The US economy has changed in major ways in the last couple of decades, with manufacturing and industrial jobs giving way to a professional and technical workforce, and community colleges have been the key force in educating and preparing working adults for the new world of work. For working adults already in a career, or who depend on their jobs too much to take time off for school, online degree programs are the most important innovation of the century. Online courses allow students to shape their education around their work schedules, take classes and do coursework at odd times at their own convenience, and improve their credentials for promotion and advancement without having to make too many sacrifices.
Recommended Online Colleges for Associate’s Degrees
The mission of the community college is to make career, technical, and professional education accessible and affordable for the most people possible. Open admissions and low tuition rates help, but many community colleges have realized that to meet their demand in the modern world, fully online degree programs are a must. Offering online degree programs not only increases their reach; it allows community colleges to meet immediate needs in the labor force quickly, often with one-year diplomas or certificates.
There are few reputable surveys of online community colleges, but a growing population of online students have a serious need for trustworthy guides to the options available. That’s why Value Colleges has put together the 2016 Best Value Online Community Colleges ranking. Over 1700 2-year associate degree-granting Community Colleges were considered for this initial ranking. Schools were then filtered by public, non-profit, over 10 online programs, over 2,000 students, and under $10,000 annually for tuition costs (in-state residency).
Our final ranking was calculated based on three metrics:
- Annual Tuition (reported from National Center for Education Statistics)
- Graduation rate (NCES)
- Online Programs count (as indicated from college website)
These schools are recognized as excellent examples of online learning opportunity. We think affordability and reputation coupled with the expectation for future career success are most important. Just going to the nearest community college isn’t necessarily your only choice; community colleges offer different courses and programs, and most online programs are state-wide. Some are even offered for non-residents, though extra fees usually apply.
The Value Colleges 2016 Online Best Value, Western Wyoming Community College, in Rock Springs, WY, is a community college like no other. Because the Rock Springs region is a significant fossil field, the WWCC has numerous dinosaur skeletons on display, as well as a Wildlife Museum displaying many preserved species. To prepare for the frosty Wyoming winters (WWCC is over 6500 feet above sea level, after all), buildings on WWCC’s thriving residential campus are connected with hallways so no one has to go outside to change classes. Of course, if you’re taking online courses, you never even have to leave home, and not surprisingly, Western Wyoming offers many fully-online degree programs, including Criminal Justice, Computer Information Systems, and Business Administration. With WWCC’s incredibly low tuition rates, Wyoming students can earn a degree without sinking in debt.
A junior college in Odessa, TX, which counts early rockabilly star Roy Orbison as an alumnus (at least until stardom came calling), Odessa College serves around 5000 transfer and career students, and more than twice that many for continuing education and basic courses. Odessa is an Achieving the Dream Leader College, cited for their excellence in producing graduates, and a 94% course completion rate for students is a testament to the support students receive. OC Global, Odessa College’s online degree wing, offers more than a dozen fully-online degree programs, including Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and Associated in Applied Science degree types in everything from Business to Speech Therapy. Odessa works hard to get students the education they need, and low tuition costs – less than $300 per course – make Odessa College a solid educational investment.
There is no better place to go to community college than California, and Foothill College confirms it. Foothill College, in Los Altos, CA, is prominently placed in a corner of Silicon Valley. Foothill has an exceptionally high proportion of international students, may of whom come to the community college as a stepping stone to California’s top-tier universities and Silicon Valley’s lucrative tech jobs. While Foothill emphasizes transfer, they also offer copious career-preparation programs and certificates, and a dozen online degree programs ensure that students can make their way on their own flexible schedules. With all of these options, and affordability too, Foothill College brings students’ futures within reach.
