2021 Best Community Colleges in Connecticut

Compare tuition and program options at some of the best community colleges in Connecticut.

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by Staff Writers

Published on December 23, 2021

Edited by Darlene Earnest
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Community colleges are a strong option for people looking to transition into the world of higher education. These two-year schools attract students due to their affordability and accessibility. Some schools offer courses both online and in person.

Through certificate courses and two-year associate degree programs, community colleges can help prepare students for entry-level jobs. They also keep open the option for students to further continue their education. Since community colleges typically charge lower tuition rates than four-year universities, they can provide a more affordable access point for those who decide to pursue their bachelor's degrees.

The community colleges in Connecticut operate under the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) and provide affordable, imaginative, and intensive programs. These programs can help students work toward their career goals.

Why Study in Connecticut?

Educational Opportunities

Connecticut is taking the initiative to make higher education accessible for a vast majority of its residents. The state library provides a variety of information to residents. Career schools, including state-approved hospital-based schools for health-related careers, are also available.

Government portals offer extensive information for additional programs for adults, as well as people with disabilities. A comprehensive guide to help students experiencing homelessness with financial aid is also available.

Economy

According to a 2020 study, Connecticut's per capita personal income stands at $78,609, one of the highest in the nation. By gross domestic product (GDP), the largest industry in Connecticut is finance, insurance, and real estate.

Another major industry is the combined community, health, and social services industry, which includes private healthcare, engineering and law firms, computer and data processing services, and tourism. Manufacturing and agricultural production also form key aspects of the state's economy.

Cost of Living

According to Payscale, the cost of living in Hartford, Connecticut, is 17% higher than the national average. In addition, major expenses like housing, healthcare, groceries, and transportation are all above the national average. Utility costs, however, are lower than the national average.

Taxes, especially property taxes, are high in Connecticut. In combined state and local taxes, Connecticut ranks second-highest in the U.S. after New York. Stamford is among the most expensive cities, with its cost of living only 17% less than Manhattan.

Cultural and Community Offerings

Also known as the Constitution State, Connecticut maintains a rich culture and history. Home to the oldest continuously published newspaper, Connecticut also has world-class museums and art galleries. Many of Connecticut's cities also hold annual art exhibitions.

Connecticut preserves rocky headlands and beaches amid a variety of landscapes. Important cultural attractions include hundreds of houses from the 17th and 18th centuries scattered throughout towns and preserved by various local and state organizations.

Climate

Connecticut lies between the zones of humid continental and humid subtropical climates. Precipitation varies, with even distribution throughout the year. The state might witness extreme rainfall at times, although long-term floods are rare. Expect to see snow in the winter.

Connecticut experiences warm, humid summers and cold winters. The coastal areas experience somewhat warmer winters and cooler summers compared to the inner regions.

Top Degree Programs in Connecticut

Best Online Associate in Economics Programs Best Online Associate in Psychology Programs Best Online Associate in Healthcare Administration Programs Best Online Associate in Human Resources Programs Best Online Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management Programs

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Connecticut Employment Outlook

Connecticut ranks among the top states in terms of contribution to the country's GDP. At the same time, it has some of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S., at 6.0%, as of November 2021. Agriculture along with fishing, manufacturing, and personal and social services like health and tourism are key industries in Connecticut. Business is also a powerful force in the state economy.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Connecticut stands at $78,444. Almost 13% of households fall into the state's high-income households sector.

The fastest-growing jobs in the state include web development, nurse practices, operations, business analytics, and personal care and home health.

5 Connecticut Jobs in Demand for 2021


Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners provide care to patients in need, whether newborns or older adults. These primary care providers often specialize in areas like family care, women's health, pediatrics, and geriatric care. In Connecticut, nurse practitioners can also practice independently.


Web Developer

Web developers are mainly responsible for the appearance as well as the technical success of a website, including website speed and its ability to handle traffic. These professionals design and build the website from scratch, create website applications, fix glitches, and work with graphic designers.


