Public opinion on four-year colleges has begun to shift as people begin to question whether or not they are the only — or best —option for all students in light of rising tuition and persistent interest rates on student loans. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 7 million students will be enrolled in public, two-year colleges during the 2020-21 academic year, or approximately 33% of all undergraduate students.
Community colleges offer a number of advantages over four-year universities, and affordability is one of them. According to Student Loan Hero, the average cost-per-credit at a public two-year college is $158 while the average cost-per-credit at a public four-year college is $448. When the out-of-state university is a four-year institution, the final number increases dramatically, to $1,148 per credit hour. Students may feel less of an immediate need to settle down and commit to a specific career path if tuition costs are reduced. Community colleges provide a degree of adaptability that may not be available at other types of institutions: For students who already have a full-time job, attending classes part-time in the evening is a viable option. Community colleges are an alternative to and stepping stone to four-year institutions for a variety of reasons, including cost, flexibility, and exploratory career study.
As the United States deals with the after-pandemic effects on higher education, the cost of a four-year college education remains front and center. Higher education institutions and their students were given a total of $14 billion from the CARES Act’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to help with the effects of COVID-19, but the problems of low enrollment and inadequate funding have not been solved. Many liberals support plans that would eliminate tuition at public universities in the United States. Some people are skeptical and have suggested more moderate approaches to loan cancellation. The educational system would be profoundly affected by these alterations.
These top 100 community colleges were determined using information from Niche’s 2023 Best Community Colleges in America. U.S. Department of Education data on academics, student finances, and campus life were analyzed carefully, along with feedback from current and former students and faculty. Every public junior college, public technical school, and every other public college that offers a two-year degree program is included on the community college list.
Keep reading to get an idea of some of the most reputable two-year institutions in the US.
Best community colleges in usa
The City University of New York, NYC
For a long period of time, it has been considered one of the best community colleges in the United States for foreign students. Since its founding in 1847, the school has seen an annual increase of undergraduate enrollment to the tune of 15,000. School of Medicine, School of Architecture, The Grove School of Engineering, School of Education, etc. are just a few of the many divisions at the university. The Office of Research at City University of New York is committed to facilitating research experiences for students.
South Texas University, South Texas
As far as American universities go, this is one of the most reasonably priced options for international students. The college, which has been open since 1993, boasts an annual enrollment of nearly 10,000 undergraduates. Several of the most sought-after degrees are Bachelor of Applied Technology in Computer & Information Technologies, Associate of Science in Engineering, Associate of Applied Science in Accounting, and Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration.
Arkansas State University, Arkansas
It was established in 1909, making it one of the United States’ oldest community colleges along with New York’s City College. Around a thousand freshmen enroll in the undergrad programs annually. MS, B.E./B.Tech, B.Sc., and MBA/PGDM are the four most common undergraduate degrees. Foreign students can apply for the Freshman Scholarship or the Transfer Scholarship to receive financial aid from the university.
Central Wyoming College
Central Wyoming College offers an extraordinary opportunity for those interested in broadcasting. Wyoming PBS, the state’s sole public television network, is headquartered on campus.
When Dr. Michiko Hiramatsu established the first Japanese language program at Foothill College in 1973, it was the first in the country to offer a two-year degree in Japanese. The school now offers Japanese as a core language course. In addition, there are the Japanese Cultural Center and Garden and the Bamboo Garden.
Moraine Park Technical College
Since its opening in 1912, Moraine Park Technical College’s Fond Du Lac campus has served the region’s workforce and higher education needs. Once only offering classes in cooking and art, students now have access to more than a hundred different modules.
Walla Walla Community College
The degree options at Walla Walla Community College are designed to be as adaptable as possible. The university, located in Walla Walla, Washington, is a public establishment that awards degrees both on-campus and online. Only 3% of the degree programs are available to online students.
Each method provides challenging yet encouraging classroom settings for students. Students work with faculty advisors and mentors to tailor the curriculum to their specific needs and interests. Workshops, resume critiques, dummy interviews, and career fairs are all available as career resources. According to undergraduates, only 40% of those who start college end up graduating.
Prospective students can get assistance from the financial aid office in their search for funding to cover college expenses. This year, 81% of students will receive some form of financial aid.
Lake Area Technical College
Degree-seekers can choose from a wide range of programs and courses offered by Lake Area Technical College. The Watertown, South Dakota, campus of the public university offers both traditional classroom instruction and distance learning. 38% of the total number of courses offered by the university can be taken online.
Students have the option of selecting a delivery method best suited to their needs. Students collaborate with professors and advisors to craft a degree program that meets their unique educational and career objectives. Career guidance services, such as mock interviews and career fairs, are offered as a service to students. With a reported 72% graduation rate, the school is clearly a frontrunner in terms of student achievement.
Prospective students interested in learning more about available funding options should get in touch with the financial aid office. The most recent statistics indicate that 94% of students are awarded some form of financial aid.
North Central Kansas Technical College
North Central Kansas Technical College provides a wide range of options for those seeking higher education thanks to its adaptable curriculum. The public university has a campus in Beloit and provides distance education as well.
Similar academic rigor and welcoming student communities can be found in both formats. Concentrations, minors, and electives allow degree-seekers to tailor their education to their specific interests and career objectives. Students can take advantage of college-sponsored opportunities like career workshops and job fairs at North Central Kansas Technical College. The school has a high graduation rate, ranking in the top ten nationally at 63%.
For more information about financial aid, interested parties should get in touch with the university’s Office of Financial Aid. The latest statistics show that 96% of students make use of some form of financial aid during their educational careers.
