With desperately low on-time graduation rates—only about 38 percent of students at so-called four-year colleges actually manage to make it out in four years—almost every college student should be thinking about ways to keep on track for graduation. And with 2012 graduates carrying an average debt load of nearly $30,000, looking for education bargains is a good idea as well.
But frugal freshmen aren't doing themselves any favors by planning to spend their summers flip-flopping through the cool linoleum-lined halls of the nation's community colleges, writes Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward in Slate. Summer school is depressing and wasteful, with a high opportunity cost. Savvy educational bargain hunters should take courses online instead.