Best Community Colleges

Badge with 1-Line TitleBest Community Colleges2016
See MethodologyGet Ranking Seal

Many prospective students make the mistake of only examining tuition costs. Tuition is, in fact, just a fraction of the total cost of college. To understand total cost of attendance, you must factor in institution fees, room and board, supplies, and textbooks. Luckily the U.S. DOE factors these expenses into their net price reports, in an effort to provide more transparency to prospective students.

However, the price tag isn’t everything. Graduation rates can be a telltale sign of a college’s quality and commitment to your success. Education can be worth very little if students do not complete their degree programs. The transfer percentages are critical, because they indicate how many graduates have left to pursue a bachelor’s degree at another institution.

Pursuing a college education can be one of the most pivotal and costly decisions of your life. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center, the national average net price of a 2-year college education at a public school rose 18% in just two years. Some 2-year college costs spiked up to $22,933 a year, while others were virtually cost-free due to high percentages of grant aid. Variability in cost is just one factor that influences the return-on-investment (ROI) for prospective college students. Our team at Best Colleges has put together a definitive list of the top 50 public 2-year colleges with the highest graduation rates and transfer rates.

See Methodology
Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
1 Gordon Cooper Technology Center N/A Shawnee, OK

Between graduation and transfer rates, GCTC boasts the highest success ranking, and it is likely due to the college's unique special services programs. Prospective students gain access to childcare services, assistive services for disabilities, and additional vocational training. According to their thorough guidance plan, enrolled students are directed to financial aid resources, tutoring avenues, and career-based activities throughout their academic career.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
2 New Mexico Military Institute N/A Roswell, NM

This academic institution provides students with immersive military leadership training with JROTC programs for high school students and SROTC programs for college students earning their associate degrees. In addition to their academic workload, cadets work together to complete physical training, mentor other students, and learn safety protocols.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
3 Knox County Career Center N/A Mount Vernon, OH

Adult learners will find a wealth of information and support services at KCCC, helping them plan out their upcoming courses and career search after graduation. The Career Counseling center can assist you with resume writing, interview practice, and job listing navigation. Digital resources give students even more incentive to complete their academic programs, with databases of free educational software, tech tutorials, and access to an internal helpdesk.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
4 Ridge Career Center N/A Winter Haven, FL

Student participation, self-governance, and comprehensive digital resources may be the cornerstones to RCC's graduation success. An 18-person Student Advisory Council staff is there to help you through the completion of professional certificate programs, which are offered during the day, evening, or online for maximum flexibility. Online and mixed-format learners can find supplemental education resources through the library's media program.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
5 Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center N/A Sacramento, CA

This vocational training and career preparation institute has a long-standing history, founded in 1967 to accommodate adult learners with diverse learning styles. The education center is committed to guiding class participants from day one, with an orientation meeting that includes career skill assessments, a program overview, and counseling in your chosen field.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
6 Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education Center N/A Ocala, FL

CTAE has many services that cater to adult learners with children, helping parents earn their professional certificates with several childcare options. The Young Parent Program goes above and beyond most academic child care options, providing pregnant and new parents with nutrition and health education, along with childrearing training. Students who have children old enough to be in school can explore extended school day options, giving adults more time to take courses while their children are being monitored by education professionals.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
7 Great Plains Technology Center N/A Lawton, OK

This institution does not shy away from posting their annual graduation metrics, which is a testament to their relatively high success rate. Their extensive resource services department provides enrolled students with help at every turn, addressing accessibility, financial aid, clubs, academic counseling, and career advising. This education center also provides noteworthy assistance to veterans with specially funded full-time and short-term training programs.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
8 Indian Capital Technology Center N/A Muskogee, OK

This technical institute places an emphasis on business-oriented training, offering programs on small business finance, government contracting, accounting, and business software. Like the Great Planes Technology Center, ICTC also offers compelling student services, such as inter-campus transportation options and counseling services

Tweet this Share this School Profile
9 Washington County Career Center-Adult Technical Training N/A Marietta, OH

State government officials paved the way for this professional training institute back in 1963, committing to serve adult learners within the Ohio Appalachian region and nearby school districts. The Career Center provides students with many distinct online services, including access to Microsoft Office 365 tools for assignment completion, on-campus lunch service options, and economic independence training for young parents.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
10 Manatee Technical Institute N/A Bradenton, FL

This academic institution has received countless national, state, and regional awards from organizations like Skills USA and the HOSA Future Health Professionals student organization. MTI boasts a 91% job placement rate, and regularly posts new career opportunities on their local listing board. Unlike some state-funded professional training centers, MTI has developed strong inroads with nearby businesses and industry partners, such as the Suncoast Workforce.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
11 Withlacoochee Technical Institute N/A Inverness, FL

WTI offers professional certification programs both on-campus and online, accommodating students who have non-traditional schedules due to work and family commitments. WTI also offers extended day care options, giving parents more time to focus on their studies. The school's transition academy helps students get ready for the demands of a professional workflow through community service and occupational training.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
12 Arkansas State University N/A Jonesboro, AR

Students can enroll in a diverse range of associate degree programs at ASU, from business management to funeral science and allied health specialties. This college fosters a strong tradition of financial aid support and scholarship encouragement, posting students' historical success with academic funding. This school's gainful employment statistics are very clear, making it easy for prospective students to learn about their future career options.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
13 EHOVE Career Center N/A Milan, OH

Students pursuing professional certificates at EHOVE gain access to services like ABEL math tutoring and a basic skills lab. This career training center encourages success and academic via dropout prevention services and discount learning options for seniors. Various career departments have branched out into the local community to provide public functions such as salon services, massage therapy, and food service.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
14 Downey Adult School N/A Downey, CA

DAS was founded in 1940, making it one of the longest-established technical schools on this list. This institution is savvy to current job search methodologies, encouraging students to use tools like LinkedIn to cultivate an online resume presence and network with potential employers. This school's counseling department provides assistance for students at various points in their academics, covering career skill testing, GED and high school diplomas, scholarships, and community service.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
15 Southern Arkansas University Tech N/A Camden, AR

Students can earn their professional certification or associate degrees from SAU Tech, a school that is esteemed for its community service and outreach programs. The Career Academy is an organization that catches prospective students while they are still in high school, providing them with career and higher education advice in order to make their move to a two-year program smoother. Other unique programs, such as the entrepreneurship center, helps motivated individuals plan for a future in business, with an emphasis on marketing, customer service, and finance.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
16 Woodland Community College N/A Woodland, CA

This college might have the most comprehensive student service options out of all the organizations listed here, with nearly 20 different sub-divisions dedicated to academic success. The C.A.R.E. department is committed to student retention. The childhood development center provides a safe space for the children of adult learners. There are several counseling departments that handle issues, such as student grievances, disability needs, financial aid, veteran benefits, and transferring to four-year universities.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
17 Traviss Career Center N/A Lakeland, FL

The School Improvement Plan reports are a point of immediate interest for prospective Traviss Career Center students, displaying hard statistics about the annual completion rates for each training program, along with accreditation statuses. Unlike many career centers, TCC has a dedicated newsletter highlighting campus and industry news.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
18 De Anza College N/A Cupertino, CA

This international academic institution is based on a sprawling 112-acre campus located in the backyard of Apple's corporate presence. De Anza sets itself apart from other colleges through its advocacy for diverse student populations, including counseling for undocumented immigrant high school graduates and first generation prospective students. Other counseling services cover psychological stress support, disability needs, and veteran benefit programs.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
19 Pierce College N/A Puyallup, WA

Pierce College is well known for its intriguing science dome facility, a massive digital planetarium that seats nearly 60 people. Technology like this can be a major boon for prospective students entering scientific fields. Pierce cultivates a culture of collegiate level learning early by offering high school students the opportunity to participate in a Running Start program, allowing youth in 11th and 12nd grade to earn college credits.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
20 George Stone Technical Center N/A Pensacola, FL

GSTC offers career training and certification in the fields of business, IT, health, industrial science, criminal justice, and public service both online and on campus. One of the most distinguished departments is the criminal justice center, which prepares students for various roles in law enforcement, corrections facilities, and crisis intervention.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
21 Charlotte Technical Center N/A Port Charlotte, FL

The CTC provides adult learners with online and campus-based professional training options in trades such as commercial food services, computer science, and early childhood education. Like other career-centric centers mentioned here, CTC has branched out to form partnerships with various industry organizations, such as the Englewood Fire Department, Charlotte Desoto Building Industry Association, and the Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
22 Foothill College N/A Los Altos Hills, CA

This community college was founded in 1957, and has since grown to encompass 79 associate degree programs and 107 professional certificate programs. One of the most remarkable things about this institution is its well-rounded athletic program, which most 2-year college and career centers do not provide. The Foothill Owls compete in basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, and other activities.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
23 North Central Kansas Technical College N/A Beloit, KS

NCK Tech has dozens of student activity options, ideal for prospective learners who enjoy a strong sense of community and college identity. While students earn their professional certificates and associate degrees, they can get involved with intramural sports, student senate events, recreational activities, and community service efforts. Another interesting facet of NCK Tech is it's non-profit foundation, which funnels donor contributions back to the students via scholarship programs.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
24 Metro Technology Centers N/A Oklahoma City, OK

MTC takes a strong digital approach to connecting students with potential employers by leveraging two types of online job boards: one for student seeking employment and another for companies trying to hire MTC students. The Jobline office helps students with interviews and resumes, so they will be prepared to find work toward the end of their professional certificate programs. Additionally, the MTC campus is the home to a massive 4,620 square foot conference center, where student can gather for career fairs, tradeshows, and other educational events.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
25 Lake Area Technical Institute N/A Watertown, SD

This community college has earned the distinction of being one of the top 2-year learning institutions in the U.S., according to the Aspen Institute. This school has also earned awards for being a military friendly school and one of the best colleges to work for. LATI places an emphasis on corporate business education, with programs in employee training, manufacturing, and computing.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
26 Brewster Technical Center N/A Tampa, FL

This academic institution has made a name for itself by offering career training designed specifically for adults with disabilities, covering fields like custodial maintenance, merchandise handling, and culinary preparation. The student services department specializes in career development aid, counseling students on their upcoming job search.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
27 Florida Panhandle Technical College N/A Chipley, FL

This technical and career training institution has established crossover specializations, which allow students to explore two fields within a single program. The crossover law/corrections track places an emphasis on criminal justice methodologies as they pertain to Florida state laws.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
28 Lake Technical College N/A Eustis, FL

Students can explore 26 different professional certificate programs at LTC, in industries such as business administration, manufacturing, and distribution logistics. Students who need academic and career counseling can visit the Adult Applied Academic Education Lab in order to access advising and tutoring sessions.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
29 Collins Career Technical Center N/A Chesapeake, OH

CCC is a tight-knit professional training institution that offers certificate programs in health, cosmetology, law enforcement, and trade industries. Their student services center provides enrolled students with access to social workers and agency counselors, who can address a variety of personal, professional, and academic needs.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
30 Rend Lake College N/A Ina, IL

Prospective students eager to begin their undergraduate studies or professional training right away should explore Rend Lake College, since they have a rolling open admission system. One of the unique characteristics of this community college is that they offer study abroad options in countries like Jamaica, Costa Rica, Austria, and England. RLC is dedicated to cultivating arts and culture on campus, posting calendars of upcoming theatre productions, art auctions, and music performances on a seasonal basis.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
31 Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology N/A Naples, FL

This trade and technical school completed a major renovation project in 2010, so prospective students can look forward to completely revamped computer labs, cafeterias, conference rooms, and learning spaces. Students get the opportunity to practice their skills on campus by offering public services such as massage, auto repair, business training, salon, and computer repair. Lorenzo Walker also has a remarkable refugee services program, providing counseling, job training, and employment referrals to qualifying students.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
32 Alexandria Technical & Community College N/A Alexandria, MN

Like the Running Start program at Pierce College, Alexandria Technical and Community College has Post Secondary Enrollment Options, giving high school students the opportunity to gain college credits early. ATCC also has support services that focus on specific academic skill sets, giving learners assistance on study habits, test taking, and test anxiety reduction.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
33 Sampson Community College N/A Clinton, NC

