As high school students decide what they want to do after graduation — head straight to the workforce or continue their education — many students are opting for the more affordable two-year community college option as an accessible path forward to the future of their dreams.
During the 2016 to 2017 academic year, tuition and fees for full-time, in-state enrollment at a public two-year college averaged $1,760 per semester versus $4,825 at a public four-year institution and $16,740 at a four-year private school. Based on those rates, students who earn their general-education credits at a community college before transferring to an in-state public four-year university would save $12,260 over two years on tuition and fees alone.
Nevertheless, according to a new study by personal finance website WalletHub, Alabama is among the worst states in the nation to get a two-year degree when it comes to getting the best education at the cheapest rate.
The study, 2017’s States with the Best & Worst Community-College Systems, named Alabama as the 36th lowest-ranked community college system in the country out of 44 states.
To determine where students can receive the best education at the lowest price, WalletHub’s analysts compared more than 700 community colleges across 14 key indicators of cost and quality.
Here’s a look at how some of Alabama’s community colleges rank among the 728 ranked community colleges across the country:
- Northeast Alabama Community College: 138
- H Councill Trenholm State Technical College: 271
- George C Wallace State Community College-Dothan: 294
- George C Wallace State Community College-Selma: 340
- Jefferson Davis Community College: 362
- George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville: 377
- Jefferson State Community College: 379
- Northwest-Shoals Community College: 403
- Central Alabama Community College: 463
- James H Faulkner State Community College: 484
- Enterprise State Community College: 543
- Lurleen B Wallace Community College: 546
- Snead State Community College: 554
- Chattahoochee Valley Community College: 564
- Gadsden State Community College: 593
- Alabama Southern Community College: 624
- Bevill State Community College: 642
- Bishop State Community College: 703
- Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus: 708
- Shelton State Community College: 709
- J F Drake State Community and Technical College: 718
Here’s how Alabama compares to the rest of the country: