The average tuition and fees for community college students are far less than for students at in-state public four-year institutions, but it is estimated that their costs for transportation, supplies and other expenses are slightly higher.
The average estimated full-time tuition and fees for public two-year college students for the 2021-22 academic year is $3,800, compared to $10,740 for students staying on-campus at a four-year institution, according to the College Board’s annual report on trends on college pricing. When grant aid is applied, it’s much less. In fact, since 2009-10, first-time full-time students at public two-year colleges have been receiving enough grant aid, on average, to cover their tuition and fees, the report shows.
However, there are other expenses related to education. For example, community college students are projected to spend more on transportation than public four-year college students ($1,840 vs. $1,230), since most two-year students commute to campus. And while students in both sectors pay $460 for course materials, two-year students pay more for “other supplies,” such as a personal computer used for study ($1,000 vs. $780). Community college students also have slightly higher estimated costs for “other expenses” — $2,400 compared to $2,170 for public four-year students.