Computer Network Specialist

Computer network specialists maintain IT and network infrastructure for a variety of firms. They manage the flow of information by optimizing server capacity. They are also responsible for testing network protocols, creating internet domains, establishing secure network connections, and collecting data on network performance.


Human Resources Specialist

Human resource specialists manage staff and employee relations through various activities, policies, and programs. They are also responsible for hiring and promoting employees, training support workers, and settling collective agreements between employers and workers. These professionals also help ensure that the general environment of the workplace is diverse, fair, and mutually respectful.


Social and Human Services Assistant

Social and human service assistants help other social service providers with various client services. These services include psychology, rehabilitation, family support, and social work. In addition, these professionals determine what kind of social assistance a client needs and help in developing plans.


Popular Career Paths in Connecticut

Web Development Public Health Nursing Software Engineering Psychology Architecture Physical Therapy Auto Repair Child Development

2021 Best Accredited Community Colleges in Connecticut

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Best Community Colleges in Connecticut

  1. Middlesex Community College
    Location

    Middletown, CT

    Tuition

    $4320

    From its tree-lined, centrally located campus in Middletown, Middlesex Community College offers programs in six academic areas including business and hospitality, health services, humanities and creative arts, and STEM. MxCC accommodates all types of learning goals, with 45 associate degrees ideal for university transfer, 23 non-degree certificates ideal for workforce education, and a variety of noncredit continuing education courses for personal and professional development.

    Twenty of MxCC's associate degrees feature a transfer guarantee to state universities, ensuring no loss of credit when applied to a bachelor's program in the same discipline. Students receive support from skilled professors; tutors; and academic, career, and transfer advisors.

    Prospective students can apply online, in person, or via printed mail. MxCC requires proof of high school graduation or a GED. Before registration, most incoming students must complete math and English placement testing, with exceptions available for those who've already completed certain college coursework.

  2. Manchester Community College
    Location

    Manchester, CT

    Tuition

    $4322

    One of the largest community colleges in Connecticut, Manchester Community College serves over 15,000 students annually. More than 200 faculty members hold leadership roles throughout the community, representing business associations, civic groups, faith communities, and volunteer organizations. MCC offers credit-bearing study in three main academic divisions: liberal and creative arts; STEM; and social science, business, and professional careers.

    Students can choose from 28 certificate programs to prepare for careers in a variety of fields including office administration, dental assisting, and entrepreneurship. Many of MCC's 67 associate degrees offer a direct pathway to state university transfer. To provide learners with the flexibility they need to complete program requirements, the school delivers a number of courses online as well as on campus.

    Prospective students can submit applications online, through the mail, or in-person at the MCC campus, located just minutes from Hartford. Incoming students must complete a placement exam unless they receive an exemption due to high SAT/ACT scores or prior college credit.

  3. Quinebaug Valley Community College
    Location

    Danielson, CT

    Tuition

    $6595

    Quinebaug Valley Community College is located on a 68-acre, rural campus in Danielson. The school's open-admissions policy means acceptance is guaranteed for all prospective students with a high school diploma or GED. Learners can select from more than 50 certificate and associate degree options in 12 areas including business, early childhood education, computer science, visual arts, and engineering science.

    Like other community colleges in Connecticut, QVCC offers a variety of direct transfer pathways to bachelor's programs at state universities. Select online courses and in-person evening classes are available for students who have difficulty with a traditional class schedule.

    Attending QVCC can save you thousands of dollars on your education. More than 70% of students receive financial aid, with over $100,000 awarded in QVCC Foundation scholarships each year. As an added financial bonus, residents of nearby Massachuestts and Rhode Island qualify for in-state tuition prices.

  4. Northwestern Connecticut Community College
    Location

    Winsted, CT

    Tuition

    $5289

    Located in Winstead, Northwestern Connecticut Community College offers 46 associate degrees, 19 certificate programs, and 20 noncredit programs in five academic areas: arts and humanities, business, health and veterinary sciences, public service and social and behavioral sciences, and STEM. Twenty-four of the school's associate degrees offer transfer pathways to universities within and beyond the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

    In addition to traditional student support services, NCC hosts a competitive Team Success Scholars program for learners ages 18-24. Students in this close-knit cohort receive mentoring, academic tutoring, and an internship experience. NCC also hosts a student food pantry operated by the campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.

