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Community Colleges still a bargain

Bargains are where you find them and though the cost of a college education may be going up, for US community and junior colleges the rise is from a much lower base.

Not that tuition charges were ever very high by any comparative inflationary measurements.

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The College Scholarship Service of the College Board reports that the average annual fees for community colleges would reach $469 this year compared with $819 for public four-year colleges. Last year's average for public community colleges was $464.

Annual tutition charges for state-funded community colleges range from $119 in Arkansas, $384 in Virginia, to $976 by some in New York State.

More than 100 community colleges in California remain tuition-free but pressure is mounting in the Legislature to charge tuition, a move that Dale Parnell, president of the 1,200-member American Association of Community and Junior Collges says ''would end a landmark program of public education that has propelled millions of men and women of all ages into rewarding occupations and professions.''

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