Data shows small two-year colleges are a real bargain
We've written many times about the benefits of schools like McCook Community College, in quality, convenience and cost, so it's no surprise that new data confirms our opinion, especially when it comes to cost.
Less than a quarter of community college students took out student loans for the 2013-14 school year, as compared to about half of those enrolled in a public four-year college.
The amount was even higher for those attending a private four-year college, 61 percent, according to data released by the American Association of Community Colleges.
"The lower rate of borrowing is partially because the cost of attendance is considerably lower than that at four-year colleges and universities," Erinn Brauer, area director of financial aid for Mid-Plains Community College.
The rate was up to only 25 percent for the 2015-16 school year, and that's understandable, since two years of tuition, fees, room and board at a MPCC campus averages about $18,000, compared to $34,000 at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and closer to $40,000 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Mid-Plains, and especially McCook Community College, has a large number of students whose education is covered by grants and scholarships.
That includes the usual Pell Grants and other scholarships, but also sources like McCook College Foundation and athletic scholarships from things like softball, basketball, volleyball and even rodeo.
Many students are as a result able to graduate debt-free, much better prepared to join the workforce or continue their education at a more costly four-year institution.