It’s time to talk about Community College

Community College Sprintax

You want to study in the US. But what’s your next step?

Many students in your position will research available courses in the many prestigious American Universities. But getting into these Universities can be tricky. And the tuition fees can be astronomical. So what can you do?

There is one option you should consider before you make the final decision on where you’re going to study – Community College. Roughly one in five of all international undergraduate students in the US study at a Community College. That adds up to almost 100,000 students.

International students find that there are numerous benefits to enrolling at a Community College such as reduced fees, smaller class sizes and one-on-one assistance. Additionally, studying at a Community College doesn’t mean limited options (as some might lead you to believe). On the contrary – students can study diverse topics and find virtually limitless opportunities to learn and further their education at four-year Universities if desired.

5 Reasons why you should consider enrolling in a Community College

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A Community College is a higher education institution that primarily serves its surrounding community. There are over a thousand Community Colleges in the United States and most offer a variety of degrees or certificates that prepare both domestic and international students for the working world. There are many differences between Community Colleges and Universities. Perhaps the most obvious is the duration of degrees offered.

Typically Courses at Community Colleges take two years to complete, while the duration is often four years at Universities. While many Community Colleges do not carry the prestige of their four-year counterparts, there are still many advantages to choosing the two-year route.

Here are five reasons why every international student should consider enrolling in a US Community College:

1. Tuition fees are much lower

Community College is certainly a good option for students who are budget conscious. One of the main advantages of enrolling in a Community College is the reduced tuition fees.

Fees for international students at traditional four-year Universities can cost upwards of $40,000 per year. But at Community Colleges, fees are often closer to $10,000 per College year.

Many students aim to use Community College as a stepping-stone before finishing their degree at a University. Since Community College tuition is more affordable than a traditional four-year University, spending the first two years of a course at a Community College is a great way to save money.

2. Diverse options

As outlined above, international students who enroll in Community Colleges have lots of options. Firstly, you could choose to complete your course before seeking out opportunities in the working world. Or you could use the course as a springboard toward further education.

At traditional four year Universities, students usually spend their first two years taking general education requirements such as math or history. This means that during the first two years of University, regardless of what you study, you’ll be required to take the same general education requirements. It will not be until your third and fourth year that you will focus on the requirements which are more specific to your chosen degree program. This is why many international students choose to do the two years of general educational requirements at a Community College before transferring to a traditional university to complete their degree.

What’s more, Community Colleges and Universities often develop special agreements for the transfer of credits and degrees between the institutions.  Some Community Colleges even have programs that guarantee students’ admission to a four-year institution.

3. Campus size

Another big difference between Community Colleges and Universities is campus size.

Universities are usually much larger than Community Colleges. In fact, some Universities have over a hundred thousand students. Normally Community Colleges do not come near that level of student population.

Catching your bearings and finding your way around is much easier on a smaller campus. And with a reduced student population, it will be easier to get to know fellow students and make friends!

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4. Student-faculty ratio

The ratio of students to faculty members is also smaller at Community Colleges.

Why is this a positive? Class sizes tend to be small. During the course of your studies, you may require some face time with a teacher or professor. You are much more likely to get it at a Community College. This will enable you to ask more questions and get the support you need.

5. Cutting edge fields

Smaller class sizes can be highly beneficial for international students as they adjust to the pace of US academic life and practice their English-language skills.

They can also be advantageous when you are studying subjects in certain cutting-edge fields such as biomedical technology, robotics and internet, and computer technologies, etc.

10 of the Best Community Colleges for international students

Half of the international students in US Community Colleges choose an institution in either California, Texas, Florida, Washington state or New York state.

Below are the top 10 Community Colleges for international students (based on foreign student populations).

1. Houston Community College


Location: Houston, Texas

Number of international students in 2016/17 – 5,982


2. Santa Monica College


Location: Santa Monica, California

Number of international students in 2016/17 – 3,532

3. Lone Star College


Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Number of international students in 2016/17 – 3,025

4. De Anza College


Location: Cupertino, California

Number of international students in 2016/17 – 2,792

5. Northern Virginia Community College


Location: Annadale, Virginia

Number of international students in 2016-2017 – 2,027

6. Miami Dade College


Location: Miami, Florida

Number of international students in 2016-2017 – 1,995

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7. Montgomery College


Location: Rockville, Maryland

Number of international students in 2016-2017 – 1,933

8. Green River College


Location: Auburn, Washington

Number of international students in 2016/17 – 1,789

9. Valencia College


Where – Orlando, Florida

Number of international students in 2016/17 – 1,764

10.  Diablo Valley


Location: Pleasant Hill, California

Number of international students in 2016/17 – 1,641

Sprintax can help Community College students

Regardless of where you choose to study, every international in the US is legally obliged to file a tax return each year.

Sprintax Returns is the only online tax software for international students in the US. It will help you e-file your US federal tax return and prepare your fully compliant state tax return in minutes!

Sprintax is the ‘go-to’ tax filing software for numerous major universities in the US including NYU, Columbia, Arizona State University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Cornell. We’re also the nonresident partner of choice for Turbo Tax.

File with Sprintax! File with confidence!

  • Compliant US tax return
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  • Over 500k people have used Sprintax Returns to prepare their tax returns and get their tax refunds.

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