Staff Ed— Harper college doesn’t get the credit it deserves

At this point in the school year, most, if not all, seniors have decided where they will attend school next year. Whether a student chooses to study abroad, or stay within the Midwest, entering college is a scary and exciting time for all. However, a good number of BG seniors will end up staying home and attending Harper College in Palatine. Recently, one may have noticed there is a stigma attached to attending Harper. Many associate it with a bad school for students who aren’t intelligent enough to get into a university. Countless students have told each other that they would be embarrassed to go to Harper because they wouldn’t be getting the “college experience” they would get elsewhere. People are terrified of staying home for another two or four years, and these opinions are misguided.

For starters, college tuition is enormously expensive, and most people will end up paying off their student loans for many years.  Along with the tuition, students still have to worry about paying for books, housing and meal plans. You can easily find yourself in thousands of dollars of debt by attending a big university.

As an undergraduate, you will inherently take core classes offered at a community college, like Harper. So when you think about it, you’re paying thousands of dollars to take a class you could take at your local community college for a more reasonable price. According to the Harper College website, one year at their college will cost you $2,646. The website also states that it is nearly $10,000  cheaper per year than the University of Illinois. So by going to Harper rather than Northwestern, you can save yourself nearly $20,000 and few thousand when you include all the other fees you will have to pay.

There is nothing wrong with those who choose to attend a four–year university because it does offer some benefits that a community college can not. This includes getting a sneak peek at life away from your parents, and being on your own.

However, a great incentive to go to Harper is the recently announced Promise Scholarship, which will let attending students have the ability to pay no tuition fee if they meet certain criteria. While attending Harper, a student must have at least a 2.2 GPA throughout all four semesters, participate in ten hours of community service through a Harper related program per semester and attend full–time each semester. As the recession slowly starts to improve, this plan will help a countless number of families across America who struggle with paying for college.

“I’m going to Harper because I want to get my core classes out of the way without paying the expensive tuition,” senior Noah Festenstein said. “If I can go there without paying any fees, that would be helpful.”

One should be proud to say “I will be going to Harper in the fall.” For now, seniors should take advantage of the new plan to save money. So whether you’re a senior who hasn’t decided or a high school student wondering where to attend college, Harper is always a great choice to have on your list, no matter if you’re a straight A student, or a student who struggles.                

“No one should ever feel embarrassed to go to community college,” Festenstein said. “They’re great schools where you can get a great education.”