The Best Community Colleges in the US

by TBS Staff

Updated October 18, 2022

TheBestSchools.org

thebestschools.org 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.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

For many students, community colleges are important pathways to furthering their professional and educational goals.

During the 2018-19 school year, nearly eight million students enrolled in at least one course at a two-year college. Students attend top community colleges for a variety of reasons, not least because they cost less than four-year institutions. Additionally, community colleges often partner with universities, allowing students to easily transfer credits and earn a bachelor's degree.

The best community colleges also prepare graduates to begin working in their respective fields sooner, which appeals to nontraditional learners or those with professional responsibilities. Students who choose this route can also acquire pursue professional experiences and establish themselves within organizations sooner than students who earn four-year degrees.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between Community College and College?

Community colleges focus on two-year programs that prepare graduates for immediate employment. These programs can also cover general education requirements, allowing students to transfer to four-year schools. Four-year programs include general education requirements and advanced topics, and are what most people think of when they think of traditional college.

What Is the Difference Between Junior College and Community College?

Junior colleges specifically provide vocational training, while community colleges offer two-year programs that often meet the transfer requirements for four-year institutions.

Do Community Colleges Offer Housing?

Top community colleges that strive to provide a full college experience may offer on-campus housing. However, most community colleges do not offer housing.

Can You Get a Scholarship for Community College?

Community college students qualify for scholarships and can begin their searches by contacting their schools for in-house opportunities. Community college students also qualify for private and federal scholarships.

Are All Community Colleges Open Admission?

The best community colleges accommodate any student who wants to earn a degree. Most community colleges offer open admission.

Is It Easier For Transfer Students to Get Accepted to College?

Attending a community college provides students with an opportunity to boost their GPAs with college coursework, which may increase students' chance of gaining admission to programs, especially if they didn't do well in high school.

Featured Online Bachelor's Degrees

Best Community Colleges in the United States

#1 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Walla Walla Community College

  • Walla Walla, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Walla Walla Community College prioritizes flexibility in its degree-granting programs. Located in Walla Walla, Washington, the public institution grants degrees in person and online. The school offers 3% of its programs to distance learners.

Both modalities offer rigorous but supportive learning environments. Degree-seekers customize the program based on their personal or professional goals by coordinating with faculty mentors and academic advisors. Career resources include workshops, resume feedback, mock interviews, and job fairs. Undergraduates report a 40% graduation rate.

The financial aid office helps prospective students identify funding opportunities to cover degree costs. Today, 81% of the student body receives financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,700
Out-of-state
$6,200
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,671
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Santa Barbara City College

  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Santa Barbara City College offers a flexible route to a college degree. Learners enrolled at the public institution take classes on the Santa Barbara, California, campus and online. At the school, 1% of all programs provide a distance learning option.

Enrollees benefit from multiple learning formats designed for diverse schedules. Degree-seekers individualize their program by choosing concentrations, minors, and electives that match their personal and professional goals. Learners hone their skills for the job market thanks to resources like career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. The school's undergraduate programs report a graduation rate of 41%.

Prospective students can contact the financial aid office to learn more about funding opportunities. Out of the student body, 42% receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,380
Out-of-state
$8,140
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
14,133
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
No

#3 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Lake Area Technical College

  • Watertown, SD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Lake Area Technical College provides diverse enrollment options for degree-seekers. The public institution provides both on-campus and online programs from its Watertown, South Dakota, campus. Of the school's total programs, 38% offer online enrollment.

Enrollees can choose the format that matches their learning style and schedule. Degree-seekers work with faculty members and academic advisors to customize the degree based on their personal and professional goals. Learners benefit from institutional resources such as career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. A leader in student success, the school reports a graduation rate of 72%.

Prospective enrollees can contact the financial aid office to learn more about funding opportunities. According to the most recent data, 94% receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,904
Out-of-state
$2,904
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,228
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Community Colleges in the US

East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program

  • West Covina, CA
  • 2 years
  • Campus

East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program stands out for its exceptional programs. Learners attending the public institution choose from in-person classes on the West Covina, California, campus or online classes.

Enrollees can choose the format that matches their learning style and schedule. Degree-seekers work closely with faculty mentors to design an individualized course of study based on transfer credits, interests, and career goals. East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program offers career services like job fairs and workshops to help learners reach their professional goals. The school reports an 83% graduation rate for its undergraduate programs.

