Staying Home to Go to College

Community colleges make the grade for Valley students looking to save a little cash and prepare for their careers — without sacrificing the A-plus education


(page 9 of 15)

 Dutchess Community College student works on a piece of art

Dutchess Community College

By: Greg Ryan

Talk about a bargain. Despite having the lowest tuition of any higher learning institution in the state, DCC is considered one of the finest community colleges in the SUNY system. Residents of Dutchess County have taken notice, too, as a third of the county’s high school graduates attend the school, which has a main campus in Poughkeepsie and a satellite campus in Wappingers Falls. Last year marked the college’s 50th anniversary, and it was quite the successful one — enrollment was up 4.5 percent as compared to the previous year, and has increased 34 percent since 1999. The school houses 10 academic departments and offers 63 associate’s degrees and certificates in business, the sciences, and the humanities. DCC has a full-fledged visual and performing arts department (including its own music school), and the school furthered its appreciation of the aesthetic by founding an arts studies program last year. A number of interesting speakers visit the college each semester, including New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, who spoke at the school in 2007. DCC takes its reputation as a junior college standout seriously, refusing to rest on its academic laurels: In an effort to attract the brightest learners, the school awards a full-tuition scholarship to any student who attended a Dutchess County high school and finished in the top 10 percent of his or her class. The investment seems to be paying off, as nearly 75 percent of Dutchess’ 32,000 graduates have settled in the Hudson Valley after graduating.
53 Pendell Rd., Poughkeepsie. 845-431-8000;


Up next: Bard College


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