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Community College: Best and worst colleges in the United States ranked

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  • Samantha Parish 

As the cost of attending college grows every year, more and more Americans are opting for community college. The rate of tuition is usually lower.

student getting ready to graduate from a community college where Wallethub ranked the best to worst community colleges.

Four year colleges, especially private colleges, can be a lot more expensive.

This means even if students qualify and get into these schools, their loans are going to be much more expensive.

Why are community colleges such a good alternative?

According to Wallethub, community college can give students a chance to receive a higher education at a much lower cost.

One semester for a full time student attending community college in their state of residence averaged to $3,800.

The price of a public four year institution for one semester was about $10,740 on average.

One option many students are choosing is to start at a community college for two years then transfer to a four year college.

Wallethub reports that there are more perks than just a cheaper education.

Community college can offer students more flexible schedules, smaller classes, and stimulating coursework.

While the overall outlook on community college seems great, the quality between colleges will vary.

Wallethub looked at different things to determine the best and worst community colleges in the United States.

Some factors included how much in-state tuition costs, fees for students, and graduation rates.

Data determining the best and worst community colleges in the U.S.

The best community college in the U.S. was the State Technical College of Missouri.

The worst community college was Little Big Horn College in Montana, ranking at 677th.

A sample of 677 community colleges were looked at across the United States.

New York State had 30 community colleges measured.

New York State community colleges from best to worst

  1. CUNY Queensborough Community College
  2. CUNY Stella and Charles Guttman Community College
  3. Nassau Community College
  4. Columbia-Greene Community College
  5. CUNY LaGuardia Community College
  6. Rockland Community College
  7. Hudson Valley Community College
  8. Suffolk County Community College
  9. Fulton-Montgomery Community College
  10. Erie Community College
  11. CUNY Hostos Community College
  12. Dutchess Community College
  13. Monroe Community College
  14. SUNY Broome Community College
  15. Genesee Community College
  16. Mohawk Valley Community College
  17. CUNY Kingsborough Community College
  18. SUNY Corning Community College
  19. Orange County Community College
  20. Ulster County Community College
  21. Jamestown Community College
  22. Jefferson Community College
  23. CUNY Bronx Community College
  24. Schenectady County Community College
  25. CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College
  26. Onondaga Community College
  27. Tompkins Cortland Community College
  28. SUNY Westchester Community College
  29. Herkimer County Community College
  30. SUNY Adirondack

Three categories were used to determine the ranking

Cost and financing was decided with the following factors

  • Cost of in-state tuition and fees
  • Availability of a free community college education
  • Average amounts of grants and scholarships
  • Employment services for students that are available
  • Spending for each student
  • School spending efficiency
  • Faculty salary
  • Core revenues per FTE enrollment

Education outcomes were decided with the following factors

  • First year retention rate
  • Graduation rate
  • Transfer-out rate
  • Credentials awarded for every 100 full time students
  • Student to faculty ratio
  • Full time faculty
  • Presence of special learning opportunities
  • Presence of credit for life experiences

Career outcomes were decided with the following factors

  • Student loan default rate
  • Median salary after attending college
  • Share of former students earning abover the average earnings of a high school graduate
Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Results of the data

For the cost of in-state tuition and fees, Tohono O’Odham Community College in Arizaon has the lowest cost.

The highest colleges in-state tuition were Parkland College in Illinois, Sauk Valley Community College in Illinois, McHenry County College in Illinois, Community College of Beaver County in Pennsylvania, and Kankakee Community College in Illinois.

Differences between the highest and lowest cost was 14 times.

For the highest spending per student, Leech Lake Tribal College in Minnesota came in first.

The lowest spending per student was in Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio.

The difference is 21 times between the best and worst college for student spending.

For student faculty ratio, River Valley Community College had the lowest and Eastern Gateway Community College had the highest.

Graduation rates were the highest at Pamlico Community College, and the lowest at Fletcher Technical Community College.

Finally, for the student loan default rate, it’s the lowest at Craven Community College and the highest at Denmark Technical School.

Best state for women is Massachusetts; worst state is Oklahoma

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