Community vs Regional College - What's The Difference?
If you’re planning to go to college and need to find affordable options, you might be focusing your search on community colleges. They offer a low-cost way to begin your pursuit of a college degree and most provide convenient options for students who are working and juggling other responsibilities while going to school.
If a college is not accredited by a recognized, established accrediting organization there’s a good chance those hard-earned credits won’t transfer to other accredited schools.
When considering colleges, be sure to learn all you can about the school, including whether it is regionally accredited. That can make a huge difference – not just in the quality of the education you receive, but also in the value of the academic credits you earn. If a college is not accredited by a recognized, established accrediting organization there’s a good chance those hard-earned credits won’t transfer to other accredited schools. So, if you complete an associate degree at a non-accredited school and want to pursue the next two years of a bachelor’s degree at another institution, your first two years will not count at all toward that four-year degree. That means you will have to re-take classes you have already completed, resulting in wasted money and time.
Regional colleges that are part of a four-year university also offer tuition that is much lower than many colleges and universities, yet still provide access to the high-quality academics and prestige that comes from those same universities. They also tend to have small class sizes and campuses that are easy to access for students who commute.
The University of Cincinnati (UC) is a great example of a top public research institution that offers affordable options and the same rigorous academic standards through its regional colleges – UC Blue Ash College and UC Clermont College. Each is regionally accredited and offers low tuition rates and a curriculum that aligns with UC Uptown (main campus).
Miami University and Ohio University are other examples of well-established, nationally recognized institutions that offer the advantages of a regional college experience for students.
There are many factors to consider when searching for an affordable option for college that is right for you and your goals. Be sure to consider the benefits and value that many regional colleges offer.
Important items to remember when considering your best options for college:
- Accreditation matters. Make sure the college is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Higher Learning Commission.
- Review the academic programs. Check to see if they have degree programs you may be interested in pursuing.
- Consider overall value. Accreditation and tuition rates are key, but also review the school’s reputation as an academic institution.
- Visit the campus. Seeing the campus in person and meeting faculty, staff and students helps determine whether a college would be a good fit for you.