Did you know that there are over eighty colleges within the State of Connecticut? Students of all ages intent on advancing their studies can choose from a variety of academic offerings and campus settings to match every budget imaginable. We all know the quality and expense behind an Ivy League education at Yale or private liberal arts education at Wesleyan, Connecticut College, Trinity, or even Fairfield- $50,000 plus. Yet, families experiencing sticker shock from these elite schools can be comforted by two important points: 1) colleges compete for the best students and often discount these high price tags with financial and/or merit  aid; and 2) our state universities and community colleges offer another choice… sound academic programs substantially lower in price. So don’t necessarily cross the elite private schools off your list if they’re not in line with your financial strategy. And, check out less expensive options found in your own backyard. 

The crown jewel, rated the #1 Public University in New England by US News & World Report, University of Connecticut/Storrs (www.uconn.edu) offers over 100 areas of study for a price substantially less than private institutions ($21,000- tuition, meals, housing, fees). Students admitted to a UConn regional campus versus the main campus pay an annual tuition bill at even more of a bargain rate ($8,700- tuition and fees ) with the option to transfer usually after two years to the main campus after meeting general electives and GPA requirements. And, you can’t beat our respected state university system with four strong choices including Western Connecticut State University (www.wcsu.edu) with tuition, housing and fees set at $10,000. The best deal overall: local community colleges which in some cases are priced at 60% lower than four year colleges. Norwalk Community College (www.ncc.edu) for example, will cost you just $3,406 for tuition and fees for the 2010-2011 year. And, through the Guaranteed Admissions Program (GAP), students enrolled at a community college like Norwalk “are guaranteed admission to the University of Connecticut once the associate degree has been earned and an overall average of 3.0 achieved”. Are you a student at or graduate of any of these Connecticut schools? We want to hear your impressions related to investment value.

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