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100 best community colleges in America

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University of Hawai‘i News // Flickr

100 best community colleges in America

With college costs mounting and student debt remaining a hot topic of conversation on the campaign trail, public opinion on four-year colleges has begun to shift, as people contemplate whether they are in fact the only—or best—option for all students. An estimated 8.7 million undergraduates enrolled in public, two-year colleges during the 2016–17 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. A 2019 study from TD Ameritrade found 36% of Gen Z students considered attending a community college before a four-year college, while 21% considered attending a community college instead of a four-year college.

While there are many reasons to choose a community college over a traditional four-year program, one key factor is cost. Student Loan Hero reports that the average cost-per-credit for a two-year public school is $135, compared to $324.70 for a four-year public school. Cheaper classes may put slightly less pressure on students to settle and choose a career path immediately. Community colleges also allow for flexibility in ways traditional schools may not: Students who work full-time can attend school part-time. Whether it’s to save money or experiment with career choices, community colleges not only serve as an alternative but also a gateway to four-year universities.

The cost of a four-year college has become a substantial issue in the 2020 presidential race. Several of the Democrats who have vied to secure the nomination, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, have endorsed plans that would make public colleges free in America. Others are more skeptical, proposing more-modest loan-forgiveness schemes or free community colleges. These changes would have substantial effects on the education sector.

To determine where the best community colleges are located, Stacker looked at data from Niche's 2020 Best Community Colleges in America (as of March 2, 2020) to compile this list of the top 100 community colleges in America. The data is based on rigorous analysis of academic, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education, along with reviews from students and alumni. The community college list includes public junior colleges, public technical schools, and all other public, two-year colleges.

Read on to see how community colleges across the nation stack up.

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LightField Studios // Shutterstock

#100. Lurleen B. Wallace Community College

- Location: Andalusia, AL
- Students: 957
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $26,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 82%

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College has campuses across the state of Alabama, not only in Andalusia but also in Greenville, Opp, and Luverne. The college was named after the first female governor of Alabama, whose official state portrait is painted of her in a ballgown.

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Dr. Patrick M. Len // flickr

#99. Cuesta College

- Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
- Students: 3,372
- Students to faculty ratio: 26:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 84%

Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo has had a remarkably diverse graduating class in recent years. In 2019, the college graduated its largest number of students ever, including a 77-year-old and 14 students with a 4.0 average.

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Dominik Martinez // Wikimedia Commons

#98. Santa Rosa Junior College

- Location: Santa Rosa, CA
- Students: 6,329
- Students to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 79%

Santa Rosa Junior College is specifically meant to graduate students into one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. Many of the college’s students go on to enroll at the nearby University of California-Berkeley, one of the most academically-rigorous schools in the country.

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l i g h t p o e t // Shutterstock

#97. Lone Star College Montgomery

- Location: The Woodlands, TX
- Students: 20,532
- Students to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Lone Star College Montgomery was dedicated at its opening by no less a figure than a president of the United States. Although he hadn’t yet achieved that rank, then-Governor George W. Bush dedicated the campus at its opening in 1995.

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Dmytro Zinkevych // Shutterstock

#96. Neosho County Community College

- Location: Chanute, KS
- Students: 788
- Students to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 89%

Neosho County Community College’s campus in Chanute offers something many community colleges do not: housing. The Chanute campus has two residences, and a meal plan, offering some students the opportunity to attend the school as they would a traditional four-year on-campus institution.

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Jim.henderson // Wikimedia Commons

#95. CUNY Kingsborough Community College

- Location: Brooklyn, NY
- Students: 8,288
- Students to faculty ratio: 22:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

CUNY Kingsborough Community College is the only community college in Brooklyn. As befits a bookish borough, the founder of the bookstore chain Barnes & Noble donated one million dollars in scholarships in 2019 for students at the college.

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Jack N. Mohr// Shutterstock

#94. Santa Barbara City College

- Location: Santa Barbara, CA
- Students: 6,509
- Students to faculty ratio: 27:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 82%

Nature and ocean-lovers may wish in particular to consider Santa Barbara City College. The campus is situated on 74 acres on the top of a bluff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

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christinarosepix // Shutterstock

#93. Carteret Community College

- Location: Morehead City, NC
- Students: 424
- Students to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $23,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 80%

Students at Carteret Community College are particularly enthusiastic about the level of care and attention they receive from their teachers and the support staff at the college. A low student-to-faculty ratio and attentive teachers are among the virtues students rave about.

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Cedarvalleyarboretum // Wikimedia Commons

#92. Hawkeye Community College

- Location: Waterloo, IA
- Students: 2,525
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 92%

In 2015, Hawkeye Community College students got the opportunity to add a traditional hallmark of college life—cheering at sporting events—to their experience. Their mascot—Rusty the RedTail—was voted on by the majority of the student body.

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Zachiah Roberson // U.S. Air Force

#91. Northland Community & Technical College

- Location: Thief River Falls, MN
- Students: 1,275
- Students to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $39,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 91%

Particularly-outdoorsy students will be drawn to the unusual Thief River Falls campus of Northland Community & Technical College. The campus is situated on 150 acres, at the intersection of the Thief and Red Lake Rivers, approximately 20 miles from the largest wildlife refuge in Minnesota.

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DedovStock // Shutterstock

#90. Southwestern Community College - Iowa

- Location: Creston, IA
- Students: 685
- Students to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $31,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 91%

Tragedy struck the Southwestern Community College campus in 2012 in the form of a massive tornado. Numerous dormitories were destroyed, and students were forced to relocate and live with local residents of the town, who graciously opened up their homes.

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Paul.J.West // Shutterstock

#89. Lincoln Land Community College

- Location: Springfield, IL
- Students: 2,298
- Students to faculty ratio: 19:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $29,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Lincoln Land Community College has a diverse list of notable alumni. Among these are NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier and State Senator Kathleen Vinehout.

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James Willamor // Flickr

#88. Stanly Community College

- Location: Albemarle, NC
- Students: 869
- Students to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $28,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

Stanly Community College stands out for its personalized attention to its students. Students rave about the many options in clubs and classes available to suit just about any interest, and how willing everyone from professors to the administration is to working with students.

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Maximumm // Shutterstock

#87. College of Southern Idaho

- Location: Twin Falls, ID
- Students: 1,929
- Students to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $29,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Basketball fans in particular might want to take a look at the College of Southern Idaho. The school’s Golden Eagles basketball team has the longest winning streak of any basketball team at any level in college basketball history.

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Margolensis // Wikimedia Commons

#86. Taft College

- Location: Taft, CA
- Students: 1,317
- Students to faculty ratio: 36:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $31,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 82%

Students looking to become dentists have a unique opportunity at Taft College. The college has a dental hygiene clinic that is open to the public, where students are overseen by licensed dentists.

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Aggapom Poomitud // Shutterstock

#85. Western Wyoming Community College

- Location: Rock Springs, WY
- Students: 1,196
- Students to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $31,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Western Wyoming Community College has an extremely unique campus. Due to the harsh winters on campus, the campus is connected entirely by indoor hallways, and dinosaur skeletons line the walls, in homage to the fossils found near campus.

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Chris D swabb // Shutterstock

#84. Shelton State Community College

- Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
- Students: 2,092
- Students to faculty ratio: 21:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $27,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Students at Shelton State Community College have ample inspiration for careers they might like to pursue after their degrees on campus. The state of Alabama’s firefighters and EMTs are trained on campus, and the Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame is located in the campus theater.

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Rattiya Thongdumhyu // Shutterstock

#83. Central Carolina Community College

- Location: Sanford, NC
- Students: 1,878
- Students to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $25,000
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

Students interested in green technology have a unique opportunity at Central Carolina Community College. The school offers an Alternative Energy Technology program focused on biofuels.

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industryviews // Shutterstock

#82. Lamar Institute of Technology

- Location: Beaumont, TX
- Students: 1,313
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 89%

Texas companies are paying attention to Lamar Institute of Technology students. Entergy Texas donated $50,000 to help students complete the college’s Utility Line Technology program, which gives students the prospect of working for the company.

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CRM // Shutterstock

#81. Marion Technical College - Florida

- Location: Ocala, FL
- Students: 413
- Students to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $20,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 78%

Marion Technical College - Florida is a highly-personalized small institution. With just 413 students, those who have enrolled laud the close attention they receive from the faculty.

