Well, it starts. I wrote last week that the next step was auditing an accounting class at the local community college.
The biggest question is whether to take the class at a community college near where I work, Community College of Denver (CCD), making it easier to get there after work, or at a community college near my house, Front Range Community College (FRCC), making it easier to get home after class.
Close to home
On Friday, I called Front Range, to see what it would cost to audit an Accounting 101 class in the Spring, and what the Spring 2012 class schedule looked like.
Auditing vs. Enrolling
Apparently, at Front Range, the cost of auditing is the same per credit hour as the cost of enrolling and taking a course for credit, $167.85.
And actually, auditing costs more, because Colorado has this great program for undergraduate students called “COF,” or the College Opportunity Fund.
The Way COF Works
- You must be a Colorado resident.
- You must be attending a Colorado public institution or a participating private institution at the undergraduate level.
- COF will pay a portion of your tuition while you are enrolled as an undergraduate student, and the amount is set each year by the Colorado legislature.
- For the 2011-2012 school year, the credit hour stipend amount is set at $62.00.
So if I enroll at Front Range, and take the Accounting 101 course for credit instead of auditing, the per credit hour price is reduced by $62.00. Which means enrolling saves me at least $186 off of the class. With fees, the Accounting 101 class at FRCC would cost me $373.54, plus books. That’s not too bad.
Class enrollment for Spring 2012 at FRCC opens on November 16th. There is no application fee, and I can enroll online. Because I already have a Baccalaureate degree, I won’t need to take their placement test, and I can simply start taking the Accounting 101 class in January.
The only downside to attending FRCC is that the class is twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays) and it starts at 5:30 pm, which means I would have to leave work at 4:30 pm in order to make it back to my car with enough time to drive to FRCC. I suspect that my boss would be fine with this, especially if I came in at 7:30 am on those mornings, or stayed later some other evenings, but it would be nicer to not have to leave work early.
Close to work
At Community College of Denver, tuition is the same, and the cost of auditing vs. the cost of enrolling is the same as at FRCC. Class enrollment opened this weekend, and classes start in January.
CCD also has an Accounting 101 class on offer for the Spring 2012 semester, in the evening. The best part is that it’s a once-a-week class (on Thursdays) from 5 pm to 7:45 pm. While I would still have to leave work early on Thursday, I would only have to do it once a week, which is a definite improvement. It would also be nice because my husband has standing plans for Thursday nights and so it’s a night I never get to see him anyway.
But there is a downside. CDD has much higher fees that FRCC. Where Front Range only has enrollment fees and a flat student fee, CCD has both of those, as well as a “bond fee” (not sure what that is), a “clean air” fee, a vaccine fee (which I can maybe get waived?), a medical fee (I have health insurance through work, so maybe I can get this waived, too?), a “success building” fee (really?), and a public transportation fee, because they offer discounted public transportation to all of their students.
If none of the fees are waived, the class at CCD would cost $508.60 ($132.96 more than FRCC). If I could get the fees waived, it would drop the tuition for the class to $482.60 (or $412.60, but none of the downtown colleges waive the public transportation fee, even if they’re willing to waive other fees).
Unfortunately, when I spoke with the cashier’s office at CCD (after about 20 minutes being bounced around the phone tree), I was told that none of their fees are ever waived, for any reason. Bummer.
So now I have to decide if paying an extra $130 is worth the convenience of once-a-week classes, being able to easily walk to school from work, and not having to hope that the bus doesn’t get stuck in traffic on the way back to my car twice a week, so I can get to class on time.
As I was writing this post, my thought was to apply to both and see what happened, but having written that last paragraph I think the upsides of the location and convenience outweigh the downsides of the extra money it will cost to take the class at CCD. Now all that’s left is to apply.
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