Recommended Online Colleges for Associate’s Degrees
Bismarck State College
It should be no surprise that Bismarck State College would invest in strong online degree programs; after all, like Western Wyoming, North Dakota is not known for mild winters and easy travel. With many students spread out and rural, it’s essential for BSC to make their education as accessible as possible. For that reason, Bismarck State College offers not only 2-year degrees for college transfer and career credentialing, but BSC has also enlisted colleges and universities in the area to offer degree completion courses through BSC. Bismarck State also offers 20 fully-online degree programs, from professional fields like Business Administration and Criminal Justice to technical fields like Nuclear Power Technology or Renewable Generation Technology. Online is just one way Bismarck State College brings education to the people.
Great Basin College
Online education is a major asset for colleges in the great western states, and Nevada is no different. Headquartered in Elko, NV, Great Basin College has to provide education for over 86,000 square miles of territory and ten large counties, so while GBC is primarily a 2-year junior college, it also has some 4-year programs and a sizable residential student body. Great Basin has been recognized for affordability, with an incredibly low $88 per credit tuition rate, and their quality is strong. With more than two dozen fully online degree programs, including popular choices like nursing and business, Great Basin College has the education students are looking for to make lifelong careers.
Kentucky Community and Technical College System
Some community colleges and junior colleges prefer to go it alone, but the community college mission is a vast one – provide open admission education to any resident of the state who wants it. And with such as huge responsibility, many schools find it wise to cooperate. So the Kentucky Community and Technical College System has pulled their 16 colleges (including 70 campuses) together to offer online degree programs across the state. Pooling their resources allows the KCTCS to provide the best online education possible, from college transfer to career and technical training. In-state students pay only $147 per credit, but so do out-of-state online students, making KCTCS an affordable way to get a degree from anywhere!
Barton Community College
Barton Community College, in Barton County, KS, is a 2-year community college that is a deep, engaged part of the community and cultural life of the area. BCC has bands and an orchestra, a gallery of fine art, a planetarium, and other cultural amenities. But for students who can’t make it to campus, or need the flexibility and convenience of online education so they can keep working while earning a degree, BCC has developed BartOnline. BartOnline offers more than 30 fully-online degree programs, with degrees in Business and Economics, Computers and Information Systems, Health Professions, Public Safety, and more. At $146 per credit hour, Barton Community College is a low-risk investment in a high-yield career opportunity.
State Fair Community College
Located next door to the Missouri State Fairground in Sedalia, MO – hence the name – State Fair Community College serves over 5000 students in 14 counties, from a number of campus locations and online. SFCC is a community college on the rise, with more than 65 degree programs in a constantly-developed slate of cutting-edge fields, from health care to sustainable energy. State Fair offers several fully-online degrees, including a general AA for college transfer, Medical Assistant, and Business Management, and new programs are being added every year. With tuition rates as low as $102 per credit, Missouri students can’t go wrong.
From its location on the Texas-Louisiana border, Panola College serves more than 2600 students in northeast Texas and the bordering Louisiana parishes, a mission it has been tackling since 1948. Fifty years later, Panola began offering distance education, and today students can earn a number of degrees and certificates completely online. With business, nursing, and computer technology online degrees, as well as business and management certificates, Panola College is preparing students for some of the fastest-growing and most in-demand job markets. Panola is in the top percentiles of lowest-priced community colleges, making them a clear bargain.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College
When in Rome, do as the Romans do – take courses at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, in Rome, GA. And when not in Rome, don’t worry – GNTC has a number of fully-online and hybrid degree programs that will help you get an AAS, diploma, or certificate with minimal or no commuting. 100% online degrees include Accounting, Business Management, and Web Design, with many other diplomas and certificates. Georgia Northwestern is the largest college in the region, with over 8500 credit students and nearly as many taking continuing education, workplace training, and other services. GNTC’s low tuition keeps students returning, and quality, practical degree programs make them a top 10 best value.
Stanly Community College
Albemarle is a quiet, traditionally agricultural area in central North Carolina, and like other agricultural centers, the changes of modern times have made education essential for the survival of this classically blue-collar region. Stanly Community College is doing a lot of that work, providing degree programs, certificates, and continuing education for as many as 10,000 students, with a mix of professional and technical fields. To make their educational options more accessible, Stanly has put a lot of development into online programs, offering fully online degrees and certificates in highly in-demand areas such as Business Administration, Networking Technology, and Criminal Justice. As the economy changes, Stanly Community College keeps the Albemarle area in touch with today.