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GaudiLab // Shutterstock

#80. South Georgia Technical College

- Location: Americus, GA
- Students: 941
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $23,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

South Georgia Technical College has an illustrious military history. The college was originally an aviation training site during World War I and World War II, and is the site where famed aviator Charles Lindbergh bought his first plane.

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TFNorman // Wikimedia Commons

#79. Orange Coast College

- Location: Costa Mesa, CA
- Students: 8,375
- Students to faculty ratio: 30:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $38,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 84%

Orange Coast College owes its campus, at least, to the end of World War II. Several years after the war ended, the U.S. government decided it didn’t need the land anymore for an air base or as part of the War Assets Administration, and it was awarded for the construction of a community college.

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Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) // flickr

#78. Piedmont Virginia Community College

- Location: Charlottesville, VA
- Students: 1,257
- Students to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $31,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 89%

One of the newest offerings at Piedmont Virginia Community College is culinary arts. Students have the option of studying culinary arts in part thanks to an anonymous donation for culinary equipment, part of an expansion to the college grounds.

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Sharealike // Wikimedia Commons

#77. Lakeshore Technical College

- Location: Cleveland, WI
- Students: 691
- Students to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $34,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Students at Lakeshore Technical College say they feel truly supported by their faculty. They point to the deep level of personal attention, from everyone from the instructors to the dining staff, to explain why they feel like the college helps them reach their full potential.

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Canva

#76. Eastern Arizona College

- Location: Thatcher, AZ
- Students: 1,957
- Students to faculty ratio: 19:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $29,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 76%

The musically-inclined may want to give Eastern Arizona College a close look. The college is the only community college in Arizona to have a marching band, and welcomes everyone, including freshmen, into their ranks.

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Chevsapher // Wikimedia Commons

#75. Central Wyoming College

- Location: Riverton, WY
- Students: 616
- Students to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $28,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

Students interested in broadcasting have a unique opportunity at Central Wyoming College. The campus is home to Wyoming’s only public television network, Wyoming PBS.

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Geographer // Wikimedia Commons

#74. Mt. San Antonio College

- Location: Walnut, CA
- Students: 10,226
- Students to faculty ratio: 24:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,000
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 84%

Mt. San Antonio College has something for everyone. The university has career education, community recreation, associate degrees, and even a summer camp for young people in the area, which prepares them for life on campus.

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#73. Northwest Iowa Community College

- Location: Sheldon, IA
- Students: 559
- Students to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $43,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 94%

Northwest Iowa Community College’s enrollment has been on a steady upward trajectory. The college had just 897 students in its first year in 2000, but by fall of 2013, that number had climbed to over 1,600 students.

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#72. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

- Location: Shell Lake, WI
- Students: 1,087
- Students to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $32,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College has an incredible breadth of degrees offered on campus. Over 100 courses of study are offered in more than 60 fields of study, from farming to accounting to cabinetmaking.

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wistechcolleges // flickr

#71. Gateway Technical College

- Location: Kenosha, WI
- Students: 1,457
- Students to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $30,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 84%

Gateway Technical College has an illustrious history in terms of technical colleges. In 1911, it became the first publicly-funded technical school in Wisconsin, and thus in the country, back when it was called the Racine Continuation School.

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Peter Newton // flickr

#70. Chandler-Gilbert Community College

- Location: Chandler, AZ
- Students: 4,141
- Students to faculty ratio: 26:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $38,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Chandler-Gilbert Community College makes a point to give students every resource they might need to succeed. According to students, among these are a state-of-the-art library, a learning center open even on the weekends for free tutoring, and highly-accessible professors.

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University of Hawai‘i News // Flickr

#69. Leeward Community College

- Location: Pearl City, HI
- Students: 2,799
- Students to faculty ratio: 21:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $33,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

Students who are particularly interested in art and sculpture will find much to admire at Leeward Community College. The campus has two famous statues—”Among the Ruins,” by Satoru Abe, and “The Cat,” by Eli Marozzi.

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wistechcolleges // Flickr

#68. Nicolet Area Technical College

- Location: Rhinelander, WI
- Students: 318
- Students to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $29,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

Nicolet Area Technical College may have its own campus now, but this wasn’t always the case. In what must have been a truly unique and memorable classroom experience, early classes at the college were held at the Rhinelander Fire Department.

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LightField Studios // Shutterstock

#67. Sowela Technical Community College

- Location: Lake Charles, LA
- Students: 1,694
- Students to faculty ratio: 22:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $34,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

Sowela Technical Community College was devastated by Hurricane Rita in 2005, but the college, campus, and community came back stronger than ever. In the wake of the hurricane, numerous new buildings were constructed on campus, including a process technology center made possible by the energy company Phillips 66.

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LeiaHill // Wikimedia Commons

#66. East Mississippi Community College

- Location: Scooba, MS
- Students: 2,442
- Students to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $24,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 84%

East Mississippi Community College’s history includes an interesting footnote in the evolution of higher education in the United States. The school’s origins came about in 1922, when the Mississippi legislature passed a statute allowing for “13th and 14th grades” in agricultural high schools.

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Smart7 // Shutterstock

#65. Greenfield Community College

- Location: Greenfield, MA
- Students: 564
- Students to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $32,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 80%

Greenfield Community College who transfer out after two years tend to end up at illustrious schools. To wit, Greenfield Community College is the single-largest source of community college transfer students to Smith College, a highly-prestigious school nearby.

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Abigail.knudson // Wikimedia Commons

#64. North Dakota State College of Science

- Location: Wahpeton, ND
- Students: 1,707
- Students to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $43,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 93%

North Dakota State College of Science has a relatively-historic campus. The original building, which still stands, was designed in 1891 by the noted architect John H. Coxhead, and is still where many activities on campus take place today.

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University of Hawai‘i News // Flickr

#63. Windward Community College

- Location: Kaneohe, HI
- Students: 745
- Students to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $29,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 80%

Windward Community College has a party unlike any likely to be found on another college campus. The annual Ho’olaule’a is a traditional Hawaiian festival, with dancers, food, and fun, that draws over 10,000 people.

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mirzavisoko // Shutterstock

#62. Manatee Technical Institute

- Location: Bradenton, FL
- Students: 680
- Students to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $28,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 79%

Manatee Technical Institute has a small student-to-faculty ratio, and this is reflected in students’ comments about how much attention and care they feel they are given by the faculty. Students add that they also feel very prepared stepping into their future after their education at Manatee.

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M.O. Stevens // Wikimedia Commons

#61. Lewis & Clark Community College

- Location: Godfrey, IL
- Students: 1,758
- Students to faculty ratio: 19:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $27,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Lewis & Clark Community College has nine locations throughout the St. Louis area, and across the river in Illinois. The Godfrey campus wasn’t always a seat of academia—it was originally a seminary for women that opened in 1838.

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#60. Northcentral Technical College

- Location: Wausau, WI
- Students: 1,361
- Students to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,000
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 89%

Northcentral Technical College makes every effort to make students feel they are at a real home away from home, getting a full college experience. The college has a robust dorm life and campus life programs, including a disc golf course for students who want to connect over sports.

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Soonthorn Wongsaita // Shutterstock

#59. Elgin Community College

- Location: Elgin, IL
- Students: 3,215
- Students to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $32,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

Elgin Community College’s campus has a unique history. It was originally a farm colony, and became a campus after local government voted to approve land to turn it into a seat of higher education.

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John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

#58. Manchester Community College - New Hampshire

- Location: Manchester, NH
- Students: 770
- Students to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Manchester Community College - New Hampshire was created for returning military members coming home from World War II in 1945. Now, the school serves a much broader demographic, serving over 3,500 students a year from 50 countries.

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Nick Bastian Tempe, AZ // flickr

#57. GateWay Community College - Phoenix

- Location: Phoenix, AZ
- Students: 1,217
- Students to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $34,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 82%

High school students who live in Phoenix have a unique opportunity with GateWay Community College. A relatively new program will allow them to enroll in college classes while they are still in high school, and eventually earn an associate’s degree by taking such courses.

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Coolcaesar // Wikimedia Commons

#56. De Anza College

- Location: Cupertino, CA
- Students: 9,827
- Students to faculty ratio: 28:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $41,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 85%

De Anza College has a unique claim to fame in California. The school placed second in number of transfers to California’s prestigious private and state universities.

