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Save $15,000+ by Attending Community College

It’s a bold statement

Most students interested in getting a bachelor’s degree are concerned about the rising cost of higher education and student debt. By attending community college for the first two years of their four-year program, students can significantly cut the overall cost of tuition. Let’s explain how this is true at Scottsdale Community College (SCC):

The average annual tuition for a full-time student attending SCC is about $2,070 ($85 per credit hour). The average annual tuition for a full-time student attending a four-year state university starts around $10,000** (note, the cost per credit hour can vary depending upon the university, degree and program). This assumes the student is full-time for each of two semesters, is an in-state resident, and does not include textbook/course materials costs which can vary widely among each course.

Save up to $15,000 by attending community college

A Comparison of Full-Time Student Tuition in Arizona

One Year of Education

Education Institution Annual Tuition
Arizona State University $10,104
Northern Arizona University $10,390
University of Arizona $11,077
Scottsdale Community College $2,070

A student pursuing a bachelor’s degree has two options. Spend all four years at a university paying higher tuition each year. Or, attend a community college for the first two years with lower tuition and then transfer all of their credits to the four-year university, completing years three and four there. For SCC, credit transfers are easy and widely accepted, thanks to well-established relationships with ASU, UofA and NAU, along with many other universities.

Courses taught at SCC are accredited by the same agency that accredits the four-year state universities, ensuring students receive the same robust academic experience. Given that the average class size at SCC is only 16 (2018-2019 school year), students may have even more individualized attention than sitting in a 200+ student lecture hall for their Psychology 101 class, for example.

In addition, SCC has a partnership with NAU to offer four-year programs in Biology, Elementary Education, Hospitality and Restaurant Management, and Interior Design, for example, where students can earn a bachelor’s degree entirely on the SCC campus. This provides the convenience of staying in one location and can save even more by not having to move to Flagstaff.

Total Cost of Tuition over a 4-Year Bachelor's Degree Program

How a student chooses to obtain the credit hours required for graduation can have a significant impact on the total tuition expense.

Option 1
Year Education Institution Cost**
1 4-Year University $10,524
2 4-Year University $10,524
3 4-Year University $10,524
4 4-Year University $10,524
Total: $42,096
Option 2
Year Education Institution Cost**
1 Scottsdale Community College $2,070
  Scottsdale Community College $2,070
3 4-Year University $10,524
4 4-Year University $10,524
Total $25,188
SAVE $16,908!

Additional Ways to Reduce Cost

Many scholarships – one application. Besides applying for financial aid, college students can pursue a variety of scholarship options. For example, with the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation Scholarships,  all SCC students are encouraged to apply for multiple 2020-2021 scholarship opportunities, with just one application. The deadline for the Summer and Fall 2020 semesters is May 31, 2020.

Free textbooks. SCC recently announced the A to Z Affordable to Zero Textbook Cost Degrees program, starting with the Fall 2020 semester. Students can now pursue an entire degree program that offers no cost or low cost (less than $40) textbooks throughout all courses within the program.

Instead of requiring the purchase of expensive textbooks, SCC provides open educational resources (OER), low-cost instructional materials, library resources, and more as part of its academic instruction. OERs are learning materials that are free to use, adapt, and share because they are either in the public domain or available under an open content license.

The first two SCC degree programs offering the innovative A to Z Program are Sociology and Dance, and more programs are expected to be available in 2021. In addition, SCC provides extensive courses across its 100+ degree and certificate programs that already offer no-cost and low-cost textbook options.

Take a summer class. Students attending other public or private educational institutions can take a required class or two at SCC when they return to the Scottsdale area over their summer break, and then transfer those credits into their existing academic program. This not only saves some money, but students can potentially graduate sooner as well.

Learn More

Every student situation is different. To learn more and understand how community college may be the right option for you, please check out these popular links:

Got questions?

Phone (480) 423-6700 or visit Connect with Us for more information.

Scottsdale Community College is one of 10 colleges that are part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the large community college systems in the nation. Tuition and credit transfer policies are the same at any of the 10 colleges. For more information, visit

Tuition Cost Comparison

**All tuition cost comparison data is from the Maricopa County Community College District’s Institutional Effectiveness department and the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard. The $10,524 number represents an average of the annual tuition cost of the three 4-year state universities listed in the first table.

Tuition cost can vary significantly depending upon the four-year university, the academic program, and many other factors. Tuition costs can also change year to year. Students and prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact university representatives to obtain current, actual tuition costs and thoroughly research all potential expenses related to their respective areas of study.

“Arizona Colleges, Cost and Affordability for 2020,” CollegeCalc.

Leingang, Rachel, “How much is tuition at Arizona’s colleges and universities?” Arizona Republic, Dec. 27, 2018.

Maxedon, Tom, “Tuition Will Increase at Arizona’s Universities, March 24, 2019,” KJZZ 91.5.

“Tuition, Fees, Housing and Meal Plan Rates,” Arizona Board of Regents.

College Board Big Future College Search.  


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