Mesa Community College
Arizona does education in a big way – just look at Arizona State University, the largest university in the US and the leader in online education. Mesa Community College, in Mesa, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix) just happens to be one of the top sources of transfer students to ASU, and is the largest college of the Maricopa Community College District, the largest district in the US. Like ASU, Mesa Community College is a leader in online education, with around 30 fully online degree and certificate programs, in everything from web design to fashion. And like ASU, it’s not just size – it’s excellence that brings a diverse student body and top-tier instructors.
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
Named for its location in the Wiregrass region of southern Georgia – which in turn is named for its local flora, a stiff, tall grass that has shaped the folk culture and agricultural practices of the area – Wiregrass Georgia Technical College‘s main mission is workforce preparation, through degree and certificate programs designed to foster new and growing industry in the region. And WGTC has done it well – they were the first winners of the Governor Sonny Purdue Award for Technical College of the Year in 2010, and Wiregrass has continued to develop and innovate. Wiregrass offers nine fully online degree and certificate programs in highly-sought areas like Business Administration, Website Design, and Childhood Development, and with low tuition rates, Wiregrass is preparing students for careers without debt holding them back.
Clovis Community College
Clovis Community College‘s first priority is accessibility, according to their published philosophy, and they have made a real commitment to accessibility in every respect. Located in Clovis, NM, CCC partners with the nearby Eastern New Mexico University to make transfer simple. CCC also maintains a solid slate of fully online degree programs for students who cannot make it to on-campus classes, with more in development; options include Behavioral Science, Computer Information Systems, and Paralegal. Clovis also makes sure their courses remain affordable, with tuition rates as low as $39 for district residents, a ridiculously low price that promises students a bright future with little financial risk.
Coastline Community College
Like Foothill Community College, Coastline Community College is a top-flight California community college dedicated to quality, accessibility, and innovation: their very Californian motto is “Tomorrow’s College Today.” And that dedication has shown results; course offerings nearly doubled between 2014 and 2016 to accommodate demand, with many of those online. Coastline has been a leader in online education, even earning the distinction of being the first college to offer a degree program designed specifically for mobile devices. CCC offers well over 30 degree and certificate programs fully online, so students have no shortage of affordable, quality options.
Wayne Community College
Like Stanly Community College, Wayne Community College is part of the North Carolina Community College System, one of the largest and fastest-growing in the nation. North Carolina’s rapid rise in population and economic significance has fueled unprecedented development in community colleges, as this once agricultural and industrial region modernizes, and Wayne Community College is a perfect example. Originally a technical institution, WCC now offers over 130 degree programs, many of them available fully online, most focused on bringing a blue-collar workforce into professional careers like Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Medical Office Administration. With some of the lowest tuition rates in the nation, Wayne Community College is making education affordable for all.
Pitt Community College
An hour east of Wayne Community College, Pitt Community College faces many of the same demographic challenges head-on. The people of Pitt County, traditionally an agricultural and factory-based economy, have seen the need for new career directions and the education to make them possible, and Pitt Community College is bringing education to them. A rural area, PCC offers more than 50 degrees, certificates, and diplomas in a wide variety of fields, all fully online for students who cannot travel to campus or find time in their work schedules to attend in-person classes. At only $76 per credit, Pitt is a bargain.
Amarillo, TX, home of the world’s most productive helium reserve (wherever you are, you’ve carried around balloons filled with Amarillo helium), is also home to Amarillo College. With six campuses, Amarillo College meets the needs of over 10,000 students, with more than twice that many taking continuing education or non-credit training courses – a tremendous number of students helped. Amarillo College has long focused on practical career education, opening an allied health center in 1966 and an industrial technology center in 1997. With several online degree programs, Amarillo College also makes it possible for students to earn degrees in Criminal Justice, Radiation Therapy, and more from home (though Mortuary Science students have to attend an on-campus orientation).
Rio Salado College
Rio Salado is one of the most innovative community colleges in the nation. Their headquarters is in Tempe, AZ, part of the renowned Maricopa Community Colleges (like Mesa Community College), but Rio Salado is everywhere. Even from its founding in 1977, Rio Salado offered classes in an innovative way, through as many as 180 non-centralized sites, but when Rio Salado discovered online education in 1996, it found its niche. Almost all of Rio Salado’s courses are offered online today, and Rio Salado’s list of fully online degree programs beats many community colleges’ on-campus offerings. As a result, Rio Salado has been recognized by the Gates Foundation and Forbes magazine for excellence in innovation.
Guilford Technical Community College
Guilford Technical Community College, in Jamestown, NC, is the third-largest community college in North Carolina and one of the most highly respected. GTCC is especially known for its groundbreaking Gatlin School of Entertainment Technology, a one-of-a-kind center that awards degrees in areas such as Concert Sound and Lighting or Recording Engineering; it has since become a model for such programs. GTCC has also made huge leaps into online education; with over 30 fully-online programs which include unusual offerings such as Simulation and Game Development, Guilford Technical Community College is paving the way.
Central Texas College
Built on land donated by Fort Hood, the US Army base in Killeen, TX, Central Texas College has been a military-friendly institution since its founding. Besides the more traditional community college mission of providing education to economically disadvantaged students, working adults, and college transfer students, Central Texas College has also developed a strong military niche, with satellite campuses at military bases all over the world. CTC knows the value of distance education, obviously, and that knowledge has also led to a well-developed online presence, with more than 30 low-cost, fully online degree and certificate programs.
Minnesota West Technical and Community College
Minnesota West Technical and Community College serves southern Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota students from five campuses and a robust online degree program. MWTCC has grown by accretion over the years, as several technical schools merged and combined their assets and expertise. Considering the area – with many rural students and harsh winters – it’s no surprise that MWTCC should have over 40 fully online degree, diploma, and certificate programs to make their education more accessible and convenient for students. If you’re interested in a career path, MWTCC probably has something to offer, even the intriguing-sounding Windsmith Certificate (a basic expertise in wind energy).
The Alamo Colleges
The Alamo Colleges (formerly the Alamo Community College District) are a cooperative of five community colleges in the greater San Antonio area: San Antonio, St. Philip’s, Palo Alto, Northeast Lakeview, and Northwest Vista. While the five colleges are largely independent, they put their figurative heads together to bring students the broadest, best possible online degree programs. St. Philip’s, for instance, offers more than 20 degree and certificate programs, including multiple Criminal Justice and Business specializations, while others colleges offer courses to supplement. By working together, the Alamo Colleges can keep prices down while each contributes to a top-quality online education.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Minnesota State Community and Technical College brought together two well-established community colleges in a 2007 merger to create a large, four-campus 2-year institution. MSCTC focuses on career development and practical degree programs, with their most popular and respected programs in business, nursing, computer programming, and criminal justice. More than two dozen fully online programs, from Web Development to Business, are available at a low $160 per credit hour tuition rate; add in a high success rate (91% of students find employment in their field upon graduation), and Minnesota State Community and Technical College looks like a solid best value.
Wake Technical Community College
The largest, leading community college in North Carolina, Wake Technical Community College is located in Raleigh, NC, at a corner of the Research Triangle Park region, the nation’s first tech hub. As such, Wake Tech has always focused on education students for the region’s needs, with top-tier medical, technology, and computing programs. Besides cutting-edge campuses – including the first fully LEED-certified green campus, and a first-rate new RTP campus – Wake Tech offers numerous fully online degree programs for ultimate convenience. Students can choose from highly in-demand programs such as Criminal Justice, as well as degrees unusual for online, such as Advertising and Graphic Design, Business Analytics, or Fire Protection Technology.