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#55. McLennan Community College

- Location: Waco, TX
- Students: 3,480
- Students to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $30,000
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Students interested in ranching and farming have an additional incentive to consider McLennan Community College due to a piece of property the school owns. Highlander Ranch has 200 bucolic acres just five miles away from campus.

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Sodanie Chea // Flickr

#54. Cypress College

- Location: Cypress, CA
- Students: 5,260
- Students to faculty ratio: 24:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

Cypress College would be an excellent choice for anyone architecturally-inclined. The school campus was designed by Frank Lawyer and features buildings set around a lake. The campus also sits in the shadow of major American tourist attractions, including Disney theme parks.

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Jeffrey Beall // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Northern Oklahoma College

- Location: Tonkawa, OK
- Students: 1,882
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $30,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Northern Oklahoma College prides itself on expanding access to educational opportunities for people who might not otherwise have them. The university has been a leader in allowing for online education, making it possible for students in more-rural areas to obtain degrees from the school.

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beeboys // Shutterstock

#52. Holmes Community College

- Location: Goodman, MS
- Students: 3,705
- Students to faculty ratio: 19:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $28,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

Holmes Community College has been the starting point for numerous professional athletes. Major League Baseball player Roy Oswalt is an alum, as is National Football League player Walter Jones.

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Prussian_Fool // Wikimedia Commons

#51. Wallace Community College - Dothan

- Location: Dothan, AL
- Students: 1,929
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $24,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 82%

One could be forgiven for thinking Wallace Community College - Dothan was named for the famous governor of Alabama, George Wallace. But the college was actually named after his father, who had struggled to obtain an education himself, and wanted to make it easier for others.

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wistechcolleges // flickr

#50. Waukesha County Technical College

- Location: Pewaukee, WI
- Students: 1,565
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 89%

Students interested in all walks of life have reason to pursue degrees at Waukesha County Technical College. Alumni include fashion designer Keri Craig-Lee, legislator Paul Farrow, and mixed martial art fighter Ben Rothwell.

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MDGovpics // flickr

#49. Howard Community College

- Location: Columbia, MD
- Students: 3,418
- Students to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $38,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

High-tech students may want to take a close look at Howard Community College. The school recently completed a new building with state-of-the-art equipment to focus on teaching cybersecurity and 3D printing, among other in-demand areas for career development and growth.

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Amarillo College

- Location: Amarillo, TX
- Students: 2,977
- Students to faculty ratio: 21:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $32,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Amarillo College was one of the first colleges in the state of Texas to racially integrate. The state’s NAACP chapter argued that African-American residents paid taxes in the state, and therefore had the right to attend.

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Golffy // Shutterstock

#47. Southeastern Community College - Iowa

- Location: West Burlington, IA
- Students: 1,212
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $28,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

With just 1,212 students, Southeastern Community College - Iowa offers students the opportunity to forge a tight-knit community with their professors and each other, which many students say goes a long way to making campus feel like a home. Students rave about the upgraded lab facilities, as well.

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wistechcolleges // flickr

#46. Chippewa Valley Technical College

- Location: Eau Claire, WI
- Students: 2,129
- Students to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 92%

Chippewa Valley Technical College is extremely vocation-oriented. The school’s president has called the college vital to the local economy, stressing that trained graduates work across sectors and industries in the area.

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Sebastian Wahsner // Shutterstock

#45. Oakton Community College

- Location: Des Plaines, IL
- Students: 2,484
- Students to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $38,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 86%

Movie buffs have a particular reason to attend Oakton Community College. The beloved cult classic 1980s film “Sixteen Candles” was filmed on campus, albeit when campus was home to another school.

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#44. Montgomery College

- Location: Rockville, MD
- Students: 8,060
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $40,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

Montgomery College’s racial integration did not have an easy road. When the school was finally integrated in 1950, only half the enrolled class of new African-American students were able to attend, due to difficulties with transportation and tuition.

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Hrytsiv Oleksandr // Shutterstock

#43. Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Dickson

- Location: Dickson, TN
- Students: 565
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $26,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Dickson is one of the smallest schools in terms of enrollment in the top one hundred list, with just 565 students. Those who attend go so far as to say this intimate group makes the school feel “like family.

