For high school students whose families don’t think they can afford college, why not go to a community college and then transfer? According to an article by Jeannie Kever in the Houston Chronicle:

[Starting college at a community college] may be the model of the future, as more students start at a community college, drawn by small classes and a huge savings on tuition, room and board. Texas universities are stepping up recruiting at community colleges these days, mainly because that’s where the students are. Enrollment at four-year schools grew 4 percent last fall, but it was up 13 percent at the state’s community colleges.

That sounds promising, especially considering that the average private college, for instance will increase tuition and fees by 4.5 percent this year. The apparent wisdom of the transferring from community college plan actually underlies lots of policy by across the nation.

While this might appear to make financial sense, it’s still not always the best option educationally, however. Only about 20 percent of community college students actually manage to transfer to a regular school. Most community colleges don’t actually do a very good job preparing students to transfer, which makes going to community colleges a somewhat risky proposition.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer