Community Colleges still a bargain

Bargains are where you find them and though the cost of a college education may be going up, for US community and junior colleges the rise is from a much lower base.

Not that tuition charges were ever very high by any comparative inflationary measurements.

The College Scholarship Service of the College Board reports that the average annual fees for community colleges would reach $469 this year compared with $819 for public four-year colleges. Last year's average for public community colleges was $464.

Annual tutition charges for state-funded community colleges range from $119 in Arkansas, $384 in Virginia, to $976 by some in New York State.

More than 100 community colleges in California remain tuition-free but pressure is mounting in the Legislature to charge tuition, a move that Dale Parnell, president of the 1,200-member American Association of Community and Junior Collges says ''would end a landmark program of public education that has propelled millions of men and women of all ages into rewarding occupations and professions.''

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