Howard Community College

Due to the staggering rate at which college tuition prices have increased over the last 30 to 40 years, going to a traditional four-year university isn't in the cards for everyone. There's a significant amount of social pressure to attend college, but if a high school senior doesn't know exactly what they want to study–and by extension do for the rest of their life– it can be hard to justify taking out a six figure loan. And even when you do know what you want to do, it often may not feel worth it. The era of finding oneself while away at college is over; most people don't have that luxury anymore.

With more and more students opting to go to trade school or eschewing post-high school education altogether, liberal arts–that is courses that don't necessarily translate directly into specific career paths–are beginning to lose their prestige. Once the foundation of higher education, the humanities are catching a lot of flak because their practical application isn't abundantly clear. It's certainly understandable. Spending hours grappling with Foucault and Kierkegaard isn't going to make someone rich, or help them pay off their student loan debt. That said, for many, Community college has provided the most feasible means of getting a well-rounded education without taking out exorbitant loans. Community college allows would-be university students to knock out their general education courses at a fraction of the price. With this in mind, here is a quick rundown of the benefits of starting out at a Community college.

Saving Money

Saving money is perhaps the best argument for attending community college

This one's a no brainer. The average yearly tuition at a two-year Community college is a little over $3,000 per year, about one third of the cost of an in-state public school. Prices increase for out-of-state tuition; if you were to leave the state for public school, tuition fees average at about $24,000 per year. Private school is even more expensive, with an average cost of around $35,000 per year. Even if you eventually want to go to a private school, lowering your loans by around $70,000 by taking your first few years of class at Community college is definitely a smart move.

Transfer Credits

If the credits transfer, why not take them for cheaper?

Most Community colleges have specific programs set up with state and private universities in their immediate vicinity. These programs are designed to help funnel students into the schools they want to go to and sometimes even give scholarships to students with outstanding grades. Still, it's always important for students to check exactly which class credits transfer, as most universities have limits on the amount of credits they'll accept.

Figuring out what you want to do

Deciding what to do can be tough

Community college might not be free, but at $3,000 per year, it's more feasible for students who live at home to be able to work and save money to pay for their tuition. This affords Community college students a level of freedom that many university students just don't have. Those at Community college have the opportunity to explore their interests and find out exactly what career path they want to follow. Want to take an experimental dance class? Go ahead. Want to take photography? Knock yourself out.

It's Easier to Go Part-Time

Working and going to school at the same time can be a balancing act. Community college makes it easier.

For people who never got a college degree, Community college is the perfect way to get back into academics. It may be more realistic for some to attend classes part-time or take night courses so that they can still work while taking classes. And if someone wanted to take one class per semester, it'd be easier to facilitate at a junior college. Most major universities have either a credit minimum, or charge an additional price-per-credit that makes part-time study uneconomical.

Smaller Class Sizes

Get to know your teachers better.

While almost every American university boasts "small class sizes," Community colleges tend to actually deliver on this promise. The class sizes might not be as small as some private universities, but classrooms tend to average around twenty students. This gives students an opportunity to form relationships with their professors and get more access to one-on-one instruction.

There are certainly advantages associated with going to an accredited four-year university. These schools often have more resources and by extension better facilities than most Community colleges. That said, Community colleges are beginning to improve as more students are finding they can't afford the traditional route. There's no one correct path. Both Community college and four-year universities have different things to offer. The reality is, success in college is predicated on a student's willingness to learn, not the classroom they're sitting in.

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I thought I had a pretty good handle on my finances out of school. I worked several jobs while attending university and had little to no problem managing my income. However, once I graduated, I realized how much more complicated personal accounting could really be.

There were so many variables I needed to keep track of. Biweekly bills, monthly charges, and general necessities amounted to a heap of confusing numbers that were often impossible to decipher. The funniest part was that I was actually trying to do this by hand (I don't know what I was trying to prove to myself, either).

After messing up for the 17th time, I decided to give Microsoft Excel a shot. I used Excel a bit in school and I knew all the big-wig finance people used it, so what could I possibly have to lose? The answer is about six hours of my precious time. Excel isn't much of an improvement over handwriting and it's still dependent on the user to manually input all of the information. It's like doing everything by hand with the slightest help, meaning that it still required a tremendous amount of time and concentration. Well that was all for nothing, I guess.

It's sort of funny. I was certain that I could manage my personal finances with ease, when it's practically a full-time job. I was already stressed out enough with my first job and I knew I didn't have enough time to give my finances the attention it deserved.

That's why I decided to try out a budgeting app. My best friend told me that he uses an app called Truebill to manage his finances. "What does it even mean to manage your finances?" I asked him. He told me that Truebill was the personal financial assistant I wished I could have. It could aggregate all of my account information into one place and give me specific insights and actions.

