Northern Oklahoma College is the best community college in the state and ranks as No. 16 in the nation, according to a study by WalletHub.com.
In its “2016’s Best and Worst Community Colleges,” WalletHub.com analyzed 821 school with 12 factors, including cost of in-state tuition, student-to-faculty ratio, graduation rates and others. Tulsa Community College was rated as No. 511 overall but was No. 285 in terms of cost. TCC was No. 516 in the category of “education outcome” and No. 473 in terms of “career outcome.”
The ranks of the Oklahoma community colleges were:
|No. 16||Northern Oklahoma College|
|No. 276||Rose State College|
|No. 357||Murray State College|
|No. 506||OSU Institution of Technology (Okmulgee)|
|No. 580||College of the Muscogee Nation|
|No. 649||Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College|
|No. 681||Oklahoma City Community College|
|No. 722||Seminole State College|
In terms of the highest cost per student, College of the Muscogee Nation was No. 5 in the nation. Seminole State College ranked near the bottom (No. 817) in terms of the highest student-to-faculty ratio. And Northern Oklahoma College was No. 1 in the nation (in a tie) for the “highest return on educational investment.”
Northern Oklahoma College is located in Tonkawa with campuses in Enid and Stillwater. NOC purchased the former Phillips University campus in Enid in 1999.
The overall state rankings were:
|No. 1||South Dakota|
|No. 3||North Dakota|
“Long perceived as the bottom rung of the higher-education ladder, community colleges are often the subject of distasteful college humor,” according to the report. “And university elitists aren’t the only ones poking fun. Some of the very students who attend these so-called junior colleges joke about their own schools. Even the popular TV show Community has been criticized for perpetuating the stigma, its promoters reportedly lampooning community colleges as ‘halfway schools for losers.’”
These misconceptions are based on three myths: that cheap tuition means low education: that community college students are older, high school dropouts; and that poor graduation rates reflect academic weakness, according to the report.
“Across the board, community colleges are slowly stacking up against their university counterparts by offering better schedule flexibility, smaller class sizes and comparatively rigorous coursework, including bachelor’s degree programs in some states at a fraction of the university cost,” the report states.
First-time college entrants find those qualities most appealing — as do university students transferring to community colleges, an emerging trend that reverses the traditional path of ‘upgrading’ from a two-year to a four-year institution.”
In 22 states, community colleges have expanded to include four-year bachelor’s degree programs in high-demand fields. And soon the federal government also may be granting free rides to community college through the America’s College Promise Act of 2015 — or what has been called President Barack Obama’s “GI Bill.” If passed, the new legislation would allow up to nine million first-time enrollees to earn associates degrees every year at no charge.
Minnesota, Oregon and Tennessee are already blazing the trail of the college-for-all circuit, and at least another 10 states — including California, Illinois and Oklahoma — are considering it. The report says these initiatives from all levels of government are growing in popularity as public-college costs rise faster than private-college tuition rates and the need for post-secondary training in most jobs seeing steady growth through 2020.
Top 20 Community Colleges
- Helene Fuld College of Nursing (New York)
- Ilisagvik College (Alaska)
- Pamlico Community College (North Carolina)
- Cochise County Community College District (Arizona)
- State Technical College of Missouri (Missouri)
- Fashion Institute of Technology (New York)
- Rend Lake College (Illinois)
- Lake Area Technical Institute (South Dakota)
- Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (Nebraska)
- North Central Missouri College (Missouri)
- Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (Wisconsin)
- Mesalands Community College (New Mexico)
- Moorpark College (California)
- Pratt Community College (Kansas)
- Coastline Community College (California)
- Northern Oklahoma College
- Whatcom Community College (Washington)
- Barstow Community College (California)
- Manhattan Area Technical College (Kansas)
- Turtle Mountain Community College (North Dakota)
The states with the “best community college systems” are:
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire