Best Community Colleges in Kansas
Community colleges are an affordable way for students to complete the first two years of a bachelor's degree, to pursue training in a vocational field, or to earn a license or credential that can lead directly to entry-level work. Community colleges also provide area residents with a variety of other educational services like dual-credit high school courses and continuing education for professional development or personal enrichment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), top occupational areas in Kansas by number of employees include office and administrative support, sales, production, food preparation, transportation, education, healthcare/technical, and business. BLS data also indicates a fairly low unemployment rate of 3.2% for state residents (as of September 2019), which is slightly better than the national unemployment rate of 3.5%. Combined with a lower cost of living than the national average, settling in Kansas may be an attractive option for career-seekers.
Best Community Colleges in Kansas
|#1||Seward County Community College Liberal, KS|
|#2||Coffeyville Community College Coffeyville, KS|
|#3||Dodge City Community College Dodge City, KS|
|#4||Colby Community College Colby, KS|
|#5||Garden City Community College Garden City, KS|
|#6||Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS|
|#7||Allen County Community College Iola, KS|
|#8||Cowley College Arkansas City, KS|
|#9||Cloud County Community College Concordia, KS|
|#10||Johnson County Community College Overland Park, KS|
Many prospective community college students are primarily concerned with their physical proximity to an institution. When you start your college search, however, location should only be one factor influencing your decision. Other issues to consider include cost, quality and diversity of academic offerings, and the transferability of your preferred program to either a four-year degree or an entry-level career. Many community colleges in Kansas offer on-campus housing options, as well, making it easier for students to expand their search beyond the typical limitations of a commute.
To help you explore your options, we compiled the following ranked list of the top 15 community colleges in Kansas. In each of the rankings below, we provide details about academics, admission requirements, and student services. However, college is about more than just what you learn in the classroom -- your community experience matters, too. That's why our rankings also address housing, athletics, and student involvement opportunities, when relevant.
Ranking the Best Community Colleges in Kansas
Seward County Community College, located in Liberal, serves more than 2,500 students on its campus each year. SCCC also provides outreach to seven rural counties in southwest Kansas, with options for dual-credit high school courses, enrichment and personal development courses, and continuing education courses.
SCCC's main academic offerings include 45 associate degrees. Students can pursue a general studies program or select a preferred major from five academic disciplines: allied health; humanities; industrial technology; science, math, and P.E.; and agriculture, business, and personal services. SCCC offers five of its associate degrees online through EDUKAN.
Admission requirements vary for first-time, transfer, and non-credit students. Degree-seeking applicants must provide high school transcripts or proof of GED completion; they must also complete a placement test or provide ACT scores. Acceptance does not guarantee admission into selective programs like nursing, cosmetology, and surgical technology. On-campus housing options are also available.
Established in 1923, Coffeyville Community College was one of the first junior colleges chartered by the state. CCC boasts three separate campuses, including its main campus (which offers two residence halls), the Coffeyville technical campus, and the Columbus technical campus located about 50 miles from Coffeyville. Approximately 3,000 students attend CCC each year.
CCC currently offers 30 academic majors and 20 technical majors. To graduate with an associate degree, students must complete a minimum of 64 credits. The associate of arts track at CCC can be completed entirely online, with electives targeted toward specific career or educational goals. Students can also participate in a variety of on-campus activities, including band; choir; and men's, women's, and co-ed sports.
CCC has an open-door admission policy, offering guaranteed admission to any applicant with a high school diploma or GED certificate. Prospective students can submit applications at any time throughout the year.
Dodge City Community College is situated on 145 acres in central Kansas, with a campus featuring four residence halls, a fishing lake, athletics courts, and even a rodeo arena. DC3 encourages active involvement through 14 student clubs; a wellness center; and a variety of athletics programs, including basketball, football, volleyball, and cross country.
DC3 offers programs in eight academic disciplines, with more than 30 certificate and degree pathways. Options include early childhood education, cosmetology and nail technology, fine art, and ag production/farm and ranch management. Online and hybrid courses are available for students who require additional scheduling flexibility. To help students transfer seamlessly into a bachelor's program, DC3 maintains articulation and transfer agreements with multiple universities in the state.
DC3 welcomes all prospective students with a high school diploma or GED certificate. Non-degree-seeking students do not need to provide transcripts. Additional admission requirements may apply for students interested in the limited-enrollment nursing program.
In 2018 and 2019, Colby Community College had the highest graduation rate of all community colleges in Kansas. More than 1,900 students attend CCC each year. Its 80-acre main campus includes three residence halls, and a 60-acre agricultural center is located east of the city to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students enrolled in agricultural disciplines.
