national survey by Sallie Mae, the student loan giant, has found that 22 percent of students from households earning $100,000 or more attended community colleges in the 2010-11 academic year, up from 12 percent in the previous year. It was the highest rate reported in four years of surveys.
In the lengthening economic downturn, even relatively prosperous families have grown reluctant to borrow for college. Schools are finding that fewer students are willing to pay the full published price of attendance, which tops $55,000 at several private universities. More students are living at home.
My son's just 3 years old, but I've already spent a lot more time than I expected thinking about how best to provide his education. When he was born, I think I had a plan to get him into an Ivy League school. Now...not so much. It depends on his gifts and interests, of course, but I'm not interested in saddling either him or me with huge amounts of debt for his college experience. College will probably be important. An expensive college? Maybe not.