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Why Study in Community Colleges in the US: Know the best and most affordable community colleges in United States

Why Study in Community Colleges in the US: Know the best and most affordable community colleges in United States

Community Colleges in the US

Studying at community college before getting admitted to a big university is now a popular choice of international as well as local students.  Affordable community colleges offer two years of programs mainly on Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree.  These colleges have vocational and technical programs and here students can get associate’s degrees, certificates as well as other professional training without crushing themselves under loan and debt.  In the 2018-19 year, approximately eight million students get admitted to community colleges at least in one subject.

What is a community college?

Community colleges are public institutions that offer tertiary education under two year’s program. In the United States, community colleges are also known as Junior colleges. Community colleges have close links with secondary school, community groups, and local employers. Many community colleges have multiple campuses with an urban, suburban, or rural setting.  According to estimation in 2019 there were 941 community colleges in the US.

Difference between 2 years of community colleges and 4 years of university

Time and process

The first and foremost difference between two years community college and 4 years university is the time to complete the course and the education process. In a four years school, students take general education and theory-based education as per school requirements. But two years degrees of community colleges focus mainly on core classes and tend to provide practical experiences and opportunities to apply the knowledge.  


The cost of two years of community college is lower than four years school. The tuition fee is almost half in community colleges. Besides, many community colleges offer financial aid and scholarship for students and talented candidates.

School environment

Four years universities have a larger number of students than community colleges. In four years schools a student might consider himself/herself just a number. But a community college is much more flexible.  Community colleges offer personal help and one to one interaction with students.

Why study in community college?

There are numerous benefits of community colleges and many international students are taking admission to community colleges.

Save money

One of the greatest benefits of community colleges is reasonable tuition fees. In 2015 President Barack Obama proposed to make many community colleges free for residents. Although the tuition fees of these 2 years schools may vary, still it’s low than four years school.  So many international students as well as local students choose community colleges.

Personal attention

While a large number of students get enrolled in a four years school, in a community college comparatively fewer students get admission and receive personal attention. Small-sized class, one –one assistance, and opportunities to study on different subjects attract many international and local students to get admitted to community colleges.

Flexible opportunity for credit transfer

Studying in a community college can create a limitless path to continue education at a four years university. Many community colleges have special agreements with four years colleges and universities. Under this 2+2 agreement, students can transfer credits and degrees to a four years institution after completing their study in the community college.  It is not only the cheapest route of earning four years bachelor’s degree but also the flexibility accommodates learners with a wide range of backgrounds.

Top 5 best community colleges in the USA

Walla Walla Community college

Walla Walla Community college is a multi-campus community college situated in southeastern Washington State established in 1967.

Current enrollment:  13000+

Credit transfer: courses of Walla Walla Community college (WWCC) are transferable to most of the four years institutions. Students can get an Associate degree of WWCC entirely through Online or through a combination of online and on-campus programs.

Tuition and Fees 2020-2021 (estimated):

In-state student: $ 4958

Out of state student: $ 6455

Popular programs and degree: WWCC offer degree and certificate in 22 different fields. Popular courses are Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Health Professions and Related Programs, Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences.

Santa Barbara City College

This 104 years old community college is located in Santa Barbara, California with a stunning ocean view.

Current enrollment: 20,000 students and 7500+ of them are full-time students.

Credit Transfer: SBCC has an agreement with 76 four years institutions (in and out of California) and 57% of students transfer their credits to those institutions and more than half of them earn their bachelor’s degree.  

Tuition and Fees 2020-2021 (estimated):

In-state student: $ 1288

Out of state student: $ 8427

Popular programs and degree: SBCC offer more than 80 degree and 50 certificates. The average class size of this community college is 28.  Popular majors are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Communications.

Lake Area Technical Institute

Lake Area Technical Institute is the first technical school established in 1965 in Watertown, South Dakota.  The campus covers 40 acres of area and serves 18,000 square miles of area. The institution follows a semester-based academic calendar.  The institution charges relatively low tuition fees.

Current enrollment: more than 17000 full time, part-time and online students are studying in this institution.  

Credit Transfer:  76% of students of LATI transfer their credit to four years colleges. Through a program to program articulation students of LATI can transfer their credit to specific degree programs of South Dakota State University.

Tuition and Fees 2020-2021 (estimated):

In-state student: $ 0

Out of state student: $ 5702

Popular programs and degree: Lake Area technical Institute offer degree and certificate in 12 different areas.  Popular majors are Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences, Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians, and Health Professions and Related Programs.

East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program & Technical Center

This institution is one of the 72 ROP (Regional Occupational Program) centers of California; located in West Covina, California. As ROP center it provides hand on hand career guidance and focuses on practical knowledge and technical skills. It offers community-based internships in local businesses and sites.

Credit transfer:  East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program & Technical Center has an articulation agreement with Citrus College, Rio Hondo College, Mt. San Antonio College, Mt. Sierra College, Pacific Oaks, Westwood College, DeVry, and ITT Tech. under this agreement, students can enroll these colleges after completing the selected courses without repeating previously covered material. 

Popular programs and degrees: the most popular core majors offers by the institution are Business Management, Child Development, Criminal Justice, Green Facilities Management, Health Science, and Visual Communication. The center has partnerships with more than 250 businesses and more than 40 agencies to provide educational help.

Tuition fees:  2020-2021 (estimated):

In state & out state: $ 8170 

New Mexico Military Institute

New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) is a public military school established in 1891 in Roswell, New Mexico.  The only state-supported con educational institute offers a college preparatory, four–year high school, and a two–year junior college. The campus is standing on 40 acres of land and includes 18–the hole golf course.  Students of NMMI are referred to as “cadets”. The school averages 975 cadets and 95% of them go to 4 years universities.  The institution has its own chain of command and all cadet lives here with honour and discipline.

Courses and degrees: NNMI offers a Liberal Arts curriculum (all-inclusive). Associates of Arts degree requires 68 hours of coursework. While pursuing Associates of Arts, cadets can focus on a different area.  Areas of concentration include- Humanities, Math and Science, Social sciences/business, Physical education/recreation.

Tuition fees:  2020-2021 (estimated):

In-state:  $ 5,309

Outstate: $ 2,862

5 most affordable community colleges in the US:

  1. Coffeyville Community College
  2. New Mexico Military Institute
  3. South Georgia Technical College
  4. Northwest College
  5. Mesalands Community College

Closing thoughts

Community colleges in the US play a huge role in higher education in the USA. It is not only the cheapest route to complete a bachelor’s but also a great way to build up a career. The financial aid, scholarships help a lot to pursue education without crushing under loans and debt.  Many notable alumni of these community colleges are now inspiring figures of the USA and they are the idol to a new generation. 

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