2016’s States with the Best & Worst Community College Systems
Community colleges want to remind Americans that the road less traveled is not always the worst path. Once disparaged as inferior to four-year institutions, these two-year colleges are finally stepping up their game — at times even outperforming their traditional university counterparts.
In 22 states, community colleges have expanded to include four-year bachelor’s degree programs in high-demand fields. And soon the federal government also may be granting free rides to community college through the America’s College Promise Act of 2015 — or what the media peddle as President Barack Obama’s “GI Bill.” If passed, the new legislation would allow up to nine million first-time enrollees to earn associates degrees every year at no charge.
Minnesota, Oregon and Tennessee are already blazing the trail of the college-for-all circuit, and at least another 10 states — including California, Illinois and Oklahoma — plan to join the bandwagon. Such initiatives from all levels of government are proving to be more critical than ever, with public-college costs rising faster than private-college tuition rates and the need for post-secondary training in most jobs seeing steady growth through 2020.
Drawing on the results of our analysis on the best and worst individual community colleges in the U.S., WalletHub presents a state-by-state ranking of community college systems. You can find the results as well as our detailed methodology below.
|10||New Hampshire||35||North Carolina|
|12||New Mexico||37||South Carolina|
In order to identify the best and worst community-college systems in the U.S., we drew upon the results of our analysis of 2016’s Best & Worst Community Colleges, which was conducted at the individual-school level across a sample of 821 institutions and 12 key metrics.
For our state-by-state analysis, we calculated a weighted average of the scores obtained by the community colleges in each state and the number of students enrolled in each school. We also took into account only the states that had at least two community colleges present in our sample of the Best & Worst Community Colleges in order to ensure comparability of results.
Please note that while three U.S. states have opened free access to community college — and several others have proposed legislation to create similar programs — actual disbursement of awards is not scheduled to begin until the current (2016 to 2017) academic year. As a result, we could not take into account the exact effect that the legislation will have on tuition rates. Subsequent versions of this report, however, will incorporate such data as they become available.
Sources: Data used to create these rankings were collected from the National Center for Education Statistics, Council for Community and Economic Research and College Measures.