With university and college enrollments on the decline, and tuition rates going steadily higher and higher, there is a lot of concern in higher education these days that not enough people are getting the education they need to compete in a tight labor market. Community colleges are a key part of picking up that slack, by providing career and technical training, associate’s degrees, and the opportunity to transfer to 4-year institutions.
Today, as much as 45% of US undergraduates are enrolled at a community college, and community colleges are even more important for first-generation and minority students: well over half of all African-American, Native American, and Latino students are enrolled in community colleges, according to the American Association of Community Colleges Fact Sheet. Community colleges are central to social mobility, educational access, and entry into professional careers.
However, for all their importance, community colleges still tend to get ignored. There are few reliable national rankings of community colleges, and most of those focus on the same kinds of variables that are used to rank 4-year institutions – which, frankly, don’t apply to community colleges, which do a very different job. That’s why Value Colleges is here. Our mission at Value Colleges is to run the numbers and find the institutions that will provide the best return on your educational investment – not the ones that spend the most on marketing, but the ones that combine affordability and quality so that graduates can be assured that their hard work and hard-earned money aren’t wasted.
Using data from College Measures, a Gates Foundation-supported database, we surveyed the 1717 Community Colleges in the US that offer 2-year Associate Degrees. We filtered our results to find schools that met criteria that we here at Value Colleges deem to be most relevant in finding the Best Value Community College: average to high graduation rates (over 45%), low-to-average cost (under $10k per year), over 1,000 enrolled students, and AACC membership. All our schools are public and open admission.
Our initial list had 614 institutions meeting our criteria. The top 50 ranking is derived from the highest scoring schools based on three metrics:
- Graduation/Transfer rate (IPEDS database)
- Mid-level salary for graduates (when applicable/from payscale.com)
- Actual tuition (IPEDS database)
These numbers give us a complete impression of how much each community college is worth, from cost to return. So with no further ado, we are proud to present the Value Colleges Top 50 Best Value Community Colleges of 2016.
De Anza College
The Value Colleges #1 Best Value Community College, De Anza College is tops, period. De Anza combines the low price of a community college – students pay just around $31 per credit hour – with the amazing resources of Silicon Valley, where De Anza has been central. Whether the goal is an associate’s degree, transfer to a 4-year college or university, a professional certificate, or even just enrichment courses, De Anza has it all. De Anza sends thousands of students to the likes of UC Davis, UCLA, and Berkeley, while Silicon Valley professionals have depended on De Anza for certifications and courses that contribute to their credentials and career advancement. With resources and expertise that puts many 4-year colleges to shame, De Anza defines value for the community college.
Orange Coast College
Located in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, Orange Coast College stands alongside De Anza as one of the best community colleges in California and the US in general. With one of the highest transfer rates in the nation, Orange Coast College perfectly prepares students for 4-year college, but it also excels at bringing practical and technical education to a wide variety of diverse students, especially the growing Latino population. With highly accomplished instructors, award-winning students, and an exciting location, Orange Coast College has everything necessary to make a great education, and a low price to boot – starting at only $46 per credit!
Meridian Community College
Meridian Community College has an unusual history; originally a supplement to the public school system, the Meridian Junior College combined with the HBCU Harris Junior College in 1970 and grew into a strong educational institution in its own right, offering associate degrees, certificates, and other adult education programs. Meridian offers many trade and professional degree programs, and has helped thousands of people from underserved communities get a leg up on transferring to 4-year institutions in Mississippi and the US. Meridian also offers many of the cultural amenities associated with larger colleges, such as a long history of quality musical and theatrical performances for a fully-rounded education at a low price.
With the University of California and California State University systems, two of the most impressive public higher education systems in the world, California is an embarrassment of riches for students, and their community college system is no exception. The evocatively-named Saddleback College (for its location between two mountains) in Mission Viejo, CA, has over 300 degree, certificate, and training programs to choose from, and transfers thousands of students to UC and CSU schools every year. Saddleback is especially proud of their leading arts and communications programs, with degrees in everything from radio to theater, offerings that rival most 4-year colleges. All this at a low price make Saddleback a proven Best Value.
