The biggest educator of college students in the United States is community colleges. In fact, 41 percent of all U.S. undergraduates study at a community college.
WalletHub ranked over 700 schools from the American Association of Community Colleges to find the 10 best institutions. The schools were evaluated on cost, educational outcome and career outcome. The top-ranking schools are mostly in rural locations, enroll small student bodies and have low student-to-teacher ratios.
Over half of the top 10 community colleges on Wallethub's list serve large Native American populations. Leech Lake Tribal College tops the list as the best community college and 88 percent of the study body identifies as Native American.
Read on to see the 10 best community college in the country:
Watertown, South Dakota
Total enrollment: 1,559
Tucumcari, New Mexico
Total enrollment: 697
Total enrollment: 4,909
Total enrollment: 257
Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Harlem, Montana
Total enrollment: 139
Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana
Total enrollment: 450
New York City, New York
Total enrollment: 995
Total enrollment: 4,144
Cochise County, Arizona
Total enrollment: 15,000
Cass Lake, Minnesota
Total enrollment: 348
Community colleges educate some of the most under-served populations in the country. According to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), 56 percent of Native American college students, 53 percent of Black college students and 52 percent of Hispanic college students attend a community college.
As the cost of college continues to rise, initiatives for free community college have gained momentum across the country. In February, San Francisco became the first American city to offer free community college and in June, Tennessee became the first state to offer free community college.
Studies have found that investments in community college programs have positive effects on students and communities. Researchers from Economic Modeling Specialists International found that in 2012 alone, community colleges generated $806 billion in added income for the U.S. economy.
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