Prospective enrollees may be eligible for internal and external funding opportunities to pay for their degree. Out of the student body, 92% receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
108
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
No

#5 The Best Community Colleges in the US

New Mexico Military Institute

  • Roswell, NM
  • 2 years
  • Campus

New Mexico Military Institute ranks among the top online colleges. Learners enrolled at the public institution participate in online and on-campus classes offered at the main campus in Roswell.

Both modalities offer rigorous academics and supportive learning environments. The programs prioritize customization to let degree-seekers design a course of study that matches their personal and professional goals. Learners benefit from institutional resources such as career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. The school reports a graduation rate of 42% for its undergraduate programs.

Prospective students can contact the financial aid office to learn about their eligibility for funding. Currently, 97% of enrollees receive a financial aid award.

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,784
Out-of-state
$8,072
Retention Rate
48%
Admission Rate
34%
Students Enrolled
487
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 The Best Community Colleges in the US

North Central Kansas Technical College

  • Beloit, KS
  • 2 years
  • Campus

The flexible programs at North Central Kansas Technical College offer a variety of options for degree-seekers. The public institution welcomes students to its Beloit campus while also offering online programs.

Both modalities provide rigorous academics and supportive learning communities. Degree-seekers individualize their program by choosing concentrations, minors, and electives that match their personal and professional goals. North Central Kansas Technical College helps learners reach their career goals with institutional resources such as career workshops and job fairs. A leader in student success, the school reports a graduation rate of 63%.

Prospective applicants can contact the financial aid office to learn about their funding eligibility. According to the most recent data, 96% of learners use financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,512
Out-of-state
$4,512
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
913
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Valencia College

  • Orlando, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Valencia College stands out for its exceptional programs. The public institution enrolls learners online and on its Orlando, Florida, campus. At the school, 1% of programs are available online.

In both modalities, enrollees take rigorous classes and benefit from a supportive learning community. Degree-seekers work closely with faculty mentors to design an individualized course of study based on transfer credits, interests, and career goals. Valencia College offers career services like job fairs and workshops to help learners reach their professional goals. Bachelor's degree-seekers hold a 42% graduation rate.

The financial aid office connects students with funding opportunities to help offset degree costs. Today, 75% of learners at the institution receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,984
Out-of-state
$7,933
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
47,940
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Snow College

  • Ephraim, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Snow College provides flexible study to learners from all walks of life. Located in Ephraim, Utah, the public institution offers both in-person and online programs. At the school, 1% of all programs provide a distance learning option.

Both modalities offer rigorous but supportive learning environments. The programs prioritize customization to let degree-seekers design a course of study that matches their personal and professional goals. Snow College supports learners with institutional resources like career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. The school reports a graduation rate of 43% for its undergraduate programs.

Prospective applicants can connect with financial aid advisors to learn more about scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. According to the most recent data, 90% of learners use financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,410
Out-of-state
$12,450
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,383
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#9 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Saint Paul College

  • Saint Paul, MN
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Saint Paul College offers programs designed with busy students in mind. Learners attending the public institution choose from in-person classes on the Saint Paul, Minnesota, campus or online classes. At the school, 3% of all programs provide a distance learning option.

Enrollees benefit from multiple learning formats designed for diverse schedules. Faculty mentors and academic advisors work with degree-seekers to create an individualized course of study. Learners hone their skills for the job market thanks to resources like career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. The school's undergraduate programs report a graduation rate of 27%.

Prospective students may be eligible for internal and external funding opportunities to pay for their degree. Today, 87% of learners at the institution receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,996
Out-of-state
$4,996
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,656
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Mayland Community College

  • Spruce Pine, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Mayland Community College provides diverse enrollment options for degree-seekers. From its main campus in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, the public institution provides in-person and online programs. Of the school's total programs, 7% offer online enrollment.

Enrollees benefit from several learning formats that fit their schedule and needs. Degree-seekers customize the program based on their personal or professional goals by coordinating with faculty mentors and academic advisors. Mayland Community College offers strong career-planning resources, including career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. The school's undergraduate programs report a graduation rate of 49%.

Prospective students work with financial aid advisors to identify scholarship and grant opportunities. The school reports that 73% of the student body receives financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
399
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#11 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Northwest Iowa Community College

  • Sheldon, IA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus
Northwest Iowa Community College prioritizes flexibility in its degree-granting programs. Learners attending the public institution choose from in-person classes on the Sheldon campus or online classes. The school's programs include 30% that provide distance learning enrollment.