Normandale Community College
An urban community college in the Twin Cities metro area, Normandale Community College provides associate degrees and courses that can easily be transferred to any public Minnesota college or university through the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. Normandale students have gone on to higher education around the Midwest and the US, with programs made to be recognized just about anywhere. Normandale also has arrangements with several Minnesota colleges that allow students to take 4-year courses from the Normandale campus, a low-cost, convenient alternative to on-campus or online courses. At only $190 per credit, Normandale beats other Minnesota higher education costs easily.
Named for geologist Henry Schoolcraft (the original name, Northwest Wayne County Community College was a bit too much), Schoolcraft College is a top-notch community college in Livonia, MI. Schoolcraft’s focus is on continuing education and is especially known for its high-quality culinary arts program, which is headed by four master chefs. Schoolcraft also operates a highly-regarded Business Development Center which aids local businesses in employee training, finances, and market analysis. Schoolcraft is not just a school – it’s a part of the community and an entryway into a brighter future.
Hutchinson Community College
The leading community college in Kansas, Hutchinson Community College is a two-year community college known for its top-tier technical education programs, with over 50 technical associate degrees offered. Hutchinson boasts a well-developed college environment, with a handsomely designed campus, athletic teams, a first-rate musical program including four different ensembles, and a thriving campus culture. Hutchinson’s tuition rates are also exceptionally low, as little as $99 per credit for a competitive college atmosphere. Hutchinson defines what a community college can be.
Santa Barbara City College
One of the oldest community colleges in the nation (founded in 1909), Santa Barbara City College is also one of the best, recognized by the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2013. SBCC is especially renowned for their impact on minority and low-income students, providing students from disadvantaged communities with the opportunity to move forward in careers as diverse as music, medicine, and engineering. SBCC’s music, automotive, and science programs have a high reputation throughout California, and their graduation and transfer rates are stellar. California education at affordable prices makes Santa Barbara City College a flawless investment.
Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Like its neighbor to the south, Normandale Community College, Anoka-Ramsey Community College serves the Twin Cities-metro region, but from the north. Minnesota is known for educational excellence, and Anoka-Ramsey is part of a community college system that gives students throughout the region a chance to move into 4-year programs or start their career off on the right foot with an associate’s degree or certification. ARCC is also committed to keeping their tuition as low as possible with a tuition freeze, even as other institution raise their rates, so students can earn credits for only $167 per credit hour, the lowest in the system.
Des Moines Area Community College
While Iowa is know for two top-quality public universities, the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, students in the state who want a lower-cost option for transfer, or an associate’s degree, have the Des Moines Area Community College. With six campuses and four learning centers, DMACC is Iowa’s largest and lowest-priced college. DMACC’s transfer agreements ensure easy transfer to numerous four-year institutions in Iowa, and a growing slate of online courses are helping DMACC meet its mission of providing students the skills they need for career success – leading to a 96% employment or continued education rate for graduates! With affordable pricing and high success, Des Moines Area Community College is a clear winner to round out the top 10 Best Value Community Colleges.
The Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area is home to many world-class universities and colleges, and Richland College, part of the Dallas County Community College District, is an ideal path for students to make their way to any of them. Richland is the only community college to ever win the Baldrige Award, a recognition for excellence in community-building awarded by the President of the United States. With all the resources metropolitan Dallas has to offer, Richland is well-known for excellence in business, language, and their cutting-edge digital forensics program. The Richland name is one that students can wear with pride.
Lake Superior College
Home to the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth, MN also has Lake Superior College, a top-notch community college with a reputation for excellence. LSC has been commended for their technological innovation, and is publicly committed to sustainability, signing on to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and building the first LEED-certified building in the Minnesota State system. From transfers to certifications, Lake Superior gives students the tools they need to bring their careers and professional lives into the 21st century.
St. Cloud Technical & Community College
Like Lake Superior College, St. Cloud Technical & Community College is part of the highly regarded Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, a system that enjoys strong public support and creates returns to justify it. With small classes and qualified instructors, St. Cloud offers a strong collegiate experience, and their placement rate of 97% for graduates is plenty of proof for St. Cloud’s effectiveness. St. Cloud offers programs in areas such as civil engineering, energy renewal, and other fields that most community colleges can’t handle, so students can be sure they are getting a preparation that is in the top tier.
