TAMPA (WFLA) – Laura Mira is a nursing student at Hillsborough Community College and cost is one of the factors that brought her to the school.
“Well, it is a lot cheaper than a big university and I feel like a lot of students coming out of high school don’t really know about that because they get this thought engrained into their head that they need to go to a big university, when in reality you can do the same classes here for a lot cheaper,” said Mira.
Many students are choosing community colleges to get degrees as the cost of university education skyrockets.
At USF on Thursday, school officials announced they will be shutting down the undergraduate program at the College of Education.
One reason given by school officials is the declining enrollment within the College of Education. In 2009 the school had well over 3,000 people seeking an undergraduate degree in the College of Education. Ten years later that number fell to just over one thousand students.
With the declining enrollment and budget cuts brought on by the pandemic, USF officials say they had to rethink the program.
At Hillsborough Community College they are still offering an AA Degree that will set students on the path to an education degree and a career in teaching.
“We really are the best deal in town financially. A student can come here and take course with a highly credentialled faculty who are really focused on teaching and get a really fantastic experience in very small class sizes,” said Rich Senker who is the Vice President of Academic Affairs at HCC.
Senker says he began his career wanting to become an elementary school teacher and soon learned it would not be financially profitable.
“When I’ve talked to some of my own students that I had in class and they started looking at what some of the entry-level salaries were, it was eye-opening for them,” said Senker.
According to WalletHub, Florida ranks lowest among teacher salaries in the nation.
Florida had the second-lowest annual salary, adjusted for cost of living, among teachers in the nation, behind New Hampshire, according to WalletHub.
Shenker says people don’t go into the teaching profession for the money.
“Everyone that I’ve ever spoken to about being an educator knows it’s the type of career you go into where you aren’t going to get rich,” said Shenker.