Counting College Costs

By Matt Porter

November 12, 2012 Updated Nov 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM EDT

Town of Dickinson, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As a major in financial services, Meagan Hoyt knows how to make the most of her money.

"I like money, I really like numbers, so it just kind of fit for me," said Hoyt about her major, "I'm good at math."

Hoyt never saw the value going straight into a four-year college.

Instead, she's saving thousands by completing a two-year associates degree at Broome Community College first.

"I didn't really see the point on spending money on a four year when you can just stay at home for your first two years," she said."

With a combination of scholarships and financial aid, her costs are a fraction of her peers.

"I actually got a scholarship too. And then there's your TAP assistance also," said Hoyt, "So that brought me down to only have to pay $145 for the semester."

The US is seeing more people graduate with Bachelor's degrees than ever before according to a Pew Research Center report.

Four year state schools like Binghamton University are seeing more apply every year, including those from community colleges looking to continue their education.

BU's value is its lower tuition costs.

"They are getting an incredible education for relatively little cost compared to our private school peers," said BU Director of Admissions Townsend Plant, "So they don't have that same burden in some cases."

As demand increases for higher degrees, Plant reminds prospective students to seriously consider financial costs.

"They have to weigh very carefully, the quality of the education they are going to receive with the investment they're going to make," said Plant.

For Hoyt who hopes to counsel others on their finances, she thinks she's calculated the best deal.

"It's a lot easier knowing I'm not in debt," said Hoyt, "But I still work just as hard even though I didn't have to spend my own money on it."