Located near Houston in Baytown, TX, Lee College is a 2-year community college that is leading the way for community college achievement. One of the top community colleges issuing associate’s degrees for Hispanic students, a well as a leader in associate’s for science, Lee College is an Achieving the Dream school and one of the best community colleges ranked by the Aspen Institute. With top-quality programs in science and professional fields, Lee is also next door to one of the most thriving job markets in the US, so students can feel confident that Lee College will take them places.
Green River Community College
A suburb of Seattle, Auburn, WA is home to Green River Community College, a top-flight school in a prime location for career success. Green River’s programs in business, engineering, and technology are, not surprisingly, commended for their excellence, providing students with ample opportunity to begin their professional lives in the tech hub of Seattle, or transfer to one of the many excellent colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest. As Auburn is also the home of Boeing’s manufacturing plant, Green River also offers some of the best aeronautic programs available at any community college, making it a national and international destination.
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
A four-campus system of community colleges in the scenic Wabash River region near the Illinois-Indiana border, the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges consist of Olney Central, Frontier, Lincoln Trail, and Wabash Valley community colleges. Illinois and Indiana are home to some of the nation’s most respected public and private higher education institutions, and the Eastern Illinois Community Colleges more than adequately prepare students for transfer. They a have also made a commitment to accessibility, keeping their tuition rates at a low $83 per credit for in-district students, and not much more for those coming from elsewhere.
Jefferson State Community College
Serving the Birmingham, AL, metropolitan area, Jefferson State Community College is one of the leading 2-year colleges in the Deep South, with over 15,000 students and more than 120 different degree programs, including respected degrees in health and science. JSCC is, in fact, the leading institution for 2-year nursing degrees in the region. With a high number of African-American students, JSCC provides access and opportunity for many in the region who would otherwise be left behind, and an affordable tuition rate of $146 per credit makes a degree or certificate especially obtainable.
Shoreline Community College
Like Green River Community College, Shoreline Community College‘s proximity to Seattle, WA places it right on the doorstep of one of the most exciting technology and business centers in the world. Shoreline has been awarded honors for its excellent value, as well as for programs such as its alternative fuel vehicle automotive training, one of a small number of community colleges with that specialty. Shoreline has been recognized for contributions to the Asian-American community, for work in sustainable energy and solar power, and for other innovations that lead students into the competitive Seattle/Pacific Northwest job market with confidence.
Tallahassee Community College
Recognized as one of the top community colleges in the nation by Community College Week and the Huffington Post, Tallahassee Community College gives Florida students a strong boost into their colleges and professional careers. Located less than two miles from Florida State University, TCC offers guaranteed admission to that excellent institution for associate’s degree graduates, as well as transferable credits to any of Florida’s other public colleges and universities. With top programs in nursing, technology, and criminal justice, TCC is at the forefront of the US job market, and at only $100 per credit, it’s an investment that will pay off.
Highline College has been lauded by Community College Week and Washington Monthly as one of the top community colleges in the US, a distinction that demonstrates Highline’s innovation and rigor. Highline is one of the most diverse campuses in America, with a high proportion of Asian-American, African-American, Latino, and Pacific Islander students. With the Marine Science and Technology Center HC has been leading conservation and protection efforts for the Puget Sound and developing research that can have far-reaching effects on the health of our oceans. Highline isn’t just a community college – it is a force, and a clear top 20 Best Value.
Southeast Technical Institute
Southeast Technical Institute, in Sioux Falls, SD, has a very clear and straightforward mission: to provide the best career education at the best possible price. STI offers Associate of Applied Sciences degrees which can be completed in two years or less, as well as one-year diplomas and certificates, in more than 50 different career paths. Fields range from Business and Computers to Engineering and Horticulture, and STI partners with many public and private universities and colleges in South Dakota for bachelor degree completion programs. With a low tuition rate, Southeast Technical Institute is the best investment in the Dakotas.
Cowley College (formerly Cowley County Community College), in Arkansas City, KS, provides two-year education to over 6000 students in the southern Kansas region. Whether students are looking for an associate’s degree to enter the workforce, certification to improve credentials, or foundational courses to transfer to a 4-year institution, Cowley can provide it. With one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation, and an exceptionally high transfer and graduation rate, Cowley makes sure students in Kansas have what it takes to make their future their own.
