Real Costs of College and University Are Costing California Students Now and Later: Reports

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"Christ. Seven years of college down the drain."

It not only takes longer for California students to attain community college degrees in the traditional two years and state university degrees in the normal four years, the system has created "a raft of expensive consequences for students and the state," according to two recent reports.

The nonprofit Campaign for College Opportunity reports can be accessed here.

They show two-year associate degrees now take an average of four years to receive. It takes more than 4.7 years for more than half of those state universities to attain bachelors degrees, the reports claim.

The problem is fewer seats are available in needed classes. For goal-oriented students, this means spending more money than their predecessors did on tuition, fees, books and living expenses. Many abandon or delay for years earning their degrees--and the potential for higher earning potential that comes with college degrees, according to the campaign.

"The cost of college isn't just what students and their families pay in tuition or fees, it's also about time--that's the hidden cost of a college education," explains Michele Siqueiros, the campaign's executive director, in a statement. "The real college affordability crisis is in the time it takes to earn a degree."

Key findings from the reports include:

- Asian, black and Latino students take about 4.7 years to complete four years at a state university, compared to 4.3 years for whites.

- The cost of an additional year in college for tuition, fees, books, and living expenses
is $7,600 at a California community college and $26,000 at a state university.

- The cost of an additional year in lost wages over a lifetime is $15,000 at a California community college and $22,000 at a state university.

- Reducing the required credits to graduate by 5 percent would save students $8 million in fees and could free up resources to serve 29,280 additional students.

- An average Cal State Long Beach student who takes six years to earn a bachelor's degree will spend an additional $58,000 on tuition, fees, books and other expenses, and will earn $52,900 less, over their lifetime than someone who graduated in four years. As a result, this student will incur $110,900 in extra expenses and lost wages.

The Campaign for College Opportunity is calling on state colleges and universities to: do better jobs of advising students on the benefits of full-time enrollment; provide more pre-college level courses at community colleges and CSUs; and consider even a marginal reduction in the number of credits required to save students money and free up more chairs in classes.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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My Voice Nation Help

Studying in US is not cheap at all! I tend to take the MBA in Minneapolis, MN. However, It cost a lot. Therefore, I have work hard to save money now..and then take the courses later. 

David Off

Learn about web design cost calculator tool in Minneapolis.


Well, at least the increased education costs are balanced out by the decimated earning power of families.

I told my boss I have to leave an hour early to make up for gettting in late today.


hmm.. lumping in the Asians with the blacks and Mexicans is just wrong... what is the real time for graduation for blacks and Mexicans?  its got to take more like 5-6 yrs to get that prestigious degree in chicano/African American studies.. que no?

Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

Another way of looking at delaying entry into the work force is, you lose your last year's income, not your first year's income. Your last year's income is the highest income.

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