WalletHub’s top 25 community colleges and 10 best state systems

While California featured the most community colleges in the top 25 with five, their state system didn't crack the top 10.

Community colleges’ ease of access, relatively low cost and opportunities for under-resourced students, coupled with their high dropout rates and spotty record of upward transfers, have given higher education’s underdog a mercurial reputation.

However, with a quarter of Gen Z students between 14 and 18 considering community college, and less than half believing they need four years of postsecondary education to be successful, its potential for higher demand is probable. Similarly, community colleges experienced a whopping 12.4% increase in first-year student enrollment this past Spring semester.

With the probability of future higher demand in community colleges high, it’s essential to examine what community colleges around the nation are excelling at providing their students with the best financial bargain and performance outcomes.

WalletHub collected data from 668 member institutions in the American Association of Community Colleges, analyzing 19 different metrics that they divided into three categories: cost and financing, education outcomes and career outcomes. WalletHub gave all three metrics the same weight when creating its final score and ranking its sample of community colleges and subsequently ranking their state systems.

More from UB: Why is West Virginia University eliminating 9% of its academic programs?

The top 25 community colleges in the nation

Of the 668 community colleges analyzed California featured the most community colleges in the top 25 with five. Connecticut followed with four. Missouri, Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota, Maryland and New Mexico all had two make the list.

Rank Community College Total Score State
1 State Technical College of Missouri 70.97 Mo.
2 Manhattan Area Technical College 68.13 Kan.
3 Northwest Iowa Community College 67.21 Iowa
4 Mt Hood Community College 66.52 Ore.
5 Alexandria Technical & Community College 66.38 Minn.
6 College of San Mateo 66.04 Calif.
7 Clackamas Community College 65.85 Ore.
8 Manchester Community College 65.81 Conn.
9 Asnuntuck Community College 65.65 Conn.
10 Montgomery College 65.39 Md.
11 Mitchell Technical College 65.14 S.D.
12 Santa Fe Community College 64.88 Fla.
13 Central New Mexico Community College 64.62 N.M.
14 Howard Community College 64.61 Md.
15 Pasadena City College 64.49 Calif.
16 San Juan College 64.24 N.M.
17 St Cloud Technical and Community College 64.24 Minn.
18 Pratt Community College 64.23 Kan.
19 Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture 64.11 Neb.
20 Three Rivers Community College 63.9 Mo.
21 Capital Community College 63.83 Conn.
22 Ohlone College 63.75 Calif.
23 Norco College 63.65 Calif.
24 Las Positas College 63.6 Calif.
25 Northwestern Connecticut Community College 63.45 Conn.


The 10 best state systems

While California had the most community colleges present in WalletHub’s individual ranking, it didn’t even make the top 10 when it calculated the state system’s weighted averages and the number of students enrolled in each institution.

  1. New Mexico
  2. Connecticut
  3. Maryland
  4. Oregon
  5. Minnesota
  6. Washington
  7. Wyoming
  8. South Dakota
  9. Colorado
  10. Wisconsin
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and first-generation journalism graduate from the University of Florida. His beats have ranged from Gainesville's city development, music scene and regional little league sports divisions. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador and Brazil.

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