Turning Two Years at Community College Into Four

A residential community college can provide an attractive path to a bachelor's degree.

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Nurturing community college trans­fer students may be especially impor­tant as states cut university funding and impose tuition increases, says Stephen G. Katsinas, director of the University of Alabama's Education Policy Center. "For millions of students, community colleges are, in fact, the portal to high­er education," Katsinas says. 

The Rumer family of Maryland testifies to this. Back in 2002, the year that Chris graduated from high school and started at Allegany College of Maryland, his mother, Annette Rumer, received a bachelor's from Frostburg State Uni­versity, two years after earning an as­sociate's degree from Allegany. Also in 2002, daughter Sandi got an Allegany associate's degree. Chris was later accepted into Penn State with a 3.7 grade point average. There, he volun­teered for the campus weather service, joined a severe-weather watch team, and interned at the Brookhaven Na­tional Laboratory on Long Island, N.Y. "I was seeing my passion and my dream unfold before me," says Rumer, who now works for an environmental consultant in Pittsburgh. Although his Penn State sheepskin left him $67,000 in debt, Rumer knows his path helped him save money. "My friend on Long Is­land was in the same program as I was. He borrowed for 3½ years," Rumer recalls. That friend ended up owing $120,000. 

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