Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Baker City lacks the archetypal university campus with its tree-lined walkways and imposing, ivy-bearded buildings.

But for many local residents who want to further their education, what we do have is, well, better.

Blue Mountain Community College gives the so-called "non-traditional" student (as though there's anything unconventional about a person wanting to learn) flexible options in pursuing a degree that aren't always available at four-year universities.

It's no real surprise, then, that the college, which is based in Pendleton but has a satellite campus in Baker City, is becoming a more popular choice for Baker County students.

Enrollment locally has increased almost three-fold in the past five years.

In addition to convenient schedules - including online classes available for students who need them - Blue Mountain's tuition is a bargain, at about $45 less per credit than its closest competitor.

Students can choose to earn an associate's degree, or transfer their credits to a four-year university where they can go on to earn a bachelor's degree.

The bottom line is that Baker County residents needn't leave home to acquire a higher education.