Often students tackle their college education considering the community college route first and then transfering to a university to finish out a four-year degree. This is intended to save on the high costs of the university courses versus the costs of the community college. However, a recent study refutes the savings logic of this tactic.
A study conducted by the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (TG), “A Brief Look and Transfer Students and Financial Aid,” compared the cumulative debt of both transfer students with their non-transfer peers. The TG was established in 1979 in order to provide Texas students with information and services regarding assistance in financing their higher education.
It was determined that students who transfer to a four-year college will accumulate an equal amount of student loan debt as those who never transferred. Transfer and native students who graduated from a public four-year university owe an average of $20,000 in debt. A private institution in contrast, costs transfer students more upon graduation than native students, $27,000 compared to $25,000 on average, The Paisano reports.
Transfer students are also less likely to receive grant benefits compared to native students, especially among Hispanic transfer students, who receive $1,400 to $3,000 less in aid than native peers, forcing them to borrow the difference in loans, according to The Texas Tribune.
The data for this particular study was only assessed on students whose income was at or below $89,000 for dependent students and $25,457 for independent students.
Carla Fletcher, TG senior research analyst and the report’s author, said:
“People have this idea that they are somehow going to save money because they go to community college. But it looks like people end up borrowing about the same. Many students have traditionally been guided to follow the transfer route with the assumption it will help them save on certain college costs. Unfortunately, we found this to be untrue, and, in fact, the transfer route may end up creating significant barriers for some students.”
Fletcher added that many students who begin work on their bachelor’s degree in community college see their savings erased at the university level, particularly at private institutions. Nationally, only about one-third of community college students who plan on transferring manage to do so within three years.