Students can choose from more than 50 degree and certificate options in academic, vocational, and technical disciplines, including business, healthcare, humanities, social sciences, and agriculture. CCC is one of only five colleges in the country to offer a veterinary nursing program in both on-campus and e-learning formats. Four additional programs are also available entirely online. Athletes can participate in varsity basketball, wrestling, volleyball, track, cross country, softball, baseball, and rodeo.
Applicants need to provide proof of high school graduation (or the equivalent) to get started. Certain programs offer limited enrollment and require a separate admissions process. Multiple start dates are available each semester.
The first four community colleges in Kansas were established in 1919. Garden City Community College is one of only two of these original institutions that is still in operation. GCCC has relocated several times and now sits on a 63-acre campus in western Kansas with more than a dozen buildings, including a student apartment complex.
With 12 certification options and more than 40 academic and technical programs, GCCC offers transfer-ready associate degrees or training for immediate entry-level employment after graduation. A variety of academic disciplines are represented in GCCC's catalog, and online learning options are also available. Student involvement opportunities include clubs and organizations, student center activities, band, and various athletics programs.
GCCC accepts applications throughout the year. Prospective students must provide proof of high school graduation or GED completion and take either the ACT or the ACCUPLACER placement exam.
Hutchinson Community College serves approximately 5,500 students each semester. HutchCC's Step Ahead program provides an affordable college pathway for current high school students. Individuals who take a few HutchCC courses while in high school and then attend HutchCC full time for their first year of college receive tuition reimbursement.
Over half of all HutchCC graduates earn degrees in technical and career programs, but university-bound students can also access many opportunities. Like other community colleges in Kansas, HutchCC has a number of articulation and transfer agreements with four-year institutions in Kansas and across the country. Students can pursue a two-year associate degree in general studies or choose from more than a dozen disciplines, including education, fine arts, public safety, and business.
Admissions processes vary slightly according to a student's status. First-time, credit-seeking applicants must submit proof of high school graduation or GED completion. They may also need to complete placement testing.
Allen Community College offers a variety of educational opportunities from two campuses in Iola and Burlingame. The main Iola campus offers a traditional college experience, complete with six residence halls, activities programs, and 11 varsity sports teams. The Burlingame campus offers flexible scheduling for commuters; once-a-week, night, hybrid, and online class options are available.
Allen's academic options include an associate of general studies, 15 degree tracks that award an associate of arts or associate of science, nine degree tracks that lead to an associate of applied science, 14 career and technical certification options, and 12 programs leading to career-focused licensure. More than 75 current course offerings at Allen are guaranteed to transfer to bachelor's programs at any other public institution in the state.
Like many of the best community colleges in Kansas, Allen maintains an open-door admission policy. Prospective students can complete the school's free application online by providing test scores and high school transcripts or proof of a GED diploma.
Based in Arkansas City, the main campus of Cowley College offers many academic options and modern amenities, including on-campus dorms, dining, student activities, and athletics programs. Four additional campuses -- in nearby Wellington, Winfield, Mulvane, and downtown Wichita -- offer study opportunities in select programs like EMT training, criminal justice, education, and allied health.
Cowley students can select from more than 120 program options in six academic departments, including transferable associate degrees, career-ready associate degrees, and vocational certificate programs. Thirty-five of these programs can be completed entirely online. Majors include anthropology, business administration, creative writing, environmental health, pre-law, religion, and veterinary medicine. Associate degrees require the completion of at least 62 credits.
Cowley offers admission to current high school students, high school graduates, transfer students, members of the military, and international students. All applicants should be prepared to supply transcripts and test scores, although procedures vary slightly depending on an individual's status.
From its main campus in Concordia, a second full-service campus in Junction City, and more than 30 additional outreach locations, Cloud County Community College serves the educational needs of residents from 12 counties in north central Kansas. Online courses and programs provide additional flexibility for students who cannot attend traditional classes.
More than 30 distinct academic areas are represented in the school's program offerings, in fields such as agriculture, communication, nursing, and social science. CCCC stands out from other community colleges in Kansas by featuring the only school-owned wind farm, which provides a significant carbon footprint reduction and an on-site laboratory for CCCC's wind energy technology programs. Students have the opportunity to engage in climb testing, rope rescue training, and routine maintenance work.
CCCC offers full admission to any degree-seeking student with a high school diploma or GED certificate. Specific application requirements vary according to a learner's prior education experience.