Saint Paul College
Saint Paul University provides courses that are flexible enough to accommodate even the busiest schedules. Students at this public university in Saint Paul, Minnesota, have the option of taking courses either on campus or remotely. The percentage of courses that can be taken online at this university is 3.
Students can benefit from a variety of delivery methods that can accommodate their busy schedules. Degree-seekers receive help from faculty advisors and mentors in mapping out their unique study plans. Students prepare for the job market with the help of resources like career workshops, practice interviews, and career fairs. The reported graduation rate for the undergraduate programs is 27%.
Funding options, both institutional and otherwise, exist for those who are serious about pursuing a higher education. Currently, 87% of the school’s students receive some form of financial aid.
Lakeshore Technical College
Lakeshore Technical College offers local high school students with an interest in the culinary arts the opportunity to collaborate with college students enrolled in the same program. For high school students interested in this field, the “shadow a chef” program provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the industry while also giving participants the chance to practice important leadership skills.
East Mississippi Community College
For its wide variety of courses, convenient locations, and exciting extracurriculars, East Mississippi Community College tops our list of the best community colleges in Mississippi. Science, mathematics, culinary arts, industrial maintenance, the humanities, and many more are all available here as degree and certificate programs, giving you a wide range of options for entering the workforce or transferring to a four-year institution. You can choose from seven campuses in East Central Mississippi, including two main campuses and extension locations at a naval air station and air force base. On top of that, you’ll be joining a school whose sports teams have won 17 division championships in basketball, baseball, softball, and more since 2009, so you can rest assured that you’ll have plenty of chances to enjoy exciting athletic competitions. A variety of extracurricular opportunities, including a wellness and intramural program and student clubs, are available to students at both of the main campuses.
Wabash Valley College
In order to make you feel at home while you are pursuing your degree or certificate, Wabash Valley College provides a wide range of services. This university offers a wide variety of student services, including a fitness center, swimming pool, learning skills center, and career services center, among many other facilities. There are many different student clubs to join during your time as a student, such as those geared toward future health care professionals, radio and television broadcasting, and diesel equipment. Gunsmithing, coal mining technology, turf and landscape design, health informatics, and early childhood education are just a few examples of the many transfer and technical degrees and certificate programs offered at this college. If you are thinking about transferring to a 4-year institution, you should know that Wabash Valley College has a transfer agreement with Franklin University that allows you to complete the first three years of your bachelor’s degree at Wabash Valley College and the last year at Franklin University or through online study.
Lincoln Trail College
Lincoln Trail College, located in Robinson, Illinois, provides an inexpensive educational opportunity for students who are interested in either transferring to a four-year institution or entering the workforce immediately upon graduation. You can earn a general associate’s degree that will get you into almost any 4-year college, or you can specialize in a field like welding, paraprofessional education, process technology, healthcare, CompTIA, medical assistant, or office management and earn a certificate or degree in that field. The campus is small enough that students can easily get involved in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, including sports teams, choir, jazz bands, and plays. Lincoln Trail College is home to an active chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, which can help you make connections both during your time at the college and after you graduate.
Ellsworth Community College
Two campuses, as well as a beautiful nature area and interpretive center, can be found in or near Iowa Falls, Iowa, at Ellsworth Community College. The college offers numerous pathways to career readiness or transfer to a four-year institution, including liberal arts, business, agriculture, animal sciences, health sciences, and mathematics. In addition to traditional academic buildings, the Hamilton campus also features an equestrian center, a renewable energy center, and a natural resource outdoor laboratory. The college takes great pride in its student body of 1,000, a size that facilitates close relationships with both instructors and fellow students.
Austin Community College District
More than 41,000 students from the greater Austin, Texas area attend Austin Community College each year across the college’s eleven campuses. In addition to providing students with real-world educational training and adaptable study options, the college also offers a wide range of partnerships with businesses, universities, and organizations to enrich their college experience. There are more than a hundred degree and certificate programs to choose from across ten distinct disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business, the arts, and technology. The college’s technical training programs have a 95% exam pass rate, and they offer numerous extracurricular and online learning opportunities, such as exchange programs, community service, an honors program, and internships.
Is a student visa required for attending community colleges in US?
To enroll in a degree program at any US community college, you’ll need an F-1 student visa, which you can apply for here.
Which English language tests are accepted by the US community colleges?
Community colleges in the United States typically accept TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo as evidence of English language proficiency.
How to Choose an Associate Degree?
Students who earn an associate degree are well-prepared to enter the workforce. While attending a community college, it is important to think about how your credits will transfer to a four-year university. In order to choose a degree program that will help them achieve their professional goals, students should first determine what those goals are.
How to Choose a College
Making the right choice when deciding on a community college is crucial. Location and cost of attendance are two considerations for students. Students who are thinking about making a life and/or career move to another state can take advantage of their home state’s low out-of-state tuition rates by establishing residency there.
Community colleges typically charge less than four-year universities, but this is not always the case. Before committing to a program, students may want to shop around and compare costs.
Students at community colleges frequently travel some distance to attend classes. Students from out of state or those interested in a more traditional college experience may want to narrow their search to institutions that provide housing as part of their tuition.
It’s also important for students to think about how they best absorb information. While the networking possibilities at larger universities tend to be greater, the mentorship and hands-on experience opportunities available to students at smaller institutions cannot be overstated.
The best community colleges are those that are willing to help their students apply for and receive financial aid. The admissions procedure can be made more manageable with the help of an advisor.