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JNix // Shutterstock

#42. Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture

- Location: Curtis, NE
- Students: 255
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $46,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 96%

Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture was originally a boarding school for rural high school students without a nearby institution. It wasn’t for another 50 years that the school transitioned into a community college with a focus on agriculture.

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sirtravelalot // Shutterstock

#41. Dakota County Technical College

- Location: Rosemount, MN
- Students: 1,383
- Students to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $38,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 91%

Students with a green thumb—or interest in obtaining one—may wish to consider Dakota County Technical College. The school has an ambitious 22-acre wildflower restoration program, and is exploring creating an arboretum.

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#40. Southeast Technical Institute

- Location: Sioux Falls, SD
- Students: 1,426
- Students to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $38,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 94%

A high school summer program at Southeast Technical Institute has convinced some students to stay on for college. Learners 2 Leaders offers select students the opportunity to take five college-level courses at no cost.

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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#39. Northwest Kansas Technical College

- Location: Goodland, KS
- Students: 409
- Students to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

Students who are interested in the future of water will find a natural home at Northwest Kansas Technical College. The school has a Water Technology Farm—a public-private partnership dedicated to innovation in water.

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Luke W. Nowakowski // U.S. Air Force

#38. Pickens Technical College

- Location: Aurora, CO
- Students: 943
- Students to faculty ratio: 22:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $33,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

Pickens Technical College stresses the excellence and expertise of their professors. They say that classes focus on hands-on learning, and that professors tend to be leaders in their fields, which makes them feel they are getting a top-caliber education.

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Song_about_summer // Shutterstock

#37. Mitchell Technical Institute

- Location: Mitchell, SD
- Students: 853
- Students to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $39,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 92%

Mitchell Technical Institute was the recipient of a one million dollar gift in 2014. The donation was made by a businessman in the state, and was the largest donation ever given to a technical college in South Dakota.

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wavebreakmedia // Shutterstock

#36. Collins Career Center

- Location: Chesapeake, OH
- Students: 331
- Students to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $33,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 84%

Collins Career Center focuses on career prep and technical skills. The school thrives by helping students prepare for a diverse range of careers, from roles in doctors' offices to pipeline construction.

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ALPA PROD // Shutterstock

#35. Gordon Cooper Technology Center

- Location: Shawnee, OK
- Students: 282
- Students to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $34,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

Gordon Cooper Technology Center has an illustrious namesake. Cooper was one of the seven astronauts on the first manned space mission by the United States—Project Mercury—so the school might be an especially good fit for any students interested in aerospace.

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#34. Lake Land College

- Location: Mattoon, IL
- Students: 2,311
- Students to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $29,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 89%

Lake Land College would be a natural fit for students interested in joining the military. Like many four-year colleges, the school has an ROTC division that enables students to prepare for the military while earning their degrees.

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#33. Tennessee Technology Center at Newbern

- Location: Newbern, TN
- Students: 260
- Students to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $27,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

Tennessee Technology Center at Newbern students say that their experience at the school has been transformative in many ways. Some say that attending the school is the first time they have ever enjoyed attending school at all, while others rave about the advancement in their technical skills in the course of just a year.

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#32. McFatter Technical College

- Location: Davie, FL
- Students: 1,043
- Students to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 85%

While many schools choose animals or recognizable characters as mascots, McFatter Technical College takes a slightly different tack. The school’s emblem of choice? A storm.

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ARLOU_ANDREI // Shutterstock

#31. College of Eastern Idaho

- Location: Idaho Falls, ID
- Students: 347
- Students to faculty ratio: 5:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $26,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 82%

While the College of Eastern Idaho ranks highly on the list, not all Idaho residents want the opportunity to attend. Residents of nearby Bingham County were given the opportunity to join the district, but defeated the proposal at the ballot box.

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#30. State Technical College of Missouri

- Location: Linn, MO
- Students: 1,041
- Students to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $39,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 95%

News of State Technical College of Missouri’s excellence seems to be spreading. The school registered a record enrollment in the 2018 school year, with both total enrollment and new students at a record high.

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#29. Minnesota State Community and Technical College

- Location: Fergus Falls, MN
- Students: 2,516
- Students to faculty ratio: 19:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Minnesota State Community and Technical College could be a particularly good option for students looking to take courses online. The school has more than 25 programs it offers online, including its eCampus, available to high schoolers.