Johnson County Community College's campus in Overland Park houses art and design studios, a contemporary art museum, and the county's only professional performing arts center. Although JCCC does not offer on-campus housing, students can get involved through athletics events, concerts, dozens of clubs and organizations, and study abroad opportunities.
JCCC students can select their desired program from more than 80 academic and technical focus areas. These offerings include popular options like business administration, as well as programs that are less common at community colleges, such as animation, ASL/deaf studies, and legal interpreting. Students seeking additional flexibility can consider online learning -- JCCC offers five degrees and five certificates entirely online.
To get started at JCCC, prospective students need to create a Dynamic Forms account, access and complete an online application, and attend a new student orientation (either online or in person).
Barton Community College is located on a 160-acre campus in Great Bend. On-campus housing is required for full-time, first-year students, but it is open to all learners. As a result, students have numerous opportunities to get involved. The school also boasts a thriving athletics tradition.
Barton offers career training programs and academic degrees in communication; humanities and social sciences; health, physical education, and recreation; math and science; and pre-professional fields. Developmental education options provide post-secondary opportunities to learners with special needs. A full-service campus at Fort Riley extends education access to active members of the military and military families, while a variety of online learning options -- including fully online degrees -- are also available.
The school uses an open-door admission policy and accepts any prospective student with a high school diploma or GED certificate. Recent high school graduates can earn Barton Bound scholarships based on their GPA or ACT scores. The highest award amount covers the full cost of tuition and books.
The second-largest community college in Kansas, Butler Community College enrolls more than 13,000 students annually in its academic, technical, and continuing education programs. Established in 1927, Butler maintains a strong tradition in academics, community service, and athletics. The school boasts 10 NJCAA championships in football, basketball, men's and women's cross country, and softball.
Students can choose from 72 associate degrees, 21 certificates, and 11 career certifications/licenses. Represented disciplines include engineering, math, health science, fine arts, humanities, business, education, and public service. Courses are offered at the main El Dorado campus, at five branch campuses, through distance-learning high school sites, and online.
Butler's online application process takes 15-20 minutes and requests basic background information, school experience details, and a student's desired program and start date. A separate application is required for individuals who want to live in on-campus housing.
More than 5,000 students enroll at Kansas City Kansas Community College each year. The school's main campus features a variety of academic buildings, a technical education center, a performing arts center, a wellness center, and student apartments. Additionally, the Pioneer Career Center in nearby Leavenworth offers several technical certificate and associate degree programs, with courses available in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
Five academic divisions -- including health professions, computer technology, and communication -- offer diverse study options for degree-seekers and individuals looking for a quick way to gain entry-level employment. Students can choose from more than 100 associate and certificate programs. Associate degrees require 60-62 credits for completion. Certificates vary according to the discipline, but require students to complete 16-48 credits. Online course options are also available.
To enroll at KCKCC, prospective students must fill out a free online application, sit for placement tests, apply for financial aid, and submit transcripts to the registrar's office.
Neosho County Community College consists of two campuses in Chanute and Ottawa. The main Chanute campus has two residence halls for full-time students, various academic and instructional buildings, a library, a student center, and an interdenominational chapel. The Ottawa branch offers a variety of academic courses and services for part-time and full-time students. Students from both campuses are welcome to get involved in clubs, student organizations, athletics, theatre, choir, and other activities.
NCCC's academic offerings include 40 academic, technical, and career-focused programs. Students can pursue standalone and transferable associate degrees; technical training; and career-ready certificates in art, business, English, health occupations, science, social science, and vocational technology fields. For those who need additional scheduling flexibility, NCCC provides distance learning options. Several certificates and degrees can be completed through online and hybrid courses.
The school's open-door admission policy guarantees acceptance to any student with a high school diploma or GED certificate. Applicants must submit transcripts and sit for placement exams.
Founded in 1919, Fort Scott Community College is one of the oldest community colleges in Kansas. FSCC offers small class sizes; experienced faculty; and a thriving campus community featuring two residence halls, dining areas, athletics programs, and dozens of student clubs/organizations. Additional outreach locations in Paola, Pittsburg, and Frontenac expand learning opportunities to residents throughout the region.
More than 55 general education courses at FSCC can be transferred to any public college or university in Kansas, making it easy for bachelor's degree-seekers to complete their first two years of study at a relatively affordable price. More than 35 fields of study are available, including education, criminal justice, motorcycle tech, nursing, and psychology. The school's John Deere Technician Training Program provides a unique pathway to an associate of applied science, with the opportunity to work at a sponsoring John Deere dealership.
Aspiring students must submit transcripts and a financial aid application and complete the ACT or ACCUPLACER placement test.