SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- One of the biggest expenses any individual or family can face is the cost of post-secondary education. College tuition seems oblivious to the economic downturn.
"Full-time, you are looking at one-fourth the cost of the University of Minnesota," said Ger Vue, Transfer Specialist of the Saint Paul College. "When you look at roughly full-time here (at Saint Paul College), You are looking at about $3-4 thousand dollars. At the University of Minnesota, you are looking at $11-12 thousand dollars ."
Vue guides students who intend to transfer their credits at the two-year community college to a four-year institution like the University of Minnesota.
"In the past, the perception was that students with lackluster high school academics only were admitted to the community, technical college because they did not meet the standard that the selective institution required. However, with the economic downturn, many families realize that they could save a lot of money if the students start at community college where they still obtain a high quality education, but got it at a very affordable rate," said Vue.
Rafael Herandez, 28, of Saint Paul is a classic example. "Moneywise, community college was a great opportunity for saving money," said Herandez. "I found that the education here (at Saint Paul College) was a great opportunity to put my foot in the door and then transfer on to another school."
Herandez said his problem initially was poor grades in secondary education. "I wanted an education and the four year colleges were out of reach. I had a GED (Equivalency Diploma) and to get into the four year colleges was a lot more difficult. To come to this school, all you had to do was apply to the school, take the test and then start taking classes."
After two years of high grades at Saint Paul College, Herandez will attend the University of Minnesota in the Fall, pursuing a degree in Global Relations.
In 2010, 4,562 students were taking full-time classes at Saint Paul College. That same year, Washington Monthly Magazine named Saint Paul College as the best community college in the nation.
Three other Minnesota schools were in the top ten of the ratings: Itasca Community College, Alexandria Technical College and Leech Lake Tribal College.
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