Ozarks Technical Community College
Ozarks Technical Community College is young, dating back to just 1990, when the people of Springfield, MO, voted to start a community college to meet the growing educational needs of their workforce. OTCC took that mission and ran with it, developing into a 15,000 student institution with well-regarded programs in all areas of professional and career preparation, as well as college transfer. A low tuition of only $98 per credit certainly attracts students, and a growing slate of online degree programs makes OTCC all the more accessible.
Lenoir Community College
One of the first colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, Lenoir Community College is also one of the most forward-looking, with a highly developed online degree platform in some of the most in-demand, leading-edge career paths. Students can transfer courses to any of the 16 University of North Carolina system institutions, and many more degree and certificate programs prepare students for employment. Well over 40 fully online degrees, certificates, and diplomas include everything from Aviation Management to Networking Technology, and a tuition rate of $76 per credit ensures students get a sweet deal.
The Yavapai people (the “people of the sun”), the indigenous people of the region that would become Prescott, AZ, are remembered in the name of the county, and of the community college that serves it, Yavapai College. Known for the Yavapai College Gunsmithing School, one of the best gunsmithing programs in the US, Yavapai College also has an impressive set of online degree programs to serve the people of Arizona. Students in career paths as varied as Administration of Justice, Emergency Management, and Video Game Development can earn fully online degrees at Yavapai’s low tuition price (a tenth of the price of Arizona State or the University of Arizona).
Truckee Meadows Community College
Truckee Meadows Community College, located in on the Truckee River near Reno, NV, is also named for the indigenous, a Paiute chief whose name western explorers mangled into “Truckee.” Serving over 25,000 students, Truckee Meadows is one of the most important institutions in the region, and will begin offering 4-year degrees in fall 2016. Of course, Nevada is a large, sparsely-populated state, so Truckee Meadows offers well over 30 fully online degrees for those who cannot conveniently come to campus. For only $137 per credit, Truckee Meadows is an obvious value.
Forsyth Technical Community College
A corner of the growing Triad region, an area anchored by Charlotte, NC’s economic boom, Forsyth Technical Community College brings today’s education to Winston-Salem, NC. Forsyth Tech has been cited by President Obama as an example of the impact a community college can make on disadvantaged communities, and Forsyth has gone a long way to provide entry for the people of the area into the professional job market. For more than 12,000 students, and twice that many non-credit students, Forsyth emphasizes professional careers; more than two dozen fully online degree programs in business, computers, management, and other in-demand areas ensure that students will be able to access education at a low tuition rate.
Community College of Aurora
Aurora, CO, is a suburb of Denver, and together the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area is one of the most populous and fastest-growing economies in the nation. As a major corporate hub, Denver creates a huge demand for professional and technical workers, and the Community College of Aurora is making its way in that mission. With more than 30 fully online degrees and certificates, many focused on business and computing technology, CCA provides an affordable education across Colorado for students and working adults to jump head first into the 21st century economy.
Metropolitan Community College
Omaha, NE, is a significant metropolitan area with an economy dominated by agri-business and railroads, and the need for educated, experienced managers, professionals, and technicians is clear. Metropolitan Community College is meeting that need in the most affordable, convenient way possible with a huge slate of fully online degrees in crucial areas such as computer technology, information technology, management, and others. Tuition of only $53 per credit make MCC an option for just about anyone, and a solid value.
Laramie County Community College
When you’re thinking of the Wild West, you’re thinking of Laramie, WY, but it’s the 21st century, and Laramie is anything but a relic. Laramie County Community College is one important force making sure that Wyoming meets its potential, with an ambitious plan emphasizing entrepreneurship, passion, and authenticity. LCCC knows that students today need accessibility, especially in the wide-open west, and a strong selection of fully online degree and certificate programs is helping Laramie County meet those needs. With tuition at only $83 per credit, and articulation agreements with universities across the west for easy transfer, Laramie County Community College is doing work of the finest caliber.
