The Benny’s of a Jr College in San Diego

Going to college is a new and exciting time for most students, graduating for high school and moving on to college is, for many, similar to graduating from Jr. High and moving up to be with the big kids, but with a twist. Now you feel much more ready to set out in the new world. While you may be nervous, or even a bit scared, there is an adventure that you are starting to live out. So many people say, I can’t wait to get out of high school so that my life can start, this is different than the Jr. High response to graduation which is more a long the lines of, I wish I didn’t have to leave my friends.

In the excitement of planning for college, I want to highly encourage the use of local resources. Going to a 4-year university immediately is a great opportunity for most people; especially if it is your first choice school; but realistically, the first 2 years of college (the GenEds) are very similar at any school you will go to. This is because school receive “accreditation” by regional boards and their qualifications for accreditation is typically standardized among schools. The general education courses for undergraduate degrees from regionally accredited schools are going to be almost the same across the board.

In San Diego I will sue the example of Grossmont College and UCSD to compare basic costs; again, the first 2 years are filled MOSTLY with general education requirements that tend to transfer between the schools very easily (you will want to verify each specific class with the articulation agreement formed between these schools). Grossmont College costs $26 per unit (plus other fees). We will use a standard full time loan of 15 units per semester at a cost of $390 per semester. We will round up significantly to account for book costs, parking, and other fees and assume it costs $1500 per semester at Grossmont Community college in San Diego.

The cost to go to UCSD is approximately $1030 per unit. That is nearly 40 times the cost to go to Grossmont. The total cost for UCSD for one semester, not including books, or fees will be roughly $15,460. Is basic general education math at UCSD really worth 40 times the cost at Grossmont? I’m not convinced. While the degree from UCSD is certainly of great value, the best business minded people will tell you, cut costs wherever you can!

So what is the price difference (btw, we’re just looking at sticker price here, it is to illustrate a point) over all? Let’s assume that by some statistical miracle it only takes you 4 years to graduate from college. If you take 2 years at Grossmont, and then 2 years at UCSD your total costs will be about $67,840 (2 years at Grossmont = $6,000, 2 years at UCSD = $61,840). If you go to UCSD your freshman year and spend 4 years there, your total cost will be roughly $126,000. This doesn’t account for living expenses, books, fees, or the education industry standard tuition increase of 6% annually.

Of course no student (in their right mind) would actually pay the sticker price for a college, there is a ton of state, federal and local money for students; but the point is clear. Think about the investment in the major that you are studying. A chemical engineering degree is certainly worth $126k (you’ll earn that much each year for the rest of your life), but if you could cut the investment costs on a degree worth $126k annually in half, did you earn that much more money your FIRST year? Think about going to community college with a plan, that’s all I am saying.

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About Nathan and Joanna Cornett

We are a from San Diego California, currently on a mission trip in Guatemala. Nathan has worked as a youth pastor, teen center director, college advisor, and now missionary. Joanna has worked at LaBahn's Landscape for 7 years in the field, sales, and as the Vice President, she started the Hispanic ministry at Foothills Church, and has worked in youth ministry, she is now working as a missionary. We are both passionate about youth, worship, and missions.

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