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Best community college in every state

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Sodanie Chea // Flickr

Best community college in every state

Long gone are the days when education levels weren't inherently tied to income levels. Twenty-first-century teens as young as high school freshmen consider what colleges are available to them sooner rather than later to make a decent living in the long run.

Be it grades or money—many young adults automatically choose the more convenient access to community college to begin their undergraduate education. With 41% of all undergrads in a two-year school, according to the American Association of Community Colleges, Stacker looked to Niche to find out the top community colleges in every state across the country.

Considering the cost and quality indicators of 700 community colleges, WalletHub ranked Arkansas State University's two-year public school Mountain Home as the "Best Community College in the Nation." At the same time, the U.S. Department of Education ranked two-year schools by the highest salaries earned upon graduation. They too gave the Land of Opportunity State the top rating by naming Arkansas State University's two-year college in Beebe the best. The bottom line is this: When it comes down to education and numbers, a community college's annual tuition and fees of $3,660 beat out a four-year university's tuition and fees of $10,230 per year.

In Stacker's research, Davis Technical College tuition was estimated using their net price calculator, Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton's tuition was estimated using their net price calculator, and Moore Norman Technology Center tuition was estimated using their net price calculator.

Similar but different, just like each state across the country, the best community colleges in the U.S. offer a great reason to consider a two-year education before moving on to a four-year school. If considering a continued education, there is no better time than now to start studying, and these community colleges are a great place to start.

Read on to find out the best community colleges in every state.

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Photo courtesy of Marion Military Institute

Alabama: Marion Military Institute

- Location: Marion, AL
- Students: 442
- Student to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Acceptance rate: 56%
- In-state tuition: $9,418
- Out-of-state tuition: $15,418
- Six year median earnings: $42,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 92%

Founded in 1842 and listed on the Alabama National Register of Historic Places, Marion Military Institute is the nation's oldest military junior college. The school, which has a National Junior College Athletic Association certification, mandates fitness programs as a part of the student curriculum to instill regimen and rigor. MMI's Service Academy Program is the only one in the country that offers availability to all five U.S. Service Academies, including West Point. The institute offers $2 million in scholarships annually.

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Photo courtesy of AVTEC

Alaska: AVTEC—Alaska's Institute of Technology

- Location: Seward, AK
- Students: 178
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: data not available
- Out-of-state tuition: data not available
- Six year median earnings: $35,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

Alaska's Institute of Technology (AVTEC) boasts a 90% employment placement within the first year of graduation, officially making the school motto "A career in less than a year!" The school is a division of the Department of Labor and Workforce Housing and reports to the Commissioner of Labor. The recommended and approved curriculum is "both relevant and valued by employers in Alaska," according to the school website. With housing onsite, students can choose a dormitory setting or from a variety of housing style units, some specifically for those with a spouse or children.

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Canva

Arizona: GateWay Community College—Phoenix

- Location: Phoenix, AZ
- Students: 1,217
- Student to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $2,094
- Out-of-state tuition: $7,878
- Six year median earnings: $34,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 82%

Arizona’s GateWay Community College has a reputation for being laser-focused on job placement. Job placement fairs are held on campus, and have focused on health care, which is a thriving industry in the region. Students have said they are happy with the attention paid by professors, and the sense of community the school fosters, even in an intensive job prep environment.

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Courtesy of University of Arkansas Community College—Morrilton

Arkansas: University of Arkansas Community College—Morrilton

- Location: Morrilton, AR
- Students: 1,115
- Student to faculty ratio: 21:1
- Acceptance rate: 75%
- In-state tuition: $3,308
- Out-of-state tuition: $4,004
- Six year median earnings: $27,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 84%

The University of Arkansas Community College—Morrilton is somewhat unusual for a community college because it has less than 100% acceptance rate. The 75% rate keeps the size of the college low and allows for a high degree of personalized instruction. Students are particularly enthused by the school’s high level of personalized attention, and how “above and beyond” they say the professors go to make sure they succeed. Students enjoy the cost of the school, which they feel is an excellent value.

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Sodanie Chea // Flickr

California: Cypress College

- Location: Cypress, CA
- Students: 5,260
- Student to faculty ratio: 24:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $1,140
- Out-of-state tuition: $6,154
- Six year median earnings: $35,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

Of particular note at Cypress College is the degree to which school administrators beyond the professors collaborate with students to help them succeed. Many students cite everything from the school’s Learning Center and health center to the parking administration as all working together to create an environment that makes it easy to set up for and achieve success.

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Photo courtesy of Pickens Technical College

Colorado: Pickens Technical College

- Location: Aurora, CO
- Students: 943
- Student to faculty ratio: 22:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,510
- Out-of-state tuition: $7,990
- Six year median earnings: $33,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

Pickens Technical College offers 50 certificate programs in eight different areas including Arts Media and Communication, Engineering and Technology, Health, and Human Services. In October 2018, it was one of 30 Colorado colleges to offer free application, dismissing fees up to $100 to encourage further education. The school also received attention in 2018 when it won the national Weld it Forward competition for building paralyzed student Noah Williams a wheelchair ramp for his home. “By winning, it was good to feel like I gave something back to the people who helped me out,” William said to CBS.

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Photo courtesy of Manchester Community College

Connecticut: Manchester Community College—Connecticut

- Location: Manchester, CT
- Students: 1,969
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,276
- Out-of-state tuition: $12,828
- Six year median earnings: $34,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

As Connecticut's largest community college, the school named after its location sits on 160 acres of land and is home to the Great Path Academy, a middle college program for academically advanced high school students. With more than 40 disciplines for both an associate in arts or science degree, Manchester Community offers the “Transfer Ticket” pathway, which promises no credit loss when transferring to any of the state's four universities or charter college. The school also offers two-year equivalent honor societies including Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Mu Gamma.

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Doug Kerr // Flickr

Delaware: Delaware Technical Community College—Owens

- Location: Georgetown, DE
- Students: 1,803
- Student to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $3,530
- Out-of-state tuition: $8,282
- Six year median earnings: $30,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

Delaware Technical Community College is the only community college in the state. Some of its primary claims to fame include it being the teaching alma mater of the former Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, and a cameo in a famous film. In the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “Strangers on a Train,” a “Delaware Tech” math professor is too drunk to remember talking to a tennis star about differentials on a train, and is therefore unavailable to provide an alibi for a murder.

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Canva

Florida: Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology

- Location: Naples, FL
- Students: 358
- Student to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: data not available
- Out-of-state tuition: data not available
- Six year median earnings: $26,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 79%

Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology is unusually small for a community college, with just 358 students. Students are particularly enthusiastic about the help they get from the school navigating the financial aid process. Most students, however, report paying for the school themselves, with an average of just $1,000, making it an excellent value. The school also offers some classes online, which is helpful for students who may need to work during the day to pay their way through school.

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Michael Rivera // Wikimedia Commons

Georgia: South Georgia Technical College

- Location: Americus, GA
- Students: 941
- Student to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $2,136
- Out-of-state tuition: $4,930
- Six year median earnings: $23,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

South Georgia Technical College was an air force base earlier in the century and has an outsize role in aviation history. The famous aviator Charles Lindbergh purchased his first plane from what they then called “Souther Field.” Many students still study aviation at the school, along with other technical professions like automotive and aviation. Students today give the school high marks for its considerably involved professors, who help students with everything from practical and academic concepts to job placement.

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Mj-bird // Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii: Kapi'olani Community College

- Location: Honolulu, HI
- Students: 2,606
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $3,084
- Out-of-state tuition: $8,220
- Six year median earnings: $37,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 85%

As a branch of the state university system, the Honolulu two-year school promotes a Student Success Pathway based on six principles: connect, prepare, engage, learn, achieve, and thrive. The school has begun hosting transfer days with the state university system to encourage community college students to further their education. Through an auto-admission process, Kapi'olani Community College students can directly transfer to University of Hawaii Manoa, Hilo, West O'ahu. From the two-year school, students can also move into the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, which offers associate degrees and certificates in baking, and culinary and pastry arts.

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Ritu Manoj Jethani // Shutterstock

Idaho: College of Eastern Idaho

- Location: Idaho Falls, ID
- Students: 347
- Student to faculty ratio: 5:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $2,494
- Out-of-state tuition: $9,056
- Six year median earnings: $26,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 82%

The College of Eastern Idaho has a strong focus of cybersecurity, that some students call “the best cybersecurity program west of the Mississippi.” Students also give high marks to the administrators, who they say truly want to help students excel, and the school has a student-teacher ratio (15-to-1) half of the state average (31-to-1) in community colleges.