Mohave Community College
Mohave Community College has been offering distance education since its founding the in 1980s, well before there was any idea of teaching classes on the Internet, and for good reason – the communities of Mohave County are not all that accessible, with the county being split by the Grand Canyon. The Internet age has made it easier than ever to deliver distance education, though, and Mohave Community College has made substantial use of the new tool, with around 20 fully online degree and certificate programs. An in-state tuition of $81 per credit sweetens the deal, ensuring Mohave Community College a solid place among the best values.
Community Colleges of Spokane
Spokane, WA, has struggled in recent years, having been especially hard-hit by the 2008 recession and following years of job insecurity, but the Community Colleges of Spokane are doing the good, hard work of educating the Spokane workforce for the 21st century. Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College are independent, but they pool their talent for many reasons, including their online degree programs. Together the Community Colleges of Spokane deliver more than 20 fully online degrees and certificates, with a best value tuition of only $81 per credit.
Southwest Virginia Community College
Located in the foothills of the Clinch Mountain Range – the stomping grounds of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, whose band was called the Clinch Mountain Boys – Southwest Virginia Community College serves students from the small town of Richlands. SVCC’s territory is a difficult one, with many rural and inaccessible, mountainous pockets, so like other similarly-located community colleges, Southwest Virginia meets needs with online programs so students don’t have to attend classes on campus. Degree programs include Business, Education, and Accounting, all with a low tuition rate that will not raise students’ debt.
Lone Star College
The Lone Star College system (made up of seven campuses in the Greater Houston metropolitan area) is one of the largest in the nation, with over 78,000 credit students and more than 90,000 students overall. With so many students to serve, Lone Star College has more than two dozen fully online degree and certificate programs, largely in professional career fields like Accounting, Administrative Services, and Computing. Lone Star’s deep industry connections mean students get business and administration education that is closely tied to real-world needs and should help graduates make the most of their investment.
Grayson College, a community college in Denison, TX, is focused on working with the business and industry of Grayson County and the surrounding area to educate a modern workforce through the Center for Workplace Learning. Some of Grayson’s unique offerings include nationally-recognized programs in Viniculture and Enology (grape cultivation and winemaking), which are supported by the Thomas Volney Munson vineyards. Grayson currently offers only four fully online degree programs – Criminal Justice, Child Development, Education, and General Studies – but Grayson’s commitment to the future of work ensures that more opportunities will be on the way.
Tulsa Community College
The nation’s #1 source of associate’s degrees for Native American students, Tulsa Community College is a highly diverse, dedicated institution that has made great strides in providing educational opportunity for minority and economically disadvantaged communities in Oklahoma. TCC offers a number of fully online degree and certificate programs to maximize their reach to students; courses of study include Business, Information Technology, and more. At $90 per credit for Oklahoma residents, it’s a bargain that can help pave career paths for years to come.
Ocean County College
Headquartered in Toms River, NJ, Ocean County College is a 2-year community college in the heart of the Jersey Shore, where tourists from Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey flock every summer. But no community can sustain on tourism alone, so Ocean County College is working to bring career and professional education to a diverse population. OCC is especially known for its distance education nursing programs, but Ocean County College offers a number of fully online degree and certificate programs including Computer Science, Engineering, and Homeland Security.
West Los Angeles College
Culver City, CA, was one of the first centers of Hollywood, home of the Hal Roach and MGM studios in the 1910s and ’20s, a legacy that remains influential in the area. It is also home, today, to West Los Angeles College, a cutting-edge community college that offers over 600 degree programs to a largely African-American and Latino population of over 10,000 students. WLAC keeps degrees affordable, only $46 per credit hour for California residents, and accessible through a strong set of online degree and certificate programs. WLAC is proud to provide the close, personal attention of a small college with the lowest prices possible.
North Hennepin Community College
With more than 10,000 students, North Hennepin Community College is one of the largest colleges in Minnesota; with 44% of the student body made up of people of color, it’s also the most diverse college in Minnesota, and one of the most important forces in the state for providing educational opportunity to first-generation, underrepresented, and low-income students. NHCC offers around 40 fully online degree and certificate programs, primarily in business-related fields like accounting and marketing. At $177 per online credit, it’s a price worth investing in.
