Community colleges sometimes get a bad rap as subpar alternatives to four-year universities, but they often offer more bang for your buck.
WalletHub recently analyzed 821 so-called junior colleges across the U.S. and concluded that:
… while community colleges continue to be the butt of jokes, their graduates are getting the last laugh as they out-earn bachelor’s degree holders … Across the board, community colleges are slowly stacking up against their university counterparts by offering better schedule flexibility, smaller class sizes and comparatively rigorous coursework, including bachelor’s degree programs in some states at a fraction of the university cost.
The financial data website analyzed community colleges based on 12 factors, such as tuition and fees and return on educational investment — a ratio of starting salary for graduates to cost of education.
The schools that came out on top are:
- Helene Fuld College of Nursing, New York City
- Ilisagvik College, Barrow, Alaska
- Pamlico Community College, Grantsboro, North Carolina
- Cochise College, Cochise County, Arizona
- State Technical College of Missouri, Linn, Missouri
- Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City
- Rend Lake College, Ina, Illinois
- Lake Area Technical Institute, Watertown, South Dakota
- Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Curtis, Nebraska
- North Central Missouri College, Trenton, Missouri
Perhaps more than with four-year universities, however, the factors that make a community college stand out among the crowd can vary, depending on the student.
Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, professor of higher education/community college leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, tells WalletHub:
While it would have been ideal for all community colleges to be created equally, that is just not the case. I think students have to individually assess the person-environment fit for themselves. … talking about indicators of success with community colleges is a bit tricky as the metrics used to inform rating two-year colleges sometimes treat community colleges disparagingly as students come to the community college with different goals and degree completion is not necessarily the end goal.
The complete ranking of 821 colleges is available on WalletHub’s website.
For more, check out “The 10 Highest Paying Jobs You Can Land With a 2-Year Degree.”
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