In both modalities, the institution encourages rigorous coursework and supportive learning communities. Degree-seekers work with faculty members and academic advisors to customize the degree based on their personal and professional goals. Northwest Iowa Community College supports learners with institutional resources like career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. Undergraduate degree-seekers can expect a 69% graduation rate.

Prospective students work with financial aid advisors to identify scholarship and grant opportunities. Out of the total student body, 83% receive a financial aid award.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,190
Out-of-state
$5,490
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,777
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
67% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#12 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Southeast Community College Area

  • Lincoln, NE
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Southeast Community College Area offers a variety of options for busy students. Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, the public institution offers both in-person and online programs. At the school, 17% of degree-granting programs offer an online option.

Both modalities offer rigorous academics and supportive learning environments. Degree-seekers can work with faculty members and their academic advisor to customize their degree path to suit their personal and professional goals. Learners can access topnotch institutional resources during their time at Southeast Community College Area, including career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. Undergraduate degree-seekers can expect a 33% graduation rate.

Prospective students benefit from the financial aid office, which provides guidance on funding opportunities. Typically, 89% receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,448
Out-of-state
$2,952
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,756
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#13 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Victor Valley College

  • Victorville, CA
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Victor Valley College offers programs designed with busy students in mind. Located in Victorville, California, the public institution provides on-campus and online programs.

In both modalities, enrollees take rigorous classes and benefit from a supportive learning community. The programs prioritize customization to let degree-seekers design a course of study that matches their personal and professional goals. Learners prepare for the job market through mock interviews, career workshops, and job fairs. A leader in student success, the school reports a graduation rate of 21%.

Prospective applicants can connect with the financial aid office to learn more about internal and external funding opportunities. The school reports that 82% of the student body receives financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,402
Out-of-state
$9,142
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
13,126
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
No

#14 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Georgia Military College

  • Milledgeville, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Georgia Military College stands out for its commitment to higher education. The public institution enrolls learners on its Milledgeville campus and in online programs. Currently, 87% of programs enroll online learners.

Undergraduates choose from two bachelor's degrees. Enrollees can choose the learning format that best fits their needs and schedule. Customization options such as electives, minors, and concentrations let degree-seekers create an individualized course of study. Georgia Military College offers strong career-planning resources, including career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. A leader in student success, the college boasts a 28% graduation rate.

Prospective learners may be eligible for scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. According to the most recent data, 92% of students use financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,165
Out-of-state
$6,165
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
8,766
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#15 The Best Community Colleges in the US

De Anza College

  • Cupertino, CA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

De Anza College stands out for its exceptional programs. Learners attending the public institution choose from in-person classes on the Cupertino, California, campus or online classes. The school's programs include 2% that provide distance learning enrollment.

Enrollees can choose the learning format that best fits their needs and schedule. Degree-seekers work closely with faculty mentors to customize their program based on unique interests and career goals. Career resources include workshops, resume feedback, mock interviews, and job fairs. Bachelor's degree-seekers hold a 65% graduation rate.

Prospective students can explore their eligibility for funding opportunities to help offset degree costs. According to the most recent data, 47% of learners use financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,395
Out-of-state
$9,360
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
18,669
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
No

#16 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Marion Military Institute

  • Marion, AL
  • 2 years
  • Campus

The flexible programs at Marion Military Institute offer a variety of options for degree-seekers. The public institution welcomes learners to its Marion, Alabama, campus while also offering online programs.

In both modalities, enrollees participate in rigorous but supportive learning environments. Degree-seekers work with faculty members and academic advisors to customize the degree based on their personal and professional goals. Learners prepare for the job market through mock interviews, career workshops, and job fairs. The school reports a 30% graduation rate for its undergraduate programs.

The financial aid office helps prospective students identify funding opportunities to cover degree costs. Currently, 98% of enrollees use financial aid to pay for school.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,000
Out-of-state
$12,000
Retention Rate
40%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
409
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#17 The Best Community Colleges in the US

CUNY Kingsborough Community College

  • Brooklyn, NY
  • 2 years
  • Campus

The flexible programs at CUNY Kingsborough Community College appeal to learners from all walks of life. The public institution welcomes degree-seekers to its Brooklyn, New York, campus while also offering online programs.

