Rowan-Cabarrus Community College offers lowest tuition and fees in area

  • Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012 6:52 a.m.

SALISBURY — A recent analysis from Community College Times of the College Board’s “2012 Trends in College Pricing” report prompted Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to look closely at how its costs compared with other institutions of higher learning.

The analysis showed that while the North Carolina legislature raised tuition for community colleges by 58 percent between 2007 and 2011, there remained a “silver lining.”


Unlike tuition increases in state and private universities which are incorporated into the universities’ operational budgets, these increases are not reallocated to fund community colleges.

A review of tuition and fees for surrounding colleges shows that Rowan-Cabarrus is less than half as expensive as the lowest cost college, University of North Carolina at Charlotte at $5,873 per semester.

The silver lining, however, according to Community College Times, is that ... full-time students at public two-year colleges receive on average of $4,350 in grant funds from all sources and federal tax benefits. That means that some students have extra money to cover costs such as supplies, transportation, child care, and other expenses, which for the average two-year college commuter totals more than $5,000.”

About 67 percent of the Rowan-Cabarrus student population receives Pell Grants from the federal government, bringing nearly $16.7 million of federal funds into the community. Additionally, because these funds are grants, they do not need to be repaid, and the funds are largely spent in the local community.

“Simply, more education pays off in higher earnings,” said Carl M. Short, chairman of the college’s board of trustees. “However, higher education also provides some security against unemployment.”

Average earnings grow from $19,171 to $31,534 annually by obtaining an associate’s degree.

“Ultimately, education affects your income and your likelihood of becoming unemployed,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “The main point of all of this data is that it’s worth your time and money to get more education.”

“In Rowan and Cabarrus counties, the unemployment rate among those with a bachelor’s degree or higher is only 3 percent. However, those individuals with just a high school diploma face a 16 percent unemployment rate,” said Spalding. “Unemployment in our area among those without a high school diploma is a whopping 21 percent. With changes to the GED testing coming up in 2014, now is the time.

 “My first job in higher education was as a GED instructor, and I know first-hand how important a GED is for a person’s future,” continued Spalding. “Today’s unemployment rates are evidence that without a high school diploma or a GED, future salary is limited to near poverty levels. By all means, use 2013 to complete your high school equivalent education so you can better prepare for the future. Encourage anyone you know to do the same. Rowan-Cabarrus is ready to help.”

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-7222. The college is currently registering students for spring classes.

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