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Community Colleges with Campus Housing

daughter and parents moving into dorm
Jan Combs

Written by Jan Combson April 9th, 2024

I came to College Coach with nearly 30 years of related professional experiences. As a director of financial aid at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I determined student financial aid eligibility, oversaw a number of scholarship and fellowship programs, and worked closely with students to guide them through the financial aid application process and the many steps to enrollment. As an account executive at two national lenders, I worked closely with students and advised them on financial literacy related best practices as well as student loan repayment options and strategies. More recently as a high school guidance counselor, I assisted a diverse group of students with their college admission, financial aid, and scholarship applications. Supporting students and their families through each of those overwhelming processes was very rewarding. I was able to offer valuable assistance to students throughout the entire process, as well as guide them when making their final decisions as to where to attend college and how they would cover the college bill. Currently, I serve as a seminar facilitator for the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), assisting families with both the college admissions process as well as the college financing process.
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by Jan Combs, former financial aid officer at Harvard Graduate School of Education Community colleges offer a place for students seeking certificates, two-year associate degrees, and transfer pathways to four-year colleges, and they provide a lower-cost education than four-year public and private institutions. Community colleges feature a variety of academic programs, on-campus advising, career counseling, and support for students with differing learning styles. However, one of the concerns many students have is, if they attend community college, they won’t have a traditional “college experience” because they won’t live on campus. The good news is, the number of community colleges providing campus housing has grown significantly, meaning students can benefit from a lower tuition cost while also immersing themselves in campus life. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there were 285 community colleges offering campus housing as of 2023. That means nearly 25% of community colleges across the U.S. have housing, providing students with similar social and living options as their four-year college peers. How can students locate community colleges that meet their academic needs as well as their housing needs? The NCES offers College Navigator, a searchable database that allows students to filter by location, academic programs, and availability of housing. The American Association of Community Colleges also has a handy search tool. Students can use these tools to create a list of educational providers that meet their needs academically and provide campus housing. Even if a community college does not have residence halls, there may be other options for campus living. For example, some community colleges partner with nearby apartment complexes that provide special rates for students. In addition, many community colleges have agreements with local four-year institutions that are willing to house their students. Students should contact their community colleges of interest and inquire about housing options, as well as other amenities like dining halls and athletic facilities—whatever they feel will help them have a great on-campus experience.

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