Enrollees can choose the format that matches their learning style and schedule. Faculty mentors and academic advisors work with degree-seekers to create an individualized course of study. CUNY Kingsborough Community College offers strong career-planning resources, including career workshops, mock interviews, and job fairs. A leader in student success, the school reports a graduation rate of 34%.

Prospective students may be eligible for internal and external funding opportunities to pay for their degree. Today, 84% of the student body receives financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,800
Out-of-state
$7,680
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
15,443
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#18 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Western Wyoming Community College

  • Rock Springs, WY
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus
Western Wyoming Community College appeals to students with a variety of needs. The public institution provides both on-campus and online programs from its Rock Springs campus. The school's programs include 25% which offer an online option.

In both modalities, enrollees participate in rigorous but supportive learning environments. Degree-seekers can work with faculty members and their academic advisor to customize their degree path to suit their personal and professional goals. Western Wyoming Community College offers career services like job fairs and workshops to help learners reach their professional goals. A leader in student success, the college boasts a 35% graduation rate.

Prospective students connect with the financial aid office to learn more about internal and external funding opportunities. Currently, 96% receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,970
Out-of-state
$8,910
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,821
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#19 The Best Community Colleges in the US

North Iowa Area Community College

  • Mason City, IA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

North Iowa Area Community College offers a flexible route to a college degree. The public institution enrolls learners online and on its Mason City campus. The school's programs include 2% that provide distance learning enrollment.

Enrollees can choose the learning format that best fits their needs and schedule. The programs provide customization options such as electives and concentrations so degree-seekers can meet their personal and professional goals. Career resources include workshops, resume feedback, mock interviews, and job fairs. Bachelor's degree-seekers can expect a graduation rate of 47%.

Prospective applicants can contact the financial aid office to learn about their eligibility for funding. Out of the total student body, 91% receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,793
Out-of-state
$7,189
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,894
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
73% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#20 The Best Community Colleges in the US

Northeast Alabama Community College

  • Rainsville, AL
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Northeast Alabama Community College stands out for its commitment to higher education. Located in Rainsville, the public institution offers both in-person and online programs.

In both modalities, enrollees benefit from rigorous coursework and supportive learning environments. Degree-seekers work closely with faculty mentors to design an individualized course of study based on transfer credits, interests, and career goals. Learners prepare for the job market with resources like resume reviews, career workshops, and job fairs. Undergraduate degree-seekers can expect a 46% graduation rate.

Prospective students work with financial aid advisors to identify scholarship and grant opportunities. Out of the total student body, 93% receive a financial aid award.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,930
Out-of-state
$7,860
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,981
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Community College Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these communinity colleges based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

How to Choose a College

Choosing a community college is an important decision. Students should consider factors like location and educational costs. For example, students planning a career in another state can access low out-of-state tuition rates while establishing residency.

While community colleges offer lower rates than traditional four-year institutions, tuition rates vary. Students may want to compare rates before committing to a program.

Community college students often commute. However, out-of-state learners or students seeking a traditional college experience may want to narrow their search by finding schools that offer housing packages.

Students should also consider their learning styles. Larger colleges usually offer more networking opportunities, while smaller colleges offer intimate classes sizes that provide more opportunities for mentorship and practical learning.

The best community colleges accept financial aid and provide assistance navigating the application process. Advisors can help students through the admissions process.

How to Choose an Associate Degree

An associate degree prepares graduates for the workforce. However, the best community colleges also consider how credits transfer to four-year institutions. Students should identify their long-term career goals to determine which programs best meet their professional goals.

Financing Your College Degree

Funding a college degree requires a significant investment that most students cannot pay out of pocket. Fortunately, students have multiple funding options, beginning with federal financial aid.

The FAFSA is a free application form that determines if students qualify for grants and loans. Grants do not require repayment, and the government provides these awards based on need.

Students begin repaying loans within six months after graduating unless they enroll in another program. Learners may also apply for private student loans offered through banks and financial organizations, which tend to have more expensive interest rates than federal loans.

The best community colleges also offer federally funded work-study opportunities. During these programs, students work on campus, often in a field that reflects their career goals.

Students should also consider scholarships, which do not require repayment. Colleges and universities typically provide merit-based or need-based scholarships. These scholarships are often offered by community organizations and large corporations, which identify a target population to support and provide fundings for people in that population.

Learn more, do more.

More topic-relevant resources to expand your knowledge.

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office