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Photo courtesy of Harper College

Illinois: Harper College

- Location: Palatine, IL
- Students: 4,882
- Student to faculty ratio: 19:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $9,666
- Out-of-state tuition: $11,478
- Six year median earnings: $37,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

The University Center at Harper College has made it possible for students to earn a full four-year degree from the universities of DePaul, Northern Illinois, or Roosevelt on the two-year school campus in Chicago's northwest suburb. Named after the first president of the University of Chicago Dr. William Rainey Harper, the school's most popular majors include Liberal Arts and Humanities, Nursing Assistant, and Business, according to Niche, which rates the school as “an above-average public college. 39% of students who graduate from Harper go onto earn a $28,500 starting salary.

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tpsdave // Wikimedia Commons

Indiana: Ivy Tech Community College—Downtown Indianapolis

- Location: Indianapolis, IN
- Students: 21,180
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,255
- Out-of-state tuition: $8,211
- Six year median earnings: $30,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

Ivy Tech Community College of Downtown Indianapolis is a large community college, with an enrollment of over 20,000. That doesn’t stop students from saying that the administration at the school creates a seamless experience for students that encourages them to succeed, and that professors pay personal attention in classes that feel small and personalized to students. Students are enthusiastic about using the school as a springboard for transfer to a four-year college and say that the school supports them every bit as much as it would for a student planning to use Ivy Tech as their sole degree.

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Bboy100 // Wikimedia Commons

Iowa: Western Iowa Tech Community College

- Location: Sioux City, IA
- Students: 1,898
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,200
- Out-of-state tuition: $4,224
- Six year median earnings: $31,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Western Iowa Tech Community College focuses on a comprehensive student experience that extends beyond academics and job placement, which is not always a given for a community college. A new student life and wellness center cost $5.5 million to construct, and features a full-size basketball court, volleyball court, three-lane jogging track, and a gym with cardio equipment, pilates classes, and self-defense. None of this detracts from academics, which have a whopping 90% success rate of placing graduates in jobs.

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Ichabod // Wikipedia

Kansas: Hutchinson Community College

- Location: Hutchinson, KS
- Students: 2,242
- Student to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $3,392
- Out-of-state tuition: $4,384
- Six year median earnings: $33,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

A major benefit to Hutchinson Community College is the school’s transfer agreements with every Kansas Regents university and college, along with over 50 degree programs. Students are pleased with the option to take courses online and attention they receive from professors who go above and beyond to help them understand difficult concepts. Students say they feel richly prepared for four-year colleges—should they transfer—or employment, should that be their choice.

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OPMaster // Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky: Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical Center

- Location: Bowling Green, KY
- Students: 1,770
- Student to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,080
- Out-of-state tuition: $13,800
- Six year median earnings: $30,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 85%

Even students who had attended larger four-year institutions have said that they preferred professors at Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical Center. Students also rave about the attention paid by professors, and how well-prepared they felt for life outside of the college’s walls after finishing their studies. The school also has an impressive employment rate of 85% two years after graduation.

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CTtcg // Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana: Sowela Technical Community College

- Location: Lake Charles, LA
- Students: 1,694
- Student to faculty ratio: 22:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,185
- Out-of-state tuition: $7,612
- Six year median earnings: $34,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 88%

Given a reasonable rate of return by WalletHub, Sowela Technical Community College campus, located on a former Air Force base, received the Commission on Occupational Education certification in 1971 and was accredited with technical community college status in 2003. However, Hurricane Rita destroyed some of the Lake Charles campuses in 2005, causing damage worth millions. But like their “fighting tigers” mascot, Sowela students remain resilient and continue to win national competitions including the 2019 SkillsUSA. Students took home gold and silver medals in Commercial Baking, Crime Scene Investigation, and Television/Video Production.

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Jimmy Emerson, DVM // Flickr

Maine: Northern Maine Community College

- Location: Presque Isle, ME
- Students: 421
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $3,681
- Out-of-state tuition: $6,441
- Six year median earnings: $30,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 84%

Northern Maine Community College is an exceptionally small community college, with only 421 students. The school is known for the high caliber of its instructors, with students citing the fact that many of them have doctorate degrees, and might as well be teaching at four-year institutions.

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Caseyjonz // Wikimedia Commons

Maryland: Montgomery College

- Location: Rockville, MD
- Students: 8,060
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $9,618
- Out-of-state tuition: $13,110
- Six year median earnings: $40,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

One of the most appealing new features of Montgomery College is its Life Sciences Park. The complex was developed in 2011 and features a Bioscience Education Center with wet labs, a detached greenhouse complex, and a meeting and conference center. Such amenities are atypical for community colleges, which is just one benefit that Montgomery College offers its students.

