Oklahoma’s community colleges get a low national rank

In a study of the value of education at 670 community colleges, Oklahoma had no schools in the top 310 and the state was not ranked in the Top 20 in terms of a community college system. Wallethub.com looked at the cost of tuition, student-to-faculty ratios and 15 other factors to come up with a comprehensive list.

Tulsa Community College, the largest community college in the state, is No. 503 but ranks as No. 141 in cost and financing.

Northern Oklahoma College (in Tonkawa, Stillwater and Enid) has the highest ranking in the state at No. 311 overall (No. 177 in costs and financing). Seminole State College comes in at No. 379 overall and No. 485 in costs. Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee is No. 449 and No. 562 in costs. Redlands Community College (in El Reno) is No. 451 overall but No. 314 in financing and costs. Connors State College (in Warner) is No. 663 overall and No. 476 in terms of cost and financing.

According to the report, “Community-college graduates are out-earning bachelor’s degree holders. Indeed, the ‘junior colleges, as they’re sometimes referred to, are finally garnering the respect they deserve, proving they’re more than just ‘halfway schools for losers.’”

The criticisms are that a cheaper tuition rate means a subpar education. The average student age at community colleges is 28 and there is a perception that those either “flunked out of high school” or “failed admission standards at ‘real universities,’” according to the report. But schedule flexibility, rigorous coursework and smaller class sizes supply the majority of their appeal to first-time college entrants as well as to university students choosing to transfer to community colleges.

Top 20 Community Colleges

  1. North Florida Community College (Florida)
  2. Diné College (Arizona)
  3. Chipola College (Florida)
  4. Northwest College (Wyoming)
  5. Taft College (California)
  6. Itawamba Community College (Mississippi)
  7. Southwestern Community College (North Carolina)
  8. Guttman Community College (New York)
  9. Patrick Henry Community College (Virginia)
  10. Southwest Virginia Community College (Virginia)
  11. Porterville College (California)
  12. Madisonville Community College (Kentucky)
  13. Broward College (Florida)
  14. Carolinas College of Health Sciences (North Carolina)
  15. Southwest Mississippi Community College (Mississippi)
  16. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (Wisconsin)
  17. Florida Gateway College
  18. Columbia College (California)
  19. Chaffey College (California)
  20. Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas

States with the Best Community College Systems

  1. Mississippi
  2. North Dakota
  3. Wyoming
  4. Washington
  5. Florida
  6. Arkansas
  7. Nevada
  8. Montana
  9. Wisconsin
  10. California
  11. North Carolina
  12. Arizona
  13. Nebraska
  14. Hawaii
  15. New Mexico
  16. Georgia
  17. Kansas
  18. Kentucky
  19. Virginia
  20. Minnesota