Low-Cost Tuition Part 2: North America

This wraps up the 2 blogs on low-cost tuition for students.

Low-Cost Tuition Part 2: North America


In this blog, we explore post-secondary programs taught in English in the USA and Canada. Unlike the first blog that focused on bachelor programs, this one will discuss community colleges and trade schools.


Post-secondary planning should not be limited to four-year bachelor programs. Thankfully, North America offers a wealth of options, regardless of students' goals. While some people may choose a four-year college route, two-year programs and vocational training are equally fulfilling paths to achieve professional goals.

Community Colleges

The USA is known for astronomical tuition prices, which is a major reason why students choose community colleges. This affordable option provides a meaningful educational experience.

What is a community college? SchoolPEZA provides a great definition:

"Community colleges in the USA are public or private two-year institutions offering a wide range of educational programs. They are often called junior colleges or technical colleges, and they provide affordable and accessible higher education to students who may not be ready for or interested in four-year bachelor's degree programs."

Community colleges provide a foundation for entering the workforce or continuing education in pursuit of a bachelor's degree. Programs are flexible, so students can engage in work opportunities, community service, and internships to supplement their programs. Classes may be scheduled on weeknights or weekends; students can choose the best fit for their schedules.

Resources such as career counseling, student advisors, and tutoring are often available. For students planning to continue their studies, many community college systems have transfer arrangements with four-year colleges and universities.

The least expensive community colleges start at around 4,000 US Dollars per year (3,652 Euros). On the more expensive side, they range up to 17,000 American Dollars (15,400 Euros). Compared to universities charging 60,000+ American Dollars per year, community colleges are far more cost effective.

Price ranges vary depending on the kind of community college. Private ones are generally more expensive. Students living in the same state as their community college are charged state tuition, which is typically lower than the out-of-state rate. This article published by Research.com provides detailed information on the cost of community colleges by state.

Community colleges are found in Canada as well. This article on Scholarboard is a great place to start researching options.

Trade Schools

In a time where tuition costs are soaring in North America, students are seeking alternative pathways to success. Trade schools are financially affordable and practical solutions. Offering skill development and specialized training, these schools prepare students for the world of work at a fraction of the cost.

What Are Trade Schools?

Also known as technical schools and vocational schools, trade schools target the practical elements of learning. Hands-on training is a focal point, preparing students for success in a specific trade or industry. Catering to a wide range of fields, trade schools offer training for vocations such as culinary arts, the healthcare profession, construction, vehicle repair, and technology-related fields. This list merely scratches the surface of study choices offered at trade schools.

Benefits of the Trade School Pathway


Student debt from a college degree can be overwhelming and can impact the careers students pursue. Students facing crippling debt may accept a job out of necessity rather than interest. Offering budget-friendly courses, trade schools deliver quality programs at a fraction of the cost.

Hands-On Learning and Training

Through focused, practical training, students gain the skills they need for the career of their choice. They prepare for work through practice and study. This approach is especially beneficial for students that thrive in a practical environment. In addition, it builds confidence in the field of choice, as students gain vital, real-world experience.

Practical training ensures that when students step into their profession, the transition is more seamless. Students directly apply learned skills.

Accelerated Entry Into the Workforce

Traditional bachelor programs take four years to complete. Trade school programs typically grant entrance into the work force in one or two years. Not only do students save money, but they start earning a salary while gaining experience much more quickly than students in four-year bachelor programs.

High Demand

Our workforce needs skilled professionals. Trades have high demand; trade school graduates secure employment relatively easily. This trend will continue, as skilled labor in many trades has become scarce around the globe. As many employees require work experience, trade school graduates are attractive hires; they possess real-world experience.

Trade School Resources

Find further information on Canadian trade schools at EduCanada and upGrad Abroad. For a list of the 2023 best trade schools in America, check out Niche, which showcases the institutions and reports tuition costs. For students requiring more flexibility, Forbes offers a list of the best online trade schools.


Students contemplate a broad range of factors in making decisions about their futures. Proper research and planning are essential. Seeking counselor guidance and leveraging resources available at school ensures students feel confident, regardless of which post-secondary pathway they choose.

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