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Wikimedia Commons

Massachusetts: Greenfield Community College

- Location: Greenfield, MA
- Students: 564
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $5,450
- Out-of-state tuition: $11,570
- Six year median earnings: $32,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 80%

In Pioneer Valley near the Berkshire Mountains foothills, Greenfield Community College works closely with the University of Massachusetts for students who wish to transfer to a four-year school. In 2018, 290 certificates and awards were handed off to 267 graduates made up of 38% males and 62% females. The school's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program is part of a $20 million unique project awarded to the state's 15 two-year colleges. Greenfield Community College made news in 2018 when it went into lockdown from a campus threat.

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Photo courtesy of North Central Michigan College

Michigan: North Central Michigan College

- Location: Petoskey, MI
- Students: 746
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $6,202
- Out-of-state tuition: $7,882
- Six year median earnings: $26,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 85%

23 associate degrees and 39 certificate programs are available at North Central Michigan College. College affordability for students eligible for financial assistance is high at the school, which awarded $5,814,575 in aid to 80% of students and $617,904 in scholarships in the 2017–2018 school year. Along with the main campus in Petoskey, additional learning sites include Cheboygan and Gaylord. Like student aid, the school's economic impact is strong, according to the school website, reporting the school's training and activity generated 1,470 jobs in a four-county district in 2015. “Every North Central job supports 3.2 additional jobs in the four-county region,” reports the school.

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Ridgewater College // Wikipedia

Minnesota: Ridgewater College

- Location: Willmar, MN
- Students: 1,942
- Student to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $5,759
- Out-of-state tuition: $5,759
- Six year median earnings: $33,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 93%

Ridgewater College distinguishes itself in its preparation for the fields students will enter after graduating. The very high employment rate of 93% two years after graduation match what students have to say about the quality of education, with students stating that their professors teach material that reflects the real world on-the-job experiences they will have to an unusual degree.

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Jimmy Emerson, DVM // Flickr

Mississippi: Southwest Mississippi Community College

- Location: Summit, MS
- Students: 1,565
- Student to faculty ratio: 23:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $3,200
- Out-of-state tuition: $5,900
- Six year median earnings: $24,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 85%

Southwest Mississippi Community College has an extremely diverse roster of notable alumni. Among these are a politician, the former Mississippi state legislator David Green, an athlete, former Miami Dolphins player Billy Milner, and the longtime local weatherman, Woodie Assaf. Students cite the school as having plenty of school spirit, which is not always the case in community colleges, and laud the school for the availability of their professors.

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

Missouri: State Technical College of Missouri

- Location: Linn, MO
- Students: 1,041
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $6,060
- Out-of-state tuition: $11,040
- Six year median earnings: $39,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 95%

Forbes listed the State Technical College of Missouri as one of the top 25 two-year trade schools in 2018 based on several factors including post-graduate success, affordability, student experience, completion success. The 360-acre Linn campus, which has student housing, also offers lifetime career services for alumni. “Since 1995, 97% of State Tech graduates find gainful employment or continue their education within six months of graduation,” according to the school website, adding 98% of students are Missourians.

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David Schott // flickr

Montana: Miles Community College

- Location: Miles City, MT
- Students: 281
- Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $5,415
- Out-of-state tuition: $8,595
- Six year median earnings: $36,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 91%

Originally called Custer County Junior College, when it started in a few public high school classrooms in 1939, Miles Community College has come along way since. In 2003, the college completed a $2.4 million dormitory for the campus housing complex and in 2018 adopted an inclusion statement promising the college is “committed to building a social and educational environment free of harassment, prejudice, and injustice.” Of the 281 full-time students enrolled at the Miles City campus, 25% are 25 years or older, 38% receive Pell Grant funding, and 33% are varsity athletes.

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Photo courtesy of Southeast Community College Area

Nebraska: Southeast Community College Area

- Location: Lincoln, NE
- Students: 3,825
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $3,570
- Out-of-state tuition: $4,182
- Six year median earnings: $37,000
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 91%

Southeast Community College's website homepage counts down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the Fall 2019 semester begins in the Cornhusker State. With three main campuses in Lincoln, Beatrice, and Milford, the college educates almost 4,000 annually in over 50 programs of study. “During WWII, more than 1,000 war production workers and specialized technicians, both men and women, were trained at the Nebraska State Trade School, now the Milford Campus,” according to the school website. A Niche poll shows that six years after graduating from Southeast Community College Area, an alumni's median wage is $36,100 annually.