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goodluz // Shutterstock

#28. Mountainland Technical College

- Location: Lehi, UT
- Students: 314
- Students to faculty ratio: 22:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: not available
- Employment rate two years after graduation: not available

Mountainland Technical College students who want the experience of studying at a traditional four-year college to have the opportunity to do so through their school. The school allows students to take classes at the nearby Utah Valley University.

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Babymestizo // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Southeast Community College Area

- Location: Lincoln, NE
- Students: 3,825
- Students to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $37,000
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 91%

Southeast Community College Area has a significant presence in Lincoln. There are three campuses, some dedicated to current students, others to alumni and continuing education, and others to the energy sphere. Another area is designed to support professional development for more health service workers.

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Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#26. Florida Panhandle Technical College

- Location: Chipley, FL
- Students: 339
- Students to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $24,000
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 78%

Students rave about the opportunity to accelerate their careers at Florida Panhandle Technical College. They say that although the workload is heavy, they are able to become nurses in just a year, which is not possible at many other programs.

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mirzavisoko // Shutterstock

#25. North Central Kansas Technical College

- Location: Beloit, KS
- Students: 519
- Students to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $39,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 92%

North Central Kansas Technical College is another of the smallest schools on the list, and students say they feel everyone pulls in the same direction to support each other. Students say that they feel they get out of the experience what they put in, and that there is a “family environment.”

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ProfReader // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Harper College

- Location: Palatine, IL
- Students: 4,882
- Students to faculty ratio: 19:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $37,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

As far as namesakes go, Harper College couldn’t have a more-apt one. The school was named for William Rainey Harper, a pioneer in the junior college movement in the United States, who was also the president of the University of Chicago.

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Mj-bird // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Kapi'olani Community College

- Location: Honolulu, HI
- Students: 2,606
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $37,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 85%

Kapi'olani Community College has another exceptional namesake. This one is a former Hawaiian chieftess and queen, who the college says strove for excellence in everything she did, which the college adopts as its mantra today.

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itsallablur // flickr

#22. Johnson County Community College

- Location: Overland Park, KS
- Students: 5,792
- Students to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

Art-lovers will have much to admire in Johnson County Community College. The school has a recently-opened museum of contemporary art, which has everything from Native American art to new media installations.

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Zereshk // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Northwest Vista College

- Location: San Antonio, TX
- Students: 4,114
- Students to faculty ratio: 29:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $34,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

Northwest Vista College has an interesting story behind its selection of a wildcat for a mascot. The wildcat was chosen after a cub was spotted on campus, leading to speculation that more of the creatures must be lurking about nearby.

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ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#20. Cloud County Community College

- Location: Concordia, KS
- Students: 814
- Students to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $30,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 91%

Architecture buffs will find much to admire at Cloud County Community College. Some of the campus buildings are designed as pods, meant to resemble the rolling hills in the distance.

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Western Technical College - Wisconsin

- Location: La Crosse, WI
- Students: 1,723
- Students to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $34,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Western Technical College - Wisconsin students have plenty of options when it comes to learning the skills they’ll need to advance their careers. They have several campus locations from which to choose, where they can take training courses in whatever it is they hope to study.

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DVS1mn // flickr

#18. Ridgewater College

- Location: Willmar, MN
- Students: 1,942
- Students to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $33,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 93%

Ridgewater College students are likely to meet a wide array of students on campus. The school focuses equally on the liberal arts, applied sciences, and vocational programs, offering students a range of options and the odds of making friends with others who are not exactly like them.

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Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Hutchinson Community College

- Location: Hutchinson, KS
- Students: 2,242
- Students to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $33,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Hutchinson Community College students have a special and unique place to go on campus to take a break from their studies or learn something new. Campus is home to the Cosmosphere—a museum dedicated to outer space and the cosmos.

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#16. Southwest Mississippi Community College

- Location: Summit, MS
- Students: 1,565
- Students to faculty ratio: 23:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $24,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 85%

Southwest Mississippi Community College began as an agricultural high school. A decade later, during the Great Depression, the school began integrating college courses into the curriculum, allowing it to transition into a community college.

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wistechcolleges // flickr

#15. Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

- Location: Fennimore, WI
- Students: 738
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $33,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College has expanded its offerings in recent years. While the focus of the school was once primarily agricultural, it is now more holistic, offering courses in health and science.