    Learners at NCC can earn their degrees even faster by taking advantage of credit for prior learning options. Qualifying opportunities include military experience credit, credit by exam, and transfer credits. NCC charges no fee to apply in person, online, or through the mail. Placement exams are required for most applicants.

  5. Naugatuck Valley Community College
    Location

    Waterbury, CT

    Tuition

    $5526

    Students at Naugatuck Valley Community College can attend classes during the day, night, or on weekends at two campuses located in Waterbury and Danbury. This versatile institution boasts the highest number of graduates among all community colleges in Connecticut, awarding more than 1,000 degrees and certificates each year for the past seven years.

    NVCC offers workforce training, career-ready programs, and associate degrees in areas such as allied health, nursing, physical education, business, STEM, liberal arts, and behavioral and social sciences. Students can choose from 24 noncredit programs, 50 certificates, or 88 associate degrees -- with or without direct transfer pathways to state university bachelor's programs.

    Admission procedures vary depending on whether an applicant is a first-time, transfer, or returning student, as well as the type of program. Associate degree applicants must provide proof of high school graduation or a GED, immunization records, and, unless exempt, complete a placement exam.

  6. Asnuntuck Community College
    Location

    Enfield, CT

    Tuition

    $8499

    Like all community colleges in Connecticut, Asnuntuck Community College makes a high-quality college education more accessible and affordable for all students. The campus in Enfield is easily accessible by public transportation. The school recently expanded its low, in-state tuition program to include residents of nearby Massachusetts.

    Students can choose from a variety of associate degrees, certificates, continuing education programs, and dual-credit high school courses. ACC currently offers 12 associate degrees with eight available concentrations in fields like communications, liberal arts, and technology studies. These allow students to focus their studies according to their professional goals. Those interested in workforce training may choose from 21 for-credit certificates and 13 noncredit certificates.

    ACC offers flexible options to meet every applicant's needs. Apply online, via mail, through fax, or in person. Admission procedures vary depending on student status and program type. Prospective students should be prepared to supply any applicable transcripts, standardized or placement test scores, and immunization records.

  7. Housatonic Community College
    Location

    Bridgeport, CT

    Tuition

    $5686

    From a campus in Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut, Housatonic Community College serves the diverse needs of more than 5,000 students annually. HCC is a national network member of Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit organization dedicated to institutional improvement of community colleges.

    HCC offers more than 75 associate degrees and certificate programs in five academic departments, including business administration, math/science, and humanities. Learners can choose from a variety of learning options, such as traditional on-campus classes, online and hybrid courses, accelerated 8-week courses, self-paced studies, and study abroad opportunities.

    Many degrees and certificates can lead directly to entry-level career opportunities. HCC also maintains transfer agreements with more than 20 four-year institutions, ideal for students interested in pursuing a bachelor's. An open-door admissions policy guarantees acceptance to any applicant with a high school diploma or GED. Placement tests are required for most incoming students.

  8. Norwalk Community College
    Location

    Norwalk, CT

    Tuition

    $7772

    Located on a 30-acre suburban campus, Norwalk Community College is the second-largest community college in Connecticut. NCC serves approximately 13,000 students each year and offers entry-level job training, transferable associate degrees, and a variety of continuing education opportunities. NCC hosts thirteen academic departments, including nursing/allied health, computer science, and architecture and design.

    Students at NCC receive a hands-on education, as they learn in a variety of real-world environments including electrical engineering laboratories, television studios, culinary arts kitchens, and graphic design studios. Students who require additional flexibility can register for asynchronous online and hybrid courses.

    Although NCC is a nonresidential school, learners have plenty of opportunities to get involved through 40+ student clubs, interest groups, and organizations. An open admissions policy makes it easy to get started. First-time applicants need only provide proof of high school graduation or GED, submit immunization records, and complete a placement test.