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Truckee Meadows Community College // Flickr

Nevada: Truckee Meadows Community College

- Location: Reno, NV
- Students: 2,816
- Student to faculty ratio: 19:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $3,075
- Out-of-state tuition: $9,853
- Six year median earnings: $33,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

Up to 50 fields of study, 160 degrees and certificates, and a respected university-transfer program at Truckee Meadows make it popular among students who want to further their education. In 2015, the school made it possible to attain either a bachelor of applied science in either Emergency Management and Homeland Security or Logistical Operations Management on the Reno campus. The college, established in 1971, has four core themes including student success, academic excellence, access to lifelong learning, and stewardship of resources.

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John Phelan // Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire: Manchester Community College

- Location: Manchester, NH
- Students: 770
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $7,232
- Out-of-state tuition: $15,808
- Six year median earnings: $36,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Since Manchester Community College began as a returning trade school for World War II veterans in 1945, the school has gained many articulation agreements with four-year universities. Top transfer colleges include Southern New Hampshire University, Keene State College, Plymouth State University, and Granite State College. Arts, Humanities & Communication, Business, and Health Sciences & Services are the top three programs of study for students, 97% of which are in-state and from sending Manchester High Schools. The average age of students, ranging from 17 to 60, is 27 years.

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Zeete // Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey: Raritan Valley Community College

- Location: Branchburg, NJ
- Students: 3,371
- Student to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,852
- Out-of-state tuition: $6,052
- Six year median earnings: $37,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Since establishment under green and gold colors in 1969 and commencing 75 graduates the following year, Raritan Valley Community College touts being Jersey's top two-year. Significant additions to the campus since have been the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership, and Social Justice. In 2017, the Branchburg campus added a new Workforce Training Center. Niche student reviews in 2018 report Raritan Valley Community College as “a great choice for anyone looking to further their education,” and “a wonderful choice to begin their education.”

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Graphmaster // Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico: New Mexico Military Institute

- Location: Roswell, NM
- Students: 419
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 42%
- In-state tuition: $4,318
- Out-of-state tuition: $13,301
- Six year median earnings: $39,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 94%

Unlike most two-year schools, New Mexico Military Institute, which enrolls junior level and high school cadets, is governed by the state and governor. Founded in 1891 and nick-named “The West Point of the West,” the school is made up of neo-Gothic style buildings and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Under the motto, “Duty, Honor, Achievement,” a long list of alumni, including actor Owen Wilson, founder of famous hotel chain Conrad Hilton, and former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach, graduated from the military institute.

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Rah neezy // Wikipedia

New York: CUNY Stella & Charles Guttman Community College

- Location: New York, NY
- Students: 903
- Student to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $5,194
- Out-of-state tuition: $8,074
- Six year median earnings: data not available
- Employment rate two years after graduation: data not available

CUNY Stella & Charles Guttman Community College is located in the heart of New York City, right in Manhattan, and students say their experiences at the college exceed even high expectations heading in. One perk students love? The unlimited Metro card the school provides to help them take advantage of everything the city has to offer.

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina: Central Carolina Community College

- Location: Sanford, NC
- Students: 1,878
- Student to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $2,544
- Out-of-state tuition: $8,688
- Six year median earnings: $25,000
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 81%

Among other reasons Central Carolina Community College students find their school so excellent is its size. Students describe it as large enough to provide them with an array of others with whom to grow, learn, and network, but not so large that they feel they are drowning in a sea of other students.

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Marketingcats // Wikimedia Commons

North Dakota: North Dakota State College of Science

- Location: Wahpeton, ND
- Students: 1,707
- Student to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,880
- Out-of-state tuition: $11,870
- Six year median earnings: $43,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 93%

As part of the North Dakota University System, the Wahpeton and Fargo campus instructed 2,957 students, 55.2% men and 44.8% women in more than 80 academic subjects during the Fall of 2018. The school reports providing more than $17.5 million in financial aid to 94% of students, and 46.4% of full-time students reside on the campus in Wahpeton. The school, with over 30 clubs and organizations, has four athletic divisions including men and women's basketball, women's volleyball, men's football, and women's basketball.