I loved the idea of having full control over my finances, especially during a time of financial uncertainty, and I realized that Truebill would be the easiest way to accomplish this. The user interface is incredibly simple and intuitive, so it doesn't even feel like a finance app! Truebill offers a multitude of features, with their most popular being the ability to cancel subscriptions with the press of a button.

Okay, I had no idea how many subscriptions I was still subscribed to. In fact, I wasn't even using a quarter of the subscription services I was signed up for. Subscription boxes, streaming services, my old gym, and even an old subscription to my favorite magazine--it was all there and I was livid. How could I let myself waste all of this money and how did I never catch this? Thank goodness for Truebill.

Truebill also offers bill negotiations. There is a 40% fee based on how much you save and Truebill even claims that there is an 85% chance that they'll be able to lower your bill once a negotiation is requested. Why wouldn't I take them up on this? There was zero risk and I would only have to pay once my bill was lowered (which means that I would be saving money regardless).

More standard features of Truebill include the ability to generate a credit report on-demand and even request a pay advance. I only used the pay advance feature once when I wanted to buy a gift for my mom, but didn't have enough cash in hand and Truebill automatically reimbursed itself when I got my next paycheck.

The credit report is another fantastic feature and practically taught me what good credit meant. Truebill's credit report basically shows you which financial decisions have the most significant impact on your credit score and ways that you can improve your credit month-over-month. I've never had such control over my credit and it feels good.

I'll be the first to admit that I was extremely naive coming out of school. I figured that as long as I was attentive, I could manage my finances with ease. We manage money to some extent throughout our entire lives, but once you're thrown out on your own, it's a completely different story. With Truebill, I've finally been able to take control over my finances and stay on top of all of my responsibilities.

Update: Our friends at Truebill are extending a special offer to our readers! Follow this link to sign-up for Truebill.

My buddies and I always try to make it out to a game, but we never really care which one we end up at. Obviously we have our favorite sports and teams, but it was rarely about what game we went to or who we saw playing. It was about watching the game live.

In the early months of lockdown, all we had was Korean baseball, and trust me, we loved it. The only issue was, none of us had any idea what the commentators were saying. Even then, a few of my friends weren't huge fans of baseball. They were into sports like football and basketball, ones that moved at a quicker pace with less down-time in between plays.

We decided to see if there were any other events going down and came across horse racing. Yes, horse racing. It was perfect--short, fast-paced, and most importantly, an opportunity for betting.

I had never really considered watching a horse race any time other than the Belmont Stakes, but the prospects of the sport seemed exhilarating. Even better, with horse racing we knew we could still recreate the atmosphere of a race track. Salty snacks? Check. Stale beer? Check. A simple and easy way to bet? Check.

One quick Google search later, we came across TVG, powered by FanDuel. It's an online betting platform that takes you right to the heart of the action. We were a little apprehensive about using a mobile app to place our bets, but TVG's ability to bet on live horse races from all over the world was too good to pass up.

Here are 5 reasons why we are obsessed with horse racing thanks to TVG:

1. Betting has never been easier

Use your phone or computer to watch and bet on live horse races in real-time. TVG offers a bunch of features to make betting even simpler--live odds and handicapping tips leverage recent learnings to help you make your best bet. Not to mention, TVG's exclusive race content and wagering guide offers an under-the-hood look into the strategy behind horse race betting.

2. The biggest selection of horse races out there

If you're looking to drop a little dough on a horse race, chances are your best option is your local race track. But watching the same few horses races over and over again isn't the most exciting thing. With TVG you have access to over 150 tracks worldwide with races happening consistently throughout the day.

3. Get a generous sign-up offer when you place your first bet

Once you register your account, you will be eligible for a $200 risk-free bet. All you have to do is place your first bet and you're covered. If you happen to lose, TVG will insure you for up to $200 as a sort of wagering credit. I may have been a little trigger happy when placing my first bet, so having this insurance was a great perk. There are also a bunch of promotional offers available year-round.

4. Making deposits and cashing out at the touch of button

With a ton of payment options such as PayPal, BetCash, debit/credit, wire transfers, and other third-party services, making a deposit is a breeze. But what about the payout? Depending on your deposit method, your withdrawal will be available in a few days. No more waiting in-line to collect your winnings!

5. Watching live races with your friends while betting is exhilarating

Even when we were watching Korean baseball, Zoom calls with my friends were a little dull.

With TVG, we haven't had this sort of fun in months! Every weekend we'll turn on a race and throw our bets in. After a few races, and quite a few drinks, we'll tally up our winnings to see who won the most! Sometimes it's not even about making money, but just having a good time.

TVG is the perfect way to add a little excitement to an otherwise mundane afternoon. It introduced me to the world of horse racing, a sport I never would have considered otherwise.

The races just keep ramping up and thanks to TVG, I can always get in on the fun.

UPDATE: The biggest derby in horse racing is THIS WEEKEND. Get in on the action with your $200 risk-free bet!

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