Purdue vs Community College CS

college results
accepted: purdue cs 2k scholarship,6k/year aid oos
waitlisted: gtech cs, cmu scs
I did not get into my state school. Going to purdue will cost ~100k total which my parents have agreed to cosign. Going to community college and guarantee transferring to uva ba cs will cost ~50k total.
Here are the pro/cons list of either decision
community college: costs less ~4k, stay home
purdue: kind of prestigious, college life, internship in first year or two
community college: no social life
purdue: double the cost

Searching up purdue job (ave 70k after graduation)partially justifies a student loan of that magnitude. I also feel like the loan will push me to work harder though it could collapse me.

I’m leaning towards cc. Community college-> uva does not factor in amount of aid uva will give me so cost is at most 50k; purdue will at least be double of cc route.

Debt is not necessary for a CS degree, regardless of the school. Go the CC route!


You might be able to get to UVa for the fall semester of '23, with junior status, by registering for a full load of community college classes starting this summer, and going 4 semesters (summer '22, fall '22, spring '23, summer '23) and so enter UVa a year from this fall, as a junior. It will be a lot of work, but frankly, aside from possibly the CS classes, the classes at the community college will be very easy, so if you work hard and steadily, and your parents are willing to support you so that you don’t have to have a job, you could get very good grades.

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The implies that it is all debt, which is a bad idea for that large amount of debt for undergraduate.


I would look differently.

If the decision is solely financial then I could see the CC route.

But if you want a four year collegiate experience then Purdue.

I assume you have money to pay toward tuition today meaning you’re not having to borrow 100%?

If so I agree it’s too big a loan.

But I totally get the dream of a 4 year experience.

Btw if you want both…4 years and low cost, it’s still not too late to apply to Alabama, Arizona or UAH. Not sure your gpa / test score but assume it’s good.

Good luck to you.

I think cc route is better because of guaranteed admissions to uva.

I can’t tell you which to pick, but it sounds like you’ve resigned yourself to 2 isolated years at home if you choose community college. It does not have to be that way! I teach at one, and there are students involved in sports and clubs. They make friends, they bond in class, they study together. If you live near your campus, it will make it easier, and perhaps with the money you save you can even rent an apartment with friends.

Best of luck!


I know my parents have ~100k over 4 years to pay but I just dont want them to pay. Theyre middle income. This kind of puts me in a predicament where I dont qualify for lots of financial aid and my parents really shouldnt pay for my tuition.

It’s noble but as parents we save to pay.

But that’s why I though out cheaper programs.

If you agree with @momofboiler1 on debt, you can still get into the three schools I previously mentioned and depending on your record they can be dirt cheap with auto merit.

These would be hybrid. The 4 year experience of Purdue at a much lesser cost.


@tsbna44 I’m not really looking for a college experience (partying, living away)
I really just want a well paying cs job and if purdue lives up to its reputation, i would be willing to go.

here are my stats:
gpa: UW:3.7/4.0, W:4.41/4.0
2 AP 5, 1 ap 4

The case for purdue is that it will better prepare me for a top job. Average 70k from purdue placement 2019-2020, will take me 3 years to pay off 100k of student debt after graduation.
From my knowledge, purdue cs is marginally better than uva cs. I find no problem with debt if future income is high.

Another benefit from cc though is I can apply to schools and scholarships again next year.

What about the residential two-year options with guaranteed transfer agreements, like Richard Bland or UVA Wise? I guess we’re past the priority deadline for Bland (4/1) but you can still apply.

That’s too much debt for Purdue. The “being in a huge financial hole will motivate me” rationale is not a good one. I think you’re smart to be leaning toward the transfer pathway.

You must have had a strong application; you just aimed super high and didn’t have enough affordable matches. A gap year (at home or abroad, i.e. a “super-senior” year with AFS) could be another possibility.

Thank you everyone for your input. I agree with the overall sentiment and will be taking the cc-> uva route.
@aquapt hit it on the nail by evaluating that I aimed high.

Should I look to transfer to other schools outside of uva while at cc? What are those chances? Could I just copy and paste my essays from this year to the same colleges?

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if you go CC then the guaranteed admission to UVA you will do just as well. People from schools like Purdue (or UVA) are valued because employers know the courses are tough and people that get thru them have probably learned their stuff. They don’t just take it on faith, though. While schools like this are a good place to look for talent, they’re going to interview you and see for themselves.

So if you go to a CC and work hard, develop your own side projects because you love CS, perhaps help out on open-source or become a valued contributor on stackExchange, take part in coding challenges, then even after frosh year you’ll probably be able to line up an internship. The CS field is probably more open to finding talent regardless of where it comes from than any other career field.

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A 4 year experience is about growth and maturity. With those #s look at Alabama and UAH. My son is a Meche major at Bama. His two roomies were Ga tech. Salaries are based on who you work for and location, less so based on where you go.

You can save money going to one of the two I mentioned and get a first rate education. And get that four year experience.

Most importantly you can still apply.


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Purdue not only is a very good CS/ENG school, but is known for their Coop programs which will enable you to work while you are studying, helping you to pay the cost of your education. You have a choice of a 3, or 5 Coop terms. The added bonus is that you come out of your school years very employable, especially with a major such as CS.
Not sure if you have the match correct on your total cost of attendance, though. It’s about 170K for a four year major, if not more. All I see is 8K total in scholarship money, making for a total COA of approx 162K, not the 100K you have mentioned. Maybe I am missing something?

I would have to agree with everyone on the list. There’s no benefit to spending $100k on a CS degree when you can do it for a fraction of the cost. CS is ridiculously employable and UVA is a heavily recruited school. I promise, you won’t have a problem finding a job out of college.


@57special Are the coop programs the same as cs internships? When it says competitive pay is it 20/hr or 50/hr? I know cs internships are usually skill/interview based.
The 8k is per year. I also didnt mention 10k in net scholarships and 10k from work.
Total scholarship:50k,32k is purdue based

One major thing I will be missing at cc is internship opportunities.

Co-ops are a 3 or 5 semester commitment to the same company, with growing responsibilities. Internships tend to be summers with individual companies.

Roughly 1/3 of Purdue students do co-ops. Typically they beginning after sophomore year.

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The median CS salary at purdue is 94k (based on college scoreboard). With the sheer number of CS undergrads, side projects and internships will help you stand out. In this respect maybe CC can help indirectly, as you may have more time to focus on these things.