Junior College vs Four-Year University

Junior college leaders say their systems over-power four-year universities based on a few simple reasons, including tuition.

Did you know a welder could make up to six figures? That’s what many Wallace students learn to do.

And, career experts say its incentives like that, plus affordability and schedule flexibility, which are driving enrollment rates for two-year colleges through the roof.

"We're trying to inform others of the kinds of salaries they can make in these career-technical areas, vocational areas that then relate to manufacturing or construction. So they'll understand the kind of money they can make." says Janet Ormond, coordinator of Career Technical Programs at Wallace Community College.

This is an unofficial number, but this year leaders at Wallace believe their enrollment numbers are more than 10 percent higher than last year.

And, when two Wallace students transfer to four-year universities, mainly the likes of Auburn, University of Alabama and Troy, 91 percent of them make a grade of 2.0 or higher, with a large number of those students exceeding a 3.0 GPA.

As for college costs, USA Today reports college tuition and fees rose more than 6 percent at four-year schools.

While junior college tuition and fees are about half the cost of public university's, at Wallace, a student with 12 credit hours will pay a little more than $2100 dollars.

Comparatively speaking, students at neighboring Troy will pay about $4100 in college tuition.

The University of Alabama, $4,630 dollars; Auburn a little more than $4800 and the University of Montevallo tops the list at about $5400 dollars.

"We can produce jobs for our community that can establish a good, quality of life for individuals who do not desire a four year degree," says Ormond.

Two-year colleges also saw an increase of 4.1 percent.

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