Once a Methodist junior college, Blinn College is now a highly reputed community college in Brenham, TX. Blinn has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation and by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for excellence in teaching and community outreach. Blinn proudly transfers more students than any other Texas community college, especially to Texas A&M University, with which Blinn has a groundbreaking co-enrollment initiative (the TEAM program). Blinn’s high success rate and low tuition costs set a standard for community college quality.
Butler Community College
If you ask us, the original moniker, El Dorado Junior College, is a much cooler name, but Butler Community College earns its reputation through educational excellence and student success. Butler is a large, multi-campus community college bringing quality career and technical education to over 13,000 students throughout Kansas. Butler’s top-quality agriculture, fire safety, and nursing programs are sought out by students, and Butler boasts a first-time pass rate of over 93% for its nursing students. For Kansas students who want an affordable way to a solid career, Butler fits the bill.
Inver Hills Community College
Inver Hills Community College, in suburban St. Paul, MN, serves over 5,000 students from across Minnesota and Wisconsin with top-quality two-year degree programs. IHCC offers Associate of Arts degrees for students looking to transfer to 4-year institutions, Associate of Applied Sciences for career preparation in technology and business, and even Associate of Fine Arts degrees in art, music, and theater. With a high proportion of minority students, IHCC has a reputation for providing education for those other colleges forget, and their elegant campus adds to a sense of community that keeps students coming year after year.
Johnston Community College
Located where interstates 95 and 40 intersect, Johnston County, NC is at the center of the east coast, which helps explain one Johnston Community College claim to fame – the oldest professional truck driver training program in the US. JCC is also a prime location for industrial technology, health science, and a number of programs designed for transfer students, transferring students to numerous, highly respected North Carolina 4-year institutions such as North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina, and East Carolina University. JCC is also known for its a large wildlife reserve and arboretum. Low tuition rates keeping student debt under control.
Muskegon Community College
Muskegon Community College, in Muskegon, MI, tests the limits of what a community college can do and, in the process, brings its students a quality education that is the envy of many 4-year colleges. Muskegon offers cutting edge science and technology resources, with programs such as the Outdoor Learning Center, a laboratory for alternative energy research and demonstrations, as well as a planetarium and observatory. Muskegon nursing students earn over 95% first-time pass rate on their NCLEX exams, and 100% LPN pass rate, and a partnership with Western Michigan University, Ferris State University and Grand Valley State University allows students to earn upper-level courses on the Muskegon campus. With all that, Muskegon proves that community college can achieve.
Cape Fear Community College
Cape Fear Community College, an urban institution in downtown Wilmington, NC, is one of the leading career and technical education institutions in the state, a major provider of workforce training and college transfer for the coastal region of North Carolina. CFCC offers dozens of career and technical degree and certificate programs, including a highly-regarded AAS in Film and Video Production that draws on Wilmington’s deep TV and Hollywood connections. Cape Fear’s high graduation and transfer rates are another point of pride, as well as pass rates on nursing exams as high as 100%. Cape Fear Community College is showing community colleges throughout the southeast what a community college can do.
Finger Lakes Community College
The State University of New York system is world-renowned and internationally respected, and Finger Lakes Community College, part of the SUNY system, allows 2-year students to access to SUNY quality for even more affordable costs. FLCC’s 250 acre campus includes resources that many 4-year institutions cannot claim, including labs, nature trails, and child care. Plus, a 96% placement rate for graduates (in either university transfer or employment) is proof that FLCC puts students off on the right foot into their futures.
Rend Lake College
Rend Lake College, a rural 2-year college in the small town of Ina, IL, is known for dedicated service and big dreams. With enrollment steadily rising over the years, RLC serves over 21,000 students, from degree-seeking to continuing education and high school dual credit students. Rend Lake College sends many students on to 4-year degree programs through the Illinois Articulation Initiative, a transfer agreement that allows community college students to transfer credits to any of over 100 Illinois colleges and universities. The 2nd-lowest-priced college in the state, Rend Lake College is one of the most affordable ways to get a degree in Illinois, a bargain for the quality.
Cypress College is a 2-year community college in Southern California, a highly respected institution neighboring Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and other major attractions. With a large, beautiful campus, noted for its exemplary Brutalist architecture (a futuristic style emphasizing raw concrete and right angles), Cypress College is recognized nation-wide. This highly diverse community college is known for alternative fuel, nursing, and mortuary programs (one of the few in California), as well as reasonable tuition rates set by the state to stay accessible.