SCC has an open door admissions policy, encouraging all applicants to immerse themselves in an associate degree program or professional training. The student services department is committed to students' academic success, with employees focusing on counseling, tutoring resources, and disability services. This school offers classes both online and on-campus.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
34 Ranger College N/A Ranger, TX

Like schools mentioned earlier, Ranger College also has accelerated learning programs designed to help local high school students earn college credits. The goal of having these eventual associate degree students transfer to four-year colleges in the future. In addition to the diverse range of associate programs and professional training options, students can also take part in Ranger sports, such as baseball, basketball, and soccer.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
35 Southwestern Community College N/A Sylva, NC

The student support services department at SCC drives a careful blend of resources, services, and career development options. This campus is also home to a wide range of student clubs and activities, such as an electronics club, journalism club, and the paralegal club. Prospective students can get a glimpse of student life online by checking out the live campus webcam feeds.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
36 Itasca Community College N/A Grand Rapids, MN

ICC is a small college offering just 17 associate degrees programs, including ones in natural resources, pulp and power, and power generation. There are numerous ways students can get involved on campus, with an international honors society, athletic teams, and student leadership clubs to join. ICC places a very strong emphasis on support services, with programs like Support within Reach to address domestic and sexual violence and a Behavioral Intervention Team dedicated to crisis response.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
37 Northwest Iowa Community College N/A Sheldon, IA

Prospective NWICC students gain access to a breadth of support via the school's TRiO program, which includes personal counseling, career planning, tutoring, cultural activities, workshops, and exclusive grant awards. Unlike many 2-year colleges described earlier, this school has on-campus housing, offered in apartment and suite styles. NWICC has committed itself to supporting diverse applicants with funding options and an open admission policy.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
38 Miles Community College N/A Miles City, MT

This academic institution places an emphasis on community outreach, with dual credit partnerships at local high schools, personal enrichment courses, and a Relay for Life fundraiser. MCC also has a strong support system for disabled faculty, staff, and students. Students can enroll in both campus-based and distance learning programs at this school.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
39 Western Wyoming Community College N/A Rock Springs, WY

This school has 48 two-year transfer programs, which probably accounts for the high transfer rate from WWCC. Learners can take courses both online and in traditional classroom settings. This school has built strong relationships with multiple community organizations, including Star Transit, the WWC Foundation, and the Green River Center.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
40 D G Erwin Technical Center N/A Tampa, FL

This professional training institution has many education options tailored to students with disabilities. Their hearing impairment department was founded in 1986, giving student access to assistive technologies, note taking, and telecommunication devices for the deaf. In addition to these options, the technical center offers full-time career and academic counseling for all students.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
41 Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology N/A Lancaster, PA

This two-year college boasts a job placement rate of 96% amongst graduates. Career-oriented learners can find support through the TSCT Office of Academic and Personal Counseling, which provides assistance with issues like stress and alcohol abuse. Like NWICC, this college also offers on-campus living options, with a residence hall that houses about 400 students.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
42 Cowley County Community College N/A Arkansas City, KS

This academic institution is the home of the Cowley Tigers sports teams, whose fans are distinguished by bright orange uniforms. In addition to fostering a high level of school pride, this college organizes dozens of social gatherings, such as pool tournaments, free movie nights, tug of war challenges, and blitz ball challenges. Students looking to make friends and build connections in a traditional campus environment might want to consider Cowley.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
43 Schoolcraft College N/A Livonia, MS

While this college has low graduation rates, the school's high transfer rates are a testament to Schoolcraft's credit transfer options, which allow students to earn an associate's degree before moving to a 4-year institution. This college has a well-rounded student service program, helping learners with transfer planning, veteran college funding, international studies, academic advising, and disability support. Another unique aspect of this college is that it offers multiple types of prospective student tours, including culinary, campus, group, and departmental tours.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
44 Ellsworth Community College N/A Iowa Falls, IA

ECC has been featured on CNN Money for its high combined graduation and transfer rates. This college offers on-campus and distance learning options for students exploring their associate degree and professional training programs. ECC takes a communal approach to student services, with locations like The Hub encouraging group tutoring support and homework help labs.

Tweet this Share this School Profile