Columbus State Community College
Columbus State Community College has been meeting the educational needs of Columbus, OH, for over 50 years, and its student body of over 26,000 demonstrates its importance. Columbus has long been named an up-and-coming city and one of the best places in the US to live by publications like Forbes and Businessweek, and CSCC is preparing Columbus-area students to compete in that future city. CSCC is also the biggest provider of online education in the state, with a massive list of AA, AS, and AAS degrees – if it can be taught online, CSCC probably has it, for a low price and a strong job market reputation.
Washtenaw Community College
Ann Arbor, MI, home of the University of Michigan, is nationally known as one of the most beloved college towns in the US, but it’s also the home of Washtenaw Community College, a top-quality community college. Not surprisingly, WCC is a leading transfer college for the University of Michigan, as well as several other Michigan public universities, and with over 18,000 students, WCC has to make classes accessible. That’s why, in addition to daily and nightly on-campus classes, WCC offers a dozen fully-online degree programs in highly-sought fields like computing and management.
Sinclair Community College
With over 32,000 students on one campus, Sinclair Community College is one of the largest in the nation, and at over 125 years old, one of the oldest. Its excellence makes it one of the most highly respected, and its affordability make it a best value. Sinclair offers two dozen fully online degree and certificate programs in practical fields such as business and computers, with an articulation agreement that allows students to transfer to any public Ohio university or college, making Sinclair’s online programs exceptionally flexible and useful. At $99 per credit, Sinclair’s reputation couldn’t come at a better price.
Front Range Community College
Front Range Community College is a 2-year institution headquartered in the popular Denver suburb of Westminster, with campuses around the area. As the largest community college in Colorado, Front Range is also the leading transfer school for the University of Colorado, Colorado State, and Metropolitan State University. Front Range has a lot of students and a lot of territory to cover, so nearly 40 fully online degree and certificate programs, as well as several more 80% online programs, help close the gap.
Riverland Community College
Riverland Community College, a three-campus, 2-year institution in southeastern Minnesota, serves an area of small towns and rural communities. These areas have traditionally been dominated by agriculture and manufacturing, two sectors that have seen slowdowns in the 21st century, and Riverland is preparing the workforce of Austin, Albert Lea, Owatonna, and surrounding areas for the changes around them. Part of that mission is online degree programs, largely in computers and management, offering Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas residents a way into professional careers at a price considerably less than any university or college.
Alexandria Technical & Community College
Alexandria Technical and Community College, in the small town of Alexandria, MN, is known for its emphasis on career preparation and practical education. With a placement rate of over 90% for graduates, ATCC is the most successful community college in Minnesota, and it is especially important as the only community college in the state with a Law Enforcement program, which educates many police officers. A Law Enforcement Career Transition Diploma is one of the fully online programs available from ATCC, with a dozen more including Paralegal, Medical Coding, and Speech/Language Pathology.
Cuyahoga Community College
The first and largest community college in Ohio, Cuyahoga Community College serves over 31,000 students from across northern Ohio. Students are drawn by the quality of instruction, as well as the great value: at $87 per credit, Tri-C has one of the lowest tuition rates in Ohio. Cuyahoga Community College offers a number of fully online degree programs in business and management, and many more mostly online programs with minimal on-campus time (as much as 95% online). With Tri-C’s reputation in Ohio, graduates can be sure to see results on the job market, making a return on their investment all but a sure thing.
Northern Virginia Community College
The second largest community college in the US, Northern Virginia Community College (also known as NVCC or NOVA) is spread across six campuses in the suburbs of Washington, DC, including Annandale, Alexandria, and Manassas. Because of its location, NOVA has access to some of the most respected faculty and most influential connections of any community college, including the federal government and industry. With its excellent reputation, NOVA focuses on college transfer and has high transfer rates to such 4-year institutions as George Mason, William and Mary, and Old Dominion. Around 40 fully online degree and certificate programs make courses convenient and flexible, and the opportunity NOVA offers makes it a competitive choice to close out the Value Colleges Top 50 Online Community Colleges.