Gateway Community College
The first technical college in Arizona, Gateway Community College has been innovating career and professional education since 1968. Gateway’s deep connections with the business and industry sectors of Phoenix mean that students can be sure they are getting an education that will prepare them for work, qualify them for promotion, and equip them for a lifelong career. A healthy, multicultural campus life gives students all the benefits of a college experience at the price of a community college, making Gateway a solid value.
Oakton Community College
A community college with campuses in the Chicago suburbs of Des Plaines and Skokie, Oakton Community College serves as many as 46,000 students from the massive Chicago metro area. Besides two campuses that provide a classic college environment, Oakton also maintains a dual enrollment agreement with Shimer College, a unique Great Books institution that uses a canonical liberal arts education and Socratic instruction method. With a vibrant theater and arts scene, and a dedication to educational excellence, Oakton Community College is excellent preparation for a 4-year degree at one of Illinois’s top-notch universities, or a sound investment in career training.
Tri-County Community College
As the name implies, Tri-County Community College serves three South Carolina counties surrounding Clemson University, one of the foremost public universities in the south. Tri-County’s partnership with Clemson allows Clemson students to complete courses at TCCC, as well as simplifies transfer for TCCC graduates who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Aside from its Clemson partnership, Tri-County excels in preparing students for technical and professional careers with their 2-year degrees and certificate programs.
Howard College, a 2-year community college, serves a large population in 13 Texas counties with three campuses, with the main campus located in Big Spring. Howard College’s emphasis is on career training and technical education, including associate degrees and certificate programs, as well as developmental and continuing ed programs. Howard is also the home of the Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf, a self-contained educational institution for the hearing impaired. Howard’s incredibly low tuition rate of $67 per credit make it a painless investment.
Northeast Mississippi Community College
Found in the northeastern corner of Mississippi, Northeast Mississippi Community College serves a sizable area near the Alabama and Tennessee borders. NEMCC’s comprehensive college transfer and career training programs include dozens of degrees in business, engineering, health sciences, and other areas. Unlike most community college, NEMCC is also a residential college, with dormitories available for students providing an experience more like a traditional college for those who are interested. NEMCC’s tuition, less than $100 per credit, marks it as a Best Value.
Moraine Valley Community College
Like its neighbor to the north, Des Plaines Community College, Moraine Valley Community College serves the Chicago metro area, only to the south. The second-largest community college in the state, with over 34,000 students, MVCC doesn’t let size distract from quality; Moraine Valley has a high job placement rate for its occupational graduates and a national reputation. With tuition at $116 per credit, Moraine Valley is far more affordable than 4-year colleges and universities in the Chicago region.
Holmes Community College
Holmes Community College brings education to a large swath of central Mississippi through its three campuses, with strong academic programs ranging from business and computer science to natural sciences and health. Students more interested in a career training path will find technical programs in many highly-desirable areas, such as criminal justice, occupational therapy, and nursing. Originally an agricultural high school, Holmes Community College has grown into one of the most affordable community colleges in the US, with a high graduation and transfer rate as proof of their quality.
Northeast Community College
Founded from the combination of two colleges, Northeastern Nebraska College and Northeastern Nebraska Technical College, Northeast Community College brings together the educational standards and student care of a small college with the career and technical training of a technical college to provide the best of both worlds on one campus. NCC boasts that 98% of graduates go on to find jobs or continue their education at a 4-year institution, a strong success rate that demonstrates the quality that has led to NCC’s recognition by the Aspen Institute.
Genesee Community College
Like Finger Lakes Community College, Genesee Community College is part of the SUNY system, a distinction that guarantees students a high level of quality automatically. GCC’s $155 per credit tuition is far below most 4-year schools, and GCC’s relationship with the SUNY system allows a high number of students to transfer to SUNY colleges and universities like Brockport, Buffalo, and Empire State University. With over 60 degree and certificate programs, a number of them available online, Genesee Community College gives New York students an excellent way to get started on a college degree for a low investment.
Tyler Junior College
Located in Tyler, TX, the Rose Capital of the World, Tyler Junior College is one of the largest community colleges in Texas, with over 125 degree and certificate programs and more than 32,000 credit and continuing ed students. As a junior college, TJC works to remain ahead of changing needs of community college students while maintaining the dedication to campus life that characterizes a junior college. TJC gives students the feel of a college with the price and practicality of a community college, a clear best value.
Wharton County Junior College
Wharton County Junior College is all Texas, with student baseball and rodeo teams among their extracurricular activities. WCJC’s mission is to provide a top-quality education to the people of hot, humid southeast Texas, not far from the Gulf Coast, and Wharton County Junior College does it well. Not only is WCJC one of the lowest-priced community colleges in the nation, with tuition as little as $32 per credit hour for in-district residents, but one of the most successful in terms of graduation and transfer rate, and graduate placement statistics. WCJC is a small investment, but one that has proven to pay off much bigger.
Moberly Area Community College
Headquartered in Moberly, MO, with satellite campuses throughout the region, Moberly Area Community College makes higher education accessible to students around north-central Missouri, an area with few higher education options. At as little as $88 per credit, Moberly Area Community College is one of the lowest rates available, and students benefit from a top-quality education without making risky financial sacrifices. Moberly is a trusted way for Missouri students to make their way in the world, not big student loan debts.
Dakota County Technical College
Like Normandale Community College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Dakota County Technical College serves the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area as one of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system technical schools. DCTC is best known for its business, railroad, and nanotechnology programs, as well as a nationally-recognized landscape horticulture department (and, not coincidentally, one of the most beautifully landscaped campuses in the Midwest). Dakota County Technical College prepares Minnesota students for lifelong careers in the 21st century.
Iowa Western Community College
Just across the Missouri River from Omaha, NE, Iowa Western Community College provides education for people across southwestern Iowa, with a commitment to technical and career education for practical adult learners. IWCC is best known for its flight school and aviation programs, such as Aviation Maintenance Technology, but students can choose from a full slate of in-demand careers such a health care, IT, and criminology, with associate’s degrees and certificates. Iowa Western keeps tuition low, so students can begin their careers ahead, not behind.
As nearby Dallas, TX, has grown exponentially, so has suburban McKinney, TX, home of Collin College, which has grown from a small-town community college to a 53,000 student district since its founding 30 years ago. Changing its name from Collin County Community College District to reflect its status and growth, Collin College boasts an impressive library modeled on Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia Library and a number of national award-winning faculty. Providing reputable education at a fraction of what a comparable college might charge – $39 per credit for district residents – Collin College is on the verge of something big.
Ohlone College, named for the indigenous people who lived in the area before European colonization, is located in Fremont, CA, at the southeastern end of the San Francisco Bay Area and on the edge of Silicon Valley. In a region known for technological innovation, Internet wealth, and rising costs, Oholone College fills an important need for technical and career education. Ohlone is recognized for their biotechnology, physical and respiratory therapy, and nursing programs, among many others. At only $46 per credit, Ohlone College may be the best deal in the San Francisco Bay!
North Dakota State College of Science
Part of the North Dakota University system, the North Dakota State College of Science is a premiere applied science and technology institution in Wahpeton, ND. One of the oldest colleges in the state, NDSCS is more of a residential college than a community college, with dormitories, athletic teams, cultural events, and organizations. NDSCS is especially proud of their high success rate, with 99% of graduates moving on to employment or higher education. NDSCS keeps their tuition at a low $122 per credit, making a quality education accessible throughout the region.
Irvine Valley College
Irvine, CA, is the home of the world-renowned University of California Irvine, but if UC tuition rates seem a little steep for basic courses, or an associate’s degree will get you where you want to go, Irvine Valley College is there. The quality of the California Community College system – one of the best in the nation – is attested by the number of award-winning scholars, scientists, artists, and professionals who teach. IVC is especially known for the quality of their dance program, which prepares students for the rigors of college and graduate dance education. A diverse student body and low prices make Irvine Valley a fine companion to UC Irvine.
Santa Monica Community College
Santa Monica Community College could sell itself as the community college to the stars; maybe it’s just the proximity to LA and Hollywood, but many a future superstar has passed through SMCC over the years, including icon James Dean, actor’s actor Dustin Hoffman, and action star and governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (who took courses to improve his English). But Santa Monica Community College doesn’t need famous names to draw students; they are the top transfer college for the University of California and California State University systems, nationally recognized for their excellence. With affordability and reputation, the Value Colleges #50 Best Value community college is in a class of its own.