And the winners are…
Community colleges play an important role in the American education system, offering a low cost alternative to expensive four-year universities and retraining workers who need to brush up on their skills.
The question remains, however, which school is best.
To answer that question, a new study by WalletHub compared 670 of the nation’s community colleges across 17 metrics to find out which institution was best.
Then, they used that information to determine the state with the best community college system.
Top 10 community colleges
- North Florida Community College (FL)
- Dine College (AZ)
- Chipola College (FL)
- Northwest College (WY)
- Taft College (CA)
- Itawamba Community College (MS)
- Southwestern Community College (NC)
- Guttman Community College (NY)
- Patrick Henry Community College (VA)
- Southwest Virginia Community College (VA)
The most important aspects of a community college are cost, class size, student-teacher interaction, student retention, and job placement rates after graduation, according to the study.
With an average student age of 28, some people have started to view community colleges as subpar, but that would be unfair because their graduates are out-earning their colleagues with bachelor’s degrees, according to US News and World Report.
In 22 states, community colleges have been authorized to offer bachelor degrees, and President Barack Obama wants to offer free college for everyone, but there are some problems that must first be solved.
WalletHub experts agree, an increasing number of students are unprepared to attend college, and that problem needs attention.
Lauren Schuddle from the University of Texas at Austin told WalletHub student graduation rates depend on more than money.
“A lot of students are not academically prepared for college coursework and require additional support to be successful. Most community colleges face serious resource constraints that make it difficult to meet students’ needs.”
That may be why Arizona has the lowest tuition and fees, but ranks number 12 in the nation’s community college system.
After ranking the nation’s community colleges researchers then ranked the states by level.
States with the best community college systems:
- North Dakota
See the entire state ranking here.
[Photo by Andreas Rentz / Getty Images]