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


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

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!