  9. Tunxis Community College
    Location

    Farmington, CT

    Tuition

    $6781

    Named after the Tunxis Native Americans, Tunxis Community College enrolled its first class of 494 students in 1970. Today, the school is one of the top community colleges in Connecticut, serving approximately 7,000 full- and part-time students annually. Academic offerings include more than 75 certificates and associate degrees.

    A number of TCC certificates prepare graduates for immediate entry-level work, including career-track studies in 15 diverse healthcare programs. Students who plan to continue their education at a Connecticut state university can pursue any of TCC's 20 transfer-ticket associate degrees, which are guaranteed to transfer without loss of credit. TCC offers several fully online options for learners who cannot attend classes on campus in Farmington, including four certificates, an associate degree in criminal justice, and an associate degree in general studies.

    TCC adheres to an open admissions policy that accepts all high school graduates and GED recipients. A majority of incoming students must take a placement exam before registering for classes.

  10. Three Rivers Community College
    Location

    Norwich, CT

    Tuition

    $7161

    Three Rivers Community College takes its name from three local rivers: the Shetucket, the Yantic, and the Thames. Each year, TRCC provides academic services and support to a diverse student body numbering more than 6,000. The school's 29-acre, accessible, modern campus in Norwich houses 30,000 square feet of lab space.

    TRCC features sixty certificates and associate degrees in five academic departments: business and technologies, English and communication, humanities and social science, mathematics and science, and nursing and allied health. Students who want to earn their degree faster can take advantage of seven- and 12-week accelerated courses. Fully online learning options include a general studies associate degree and a certificate in library technology.

    Every degree-seeking applicant with a high school diploma or GED is eligible for full admission. Students seeking continuing education or other noncredit learning opportunities are limited only by restrictions on class size. TRCC accepts applications on a rolling basis.

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in Connecticut

Are community colleges worth it? true

Yes. Community colleges can provide a more affordable and accessible alternative to four-year colleges and universities. They can be adaptable to different financial and academic needs. These schools may also offer student support services for nontraditional students.

For students interested in getting a headstart in joining the workforce, community colleges offer training for entry-level jobs. For nontraditional students, community colleges may be preferable due to the flexible pace of learning. Smaller class sizes allow for personalized attention, and many classes are available online.

Students who wish to earn a bachelor's degree may be able to transfer their credits to four-year schools.

How many community colleges are in Connecticut? true

CSCU consolidates Connecticut's 12 community colleges into a single accredited institution. It aims to sustain and enhance the quality of higher education while keeping it affordable and accessible.

Focused on student success, the 12 Connecticut community colleges provide a platform for positive advances for the students and the community. To facilitate diverse opportunities, CSCU collaborates with businesses, industries, government, and key stakeholders. In doing so, the colleges work to supply the state and its residents with a skilled, well-trained, and educated workforce.

How much does community college cost in Connecticut? true

According to the CSCU, the in-state tuition rate at Connecticut's community colleges was $166 per credit for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Community colleges in Connecticut charge affordable tuition rates for students looking to cut down on costs while receiving a high-quality education.

What is the hardest college to get into in Connecticut?

With an acceptance rate of 4.6%, Yale University in New Haven ranks among the hardest colleges to get into. Apart from an excellent academic background, Yale looks for prospective students who can make the most of university resources and their talents. The university evaluates these traits through personal essays and letters of recommendation.

Is community college free in Connecticut?

Pledge to Advance Connecticut (PACT) is a community college program to help students with financial aid. It covers the gap between community college tuition and mandatory fees to be paid and federal and state grants that a student receives. Entry into the program is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

First-time college students graduating from a Connecticut high school are eligible for the program. Eligible applicants must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and enroll in a full-time program.

Additionally, Connecticut is home to many community colleges with affordable tuition fees and financial aid options to support students looking to cut down on costs without compromising the quality of education.

Featured Image: Shobeir Ansari / E+ / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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