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Ohio State University

Ohio: Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute

- Location: Wooster, OH
- Students: 635
- Student to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $7,203
- Out-of-state tuition: $26,307
- Six year median earnings: $46,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 94%

Representing one of Ohio State University's six campuses, Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) offers rolling admissions for students interested in gaining an associate's degree within OSU's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The school is the largest of its kind in the United States, with 700 enrolled students.

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kennethaw88 // Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma: Gordon Cooper Technology Center

- Location: Shawnee, OK
- Students: 282
- Student to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: data not available
- Out-of-state tuition: data not available
- Six year median earnings: $34,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

Gary Cooper Technology Center gets high marks from students on several metrics. Among these are the small student body size, of just 282 students, which is highly unusual for a community college. The school is particularly noteworthy for its focus on skilled labor, with many students specializing in automotive repair and aircraft maintenance.

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Canva

Oregon: Treasure Valley Community College

- Location: Ontario, OR
- Students: 851
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $5,445
- Out-of-state tuition: $5,895
- Six year median earnings: $27,200
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

Treasure Valley Community College gives its students many options for a successful experience. These include the option to take courses online via video tutorials, along with advice on placement testing, advising, and career planning. A robust student life rounds out the experience, with a student government and entertainment center. It is also one of the few community colleges in the country that offers residential housing, for which it has as an option for interested students.

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Randolph Carney // Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania: Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

- Location: Lancaster, PA
- Students: 1,135
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 89%
- In-state tuition: $8,000
- Out-of-state tuition: $8,000
- Six year median earnings: $45,600
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 92%

A century since being founded in 1905, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, offers up to 21 programs to approximately 1,200 students under the “Prepare for Work. Prepare for Life,” motto. “Approximately 40% of students pay no tuition and receive room and board without cost,” according to the college website. Five residence halls on the 32.5-acre campus near downtown Lancaster enable students to live on site. However, the school only permits students who have lived in Pennsylvania for more than a year to attend the two-year school.

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Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island: Community College of Rhode Island

- Location: Warwick, RI
- Students: 5,100
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,564
- Out-of-state tuition: $12,156
- Six year median earnings: $30,500
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

If Gov. Gina M. Raimondo has her way, Rhode Islanders attending the two-year school will be doing so tuition-free. But for now, the $4,564 in-state tuition remains. As the largest two-year school in New England, the Community College of Rhode Island has four campuses including Warwick. Newport, Providence, and Lincoln are the other locations students have been studying from since the college's humble beginnings in 1964 with 325 students. The school last reported an enrollment of almost 18,000 students.

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Wikimedia Commons

South Carolina: University of South Carolina—Lancaster

- Location: Lancaster, SC
- Students: 679
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 65%
- In-state tuition: $6,948
- Out-of-state tuition: $17,328
- Six year median earnings: $44,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 95%

Attaining either an associate or a baccalaureate degree is possible at the University of South Carolina in Lancaster. As a member of TriO, a U.S. Department of Education funded program for first-generation or low-income high school or college students, the school offers a summer grant scholarship. Additionally, as a part of the University of South Carolina system, students can also attend Palmetto College, the online bachelor's program of the school system that offers up to 13 fields of study.

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Bp0 // Wikimedia Commons

South Dakota: Lake Area Technical Institute

- Location: Watertown, SD
- Students: 1,517
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $2,736
- Out-of-state tuition: $2,736
- Six year median earnings: $36,900
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 95%

Lake Area Technical Institute is the recipient of the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The coveted $1 million prize is only offered bi-annually and given to two-year schools that have prominent certificate and degree conclusion, student learning, employment and earnings, and minority and low-income student access. Lake Area Technical Institute has one of the highest graduation/transfer rates in the country at 74%, according to the school website, adding “on average, LATI graduates entering the workforce earn 27% more than other new hires in its region.”

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Garyharvey // Wikimedia Commons

Tennessee: Tennessee Technology Center at Jackson

- Location: Jackson, TN
- Students: 386
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: data not available
- Out-of-state tuition: data not available
- Six year median earnings: $27,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 80%

Tennessee Technology Center at Jackson is small for a community college. The students note that an aura of professionalism pervades the campus, with students of all ages—from those just out of high school to older adults going back to learn new skills to further their careers, taking the work and the experience seriously. Students are also enthusiastic about self-pacing, which they say allows them to advance as quickly as their skills allow.

