With the arrival of back-to-school season and a year of community college nearly three times less expensive than a year at a public four-year college, many students are opting for the latter.

Not everyone opts to go to a four-year college even if they could attend without any admission problems. Some college-bound students are just not interested in going to a big university and being a number. Many enjoy staying closer to home where they can still live at home, work close by, and maintain the set of friends they’ve had for years.

The best and the worst

So, where are the best and worst community colleges in the country? You might be surprised to learn how some rank.

The personal-finance website WalletHub recently released its report on 2018’s Best & Worst Community Colleges, coupled with its state-by-state ranking of the Best & Worst Community-College Systems.

How the study works

To determine where students can receive the best education at the cheapest rates, the study compared 715 community colleges across 17 key indicators of cost and quality. The data set ranges from the cost of in-state tuition and fees to student-faculty ratio to graduation rate.

To see if your first choice made the grade or someplace else that you may never even considered check out the charts below for the study’s rankings.

Top 20 Community Colleges
1Arkansas State University-Mountain Home (AR) 11Lake Area Technical Institute (SD)
2Stella and Charles Guttman Community College (NY) 12Columbia Gorge Community College (OR)
3State Technical College of Missouri (MO) 13St Cloud Technical and Community College (MN)
4Alexandria Technical & Community College (MN) 14South Central College (MN)
5Northland Community and Technical College (MN) 15South Arkansas Community College (AR)
6Minnesota State Community and Technical College (MN) 16Madisonville Community College (KY)
7Mitchell Technical Institute (SD) 17North Arkansas College (AR)
8Miles Community College (MT) 18Ozarka College (AR)
9Southern Arkansas University Tech (AR) 19Lake Superior College (MN)
10North Hennepin Community College (MN) 20Manhattan Area Technical College (KS)


States with the Best Community-College Systems
1South Dakota 11Wisconsin
2Minnesota 12California
3Montana 13Wyoming
4Arkansas 14Colorado
5New York 15Hawaii
6Kentucky 16New Hampshire
7North Dakota 17Kansas
8Tennessee 18Nebraska
9Oregon 19New Mexico
10Washington 20Arizona

You can read the full reports by clicking below:

Choosing the best for you

Attending a community college can be a great experience for anyone who wants a college experience but closer to where they live. Many community colleges have sports teams, extracurricular activities, clubs, societies, and other similar attractions that a four-year college offers. It’s just a different atmosphere, but it could be perfect for you and your needs.

Whichever route you decide to take be it a community college at a local level or even in another state, make sure you study and check out what the school has to offer before you enroll for classes. Many community college students will attend for a year or two and then transfer to a four-year college. This way, they are getting the best of both worlds!