The 50 Best U.S. Community Colleges - Fastweb

The 50 Best U.S. Community Colleges

Cost, location and admissions are only some of the factors you should consider in making the decision of what type of college will suit you best.

Elizabeth Hoyt

February 14, 2017

The 50 Best U.S. Community Colleges

When asked to describe a “typical” college experience, most people think of Greek life, dorm living and a remote town that’s centered around the college campus. Interestingly enough, these are all typically associated four-year colleges. In reality, the “typical” college experience is quite different.

According to the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), “community colleges are the primary institution providing technical and career-oriented education in the United States.”

The NCEE also reports that “the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that more than 40 percent of all first year college students in the United States attend public or private community colleges.”

Maybe we think of four-year colleges because of college movies or, perhaps, at one time that was the norm. But, for students today, the four-year college is not always the most common path.

More specifically, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) found that 44 percent of all undergraduate college students are enrolled at a community college.

That’s definitely a lot more than it was in the past. Since we always want to make your college search easier, we thought it was important to share college rankings (typically reserved for four-year colleges) of the nation’s top community colleges.

Remember, the type of college you decide to attend isn’t what matters. Getting an education does. Cost, location and admissions are only some of the factors you should consider in making the decision of what type of college will suit you best.

So, whether you’re going to a community college, four-year university or trade/vocational school, it’s important to be prepared by considering your choices. That’s where we come in.

Spoiler alert: Students living in Florida will have their pick of the best community colleges because Florida is the most common location (state) within the top 50!

Below, find a list of the country’s 50 best community colleges, as ranked by College Choice*, along with each school’s annual tuition cost for in-district students.

1. Santa Barbara City College
Location: California
In-district annual tuition: $1,380

2. Broward College
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $1,944

3. Meridian Community College
Location: Mississippi
In-district annual tuition: $2,525

4. Santa Fe College
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $2,532

5. Flint Hills Technical College
Location: Kansas
In-district annual tuition: $2,690

6. Los Medanos College
Location: California
In-district annual tuition: $1,380

7. San Jacinto Community College
Location: Texas
In-district annual tuition: $2,100

8. Kilgore College
Location: Texas
In-district annual tuition: $2,040

9. Palm Beach State College
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $3,030

10. Valencia College
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $2,693

11. South Mountain Community College
Location: Arizona
In-district annual tuition: $2,580

12. Eastern Idaho Technical College
Location: Idaho
In-district annual tuition: $2,496

13. Santiago Canyon College
Location: California
In-district annual tuition: $1,380

14. Florida State College at Jacksonville
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $2,518

15. Lincoln Trail College
Location: Illinois
In-district annual tuition: $2,490

16. Olympic College

Location: Washington
In-district annual tuition: $2,568

17. College of Central Florida
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $3,450

18. Chaffey College
Location: California
In-district annual tuition: $1,380

19. Olney Central College
Location: Illinois
In-district annual tuition: $2,490

20. Northeast Community College
Location: Nebraska
In-district annual tuition: $3,285

21. Western Texas College
Location: Texas
In-district annual tuition: $2,370

22. Johnston Community College
Location: North Carolina
In-district annual tuition: $2,377

23. Northeast Mississippi Community College
Location: Mississippi
In-district annual tuition: $2,500

24. Miles Community College
Location: Montana
In-district annual tuition: $3,059

25. Walla Walla Community College
Location: Washington
In-district annual tuition: $4,203

26. Daytona State College
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $3,071

27. East Mississippi Community College
Location: Mississippi
In-district annual tuition: $2,490

28. Scottsdale Community College
Location: Arizona
In-district annual tuition: $2,580

29. Central Community College
Location: Nebraska
In-district annual tuition: $2,880

30. Indian River State College
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $3,175

31. Florida Southwestern State College
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $3,401

32. Bronx Community College
Location: New York
In-district annual tuition: $2,805

33. Gateway Community College
Location: Arizona
In-district annual tuition: $2,580

34. Estrella Mountain Community College
Location: Arizona
In-district annual tuition: $2,550

35. Saint Johns River State College
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $3,300

36. Odessa College
Location: Texas
In-district annual tuition: $2,610

37. Rend Lake College
Location: Illinois
In-district annual tuition: $3,315

38. Northcentral Technical College
Location: Wisconsin
In-district annual tuition: $4,390

39. Northwest Florida State College
Location: Florida
In-district annual tuition: $3,324

40. Trinidad State Junior College
Location: Colorado
In-district annual tuition: $4,259

41. South Puget Sound Community College
Location: Washington
In-district annual tuition: $3,056

42. Highline College
Location: Washington
In-district annual tuition: $3,846

43. West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Location: Kentucky
In-district annual tuition: $4,920

44. South Texas College
Location: Texas
In-district annual tuition: $3,470

45. Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Location: Minnesota
In-district annual tuition: $4,982

46. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Location: Wisconsin
In-district annual tuition: $4,340

47. Gordon College
Location: Georgia
In-district annual tuition: $4,164

48. Renton Technical College
Location: Washington
In-district annual tuition: $4,167

49. State Technical College of Missouri
Location: Missouri
In-district annual tuition: $4,1792

50. Essex County College
Location: New Jersey
In-district annual tuition: $4,785

*As stipulated on their website, “College Choice has correlated data from Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, Payscale, and individual community colleges to compile a list of the 50 best community colleges in the country. We considered several factors in developing an institutional performance score, including first year retention rates, three-year graduation rates, credentials awarded, etc. We also factored percentage of non-traditional and minority students, percentage of Pell grants, and minority graduation rates in order to create a diversity score. Finally, we compared in-district tuition rates and potential salary to give us a sense of the return on investment. Since much of the focus at College Choice is on helping you choose a college, we did not consider schools that did not offer an associate degree, and we eliminated those schools where associate degrees were an exceptionally low percentage of their annual awards. In the end, we believe these fifty schools represent the best of what can be a wise decision for many prospective college students.”

You can learn more about the data behind the rankings at College Choice.

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