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WhisperToMe // Wikimedia Commons

Texas: San Jacinto College

- Location: Pasadena, TX
- Students: 7,081
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $2,580
- Out-of-state tuition: $4,140
- Six year median earnings: $37,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 87%

San Jacinto College has been ranked as one of the top-10 community colleges in the country. The award is focused on schools that help low-income and minority students advance their educations and careers, and San Jacinto was noted for their ability to do so. The award also recognized the college for its advising program, which they determined made a critical difference in helping many students graduate.

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Amariotti // Wikimedia Commons

Utah: Davis Applied Technology College

- Location: Kaysville, UT
- Students: 519
- Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: data not available
- Out-of-state tuition: data not available
- Six year median earnings: $27,700
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 78%

Davis Applied Technology College has articulation agreements for credit equivalency with Weber and Utah State Universities. The school is one of eight in the Utah System of Technical Colleges and accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education. Davis Applied Technology College offers certificates in six schools including business and technology, health professions, construction, manufacturing, service professions, and transportation. The school abides by the “We Change Lives,” philosophy, according to the college website.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

Vermont: Community College of Vermont

- Location: Montpelier, VT
- Students: 811
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $6,414
- Out-of-state tuition: $6,624
- Six year median earnings: $28,800
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 85%

Though most of the colleges listed as "above average" by Niche and have received at least a B grade, the Community College of Vermont did not. Graded as a C school, the Montpelier location's three most popular majors are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Business, and Medical Assistant. The school has a low graduation rate of 30% for attending students. Niche also reports the Community College of Vermont alumni average a starting salary of $24,200.

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Photo courtesy of Piedmont Virginia Community College

Virginia: Piedmont Virginia Community College

- Location: Charlottesville, VA
- Students: 1,257
- Student to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,678
- Out-of-state tuition: $10,606
- Six year median earnings: $31,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 89%

Piedmont Virginia Community College, one of 23 in the Old Dominion State, offers a plethora of programs including one-year certificates, associate degrees, continuing education, and workforce training. Since 1972, approximately 213,000 students have been educated at the two-year school, according to the college website, adding every year more than 500 students transfer to a four-year school, with 2,400 moving onto to the University of Virginia.

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Robert Ashworth // flickr

Washington: Walla Walla Community College

- Location: Walla Walla, WA
- Students: 2,367
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,455
- Out-of-state tuition: $5,955
- Six year median earnings: $34,300
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 82%

Walla Walla Community College is the 2013 co-winner for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence along with Santa Barbara City College. To win the elite prize of $1 million Walla Walla and Santa Barbara City had to go through a rigorous, three-round selection process competing with 1,000 other community colleges. With over 9,000 students, Walla Walla has three locations in southeastern Washington, one of which is at the Washington State Penitentiary.

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Governor Earl Ray Tomblin // Flickr

West Virginia: Pierpont Community & Technical College

- Location: Fairmont, WV
- Students: 1,033
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,918
- Out-of-state tuition: $11,684
- Six year median earnings: data not available
- Employment rate two years after graduation: data not available

Students study a wide range of topics at Pierpont Community & Technical College, giving it a diverse feel that many community colleges more narrowly focused on specific interests do not. The top four concentrations include business, criminal justice, food management, and early childhood. A technical center provides students with skills specifically focused on moving West Virginia’s economy into the future.

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Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin: Fox Valley Technical College

- Location: Appleton, WI
- Students: 2,190
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $4,497
- Out-of-state tuition: $6,480
- Six year median earnings: $36,100
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 90%

Fox Valley Technical College serves almost 50,000 people yearly, “more than any other technical college in Wisconsin,” according to the school website, noting three public referendums in 1968, 1998 and 2012 were held for the school to grow. The school has over 240 associate degree and technical diplomas and 16 apprenticeships available for study. The school reports that 94% of alumni secure employment within the first six months of graduation.

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Chevsapher // Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming: Central Wyoming College

- Location: Riverton, WY
- Students: 616
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 100%
- In-state tuition: $3,024
- Out-of-state tuition: $7,536
- Six year median earnings: $28,400
- Employment rate two years after graduation: 83%

Beyond its small size and small student-to-faculty ratio, Central Wyoming College is also known as a creative hub in the region. A visual and performing arts center on campus draws people from all over the region to a diverse lineup of events and performances, and the college is the broadcast home of PBS in the state.

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