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

- Location: Green Bay, WI
- Students: 2,680
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $35,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 89%

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is a key player in the local economy. The school had a hand in training 20,083 employees either on site or in one of their classrooms in the 2010–2011 calendar year alone.

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WhisperToMe // Wikimedia Commons

#13. San Jacinto College

- Location: Pasadena, TX
- Students: 7,081
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $37,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

San Jacinto College was hit hard by Hurricane Ike in 2008. Despite the destruction wrought across campus, the community was able to rebuild at such a quick speed that students were back in class in just a few weeks.

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#12. Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology

- Location: Naples, FL
- Students: 358
- Students to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $26,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 79%

Cost is a concern for some Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology students, but many students say they feel supported in the process. Some say that the financial aid office really takes their time explaining everything as students go through the process.

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Amariotti // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Davis Applied Technology College

- Location: Kaysville, UT
- Students: 519
- Students to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $27,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 78%

Davis Applied Technology College students have a leg up on students of some other technical colleges. The college recognizes that funding equipment necessary for technological education can be expensive, and offers scholarships that help students buy what they need to do exactly that.

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#10. Lake Area Technical Institute

- Location: Watertown, SD
- Students: 1,517
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 95%

Lake Area Technical Institute was the first technical institute founded in the state of South Dakota. The school likes to emphasize that 81% of graduates go on to stay and work in the community.

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Jerry Portelli // Shutterstock

#9. Western Iowa Tech Community College

- Location: Sioux City, IA
- Students: 1,898
- Students to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $31,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Students interested in cooking might want to take a look at Western Iowa Tech Community College. The school added a culinary arts program in 2014–15, and graduated its first class the following year.

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l i g h t p o e t // Shutterstock

#8. Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute

- Location: Wooster, OH
- Students: 635
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $46,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 94%

Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute excels in farming studies and skills. A team from the university recently came in first in a Dairy Challenge competition, beating out eighteen other teams.

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Rammerjammer // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Marion Military Institute

- Location: Marion, AL
- Students: 442
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $42,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 92%

Students with a deep interest in the military have numerous reasons to consider Marion Military Institute. One such reason is the school’s history—it was the first military junior college ever established in the United States.

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Thomas R Machnitzki ([email protected]) // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Tennessee Technology Center at Jackson

- Location: Jackson, TN
- Students: 386
- Students to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $27,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 80%

Students at Tennessee Technology Center at Jackson tend to be thrilled with their experiences. They say the student body is quite diverse, despite the small size, and that students tend to be serious and focused on their careers.

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wavebreakmedia // Shutterstock

#5. University of South Carolina Sumter

- Location: Sumter, SC
- Students: 590
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $34,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Football fans have a big reason to attend University of South Carolina Sumter. The school was once a part of Clemson University, and a big rivalry football game between the schools (Clemson vs. the main University of South Carolina) is held each fall.

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Fox Valley Technical College

- Location: Appleton, WI
- Students: 2,190
- Students to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $36,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Fox Valley Technical College recently opened a state-of-the-art public safety training center. The center even has a Boeing 727 donated by FedEx.

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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#3. New Mexico Military Institute

- Location: Roswell, NM
- Students: 419
- Students to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $39,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 94%

Graduates of New Mexico Military Institute have gone on to illustrious careers in various sectors across society. Among these are cable television pioneer Bill Daniels and Paul Horgan, a Pulitzer Prize–winning author.

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ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#2. University of South Carolina - Lancaster

- Location: Lancaster, SC
- Students: 679
- Students to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: $44,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 95%

University of South Carolina - Lancaster has a unique offering for those looking to explore the history of the region's indigenous people. The Native American Studies Center looks at the history of South Carolina’s native people.

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Rah neezy // Wikimedia Commons

#1. CUNY Stella & Charles Guttman Community College

- Location: New York, NY
- Students: 903
- Students to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Earnings six years after graduation: not available
- Employment rate two years after graduation: not available

CUNY Stella & Charles Guttman Community College has an extremely unusual course that is required of all students and an homage to its location. “City Seminar” uses New York City as a classroom, teaching students about sustainability and immigration via outings in the city.

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