One of the best things about online college degree programs is that you can complete them from virtually anywhere. You’re not tied down by location, and you can choose to attend even a school that’s far away from where you live and work. However, if you’re a community college student, you might wonder if your online education still transcends local boundaries, what freedoms you have and how you will get academic support if you need it.

You Have a Choice

There’s no requirement that you must go to the community college closest to where you live, especially if it doesn’t offer the degree program that you want. Many community colleges even accept out-of-state students. You don’t have to choose a local community college if you don’t want to, especially if you plan to complete your degree program online rather than on-campus. That’s part of the appeal of online college. You can study at the school of your choice, regardless of its physical distance from you, even if you choose community college.

Changes to Online Community College Choices

Suppose that your community college isn’t offering an online course that you need during the semester you need to take it. Another school in your state might be offering the course exactly when you need to take it, and because you won’t have to go to campus for your online class anyway, it doesn’t matter how many miles the school is from you. However, most community colleges are separate entities with separate degree programs, including online degrees. You may not be able to effortlessly transfer credits from one school to another if you decide to take the class elsewhere. If you need support while taking this online class at another school, which school do you turn to?

A proposal currently being considered in California addresses this common problem at community colleges within the state, but it has stirred controversy over whether students would benefit more from a centralized hub for community college online courses or with each individual community college retaining control over degree programs. On one hand, the proposed online portal would allow students of any of California’s community colleges to register and take courses at any of the schools. In addition to the simplicity, students would have access to phone and online support through the portal, according to South Carolina Public Radio. Opponents, on the other hand, believe that the local administrators at each individual community college can better serve students, especially when it comes to tutors, academic counselors and other support services. Depending what happens with this proposal, other states could soon begin exploring the same question.

You don’t have to be part of the geographic community to enroll in a community college degree program online. You can use the freedom that comes with a distance learning education to choose to virtually attend the community college that’s right for you.