Top Community Colleges

Community colleges are public institutions that provide higher education and vocational training at a more affordable cost compared to traditional four-year universities. These colleges offer associate degrees, certificates, and sometimes, bachelor’s degrees in certain applied fields. They serve as a crucial step for many students, either beginning their college education before transferring to a four-year institution or gaining skills for immediate employment. Community colleges are known for their accessibility, diverse student bodies, and strong ties to local communities and businesses.

Top 20 Community Colleges in the United States

These community colleges not only provide affordable education but also play a significant role in their communities by offering tailored programs that meet the local workforce needs. They are vital in making higher education accessible and in helping students achieve their professional and personal goals.

1. Walla Walla Community College

Overview

Walla Walla Community College is renowned for its strong agricultural and wine-making programs, reflecting its region’s industry strengths.

Key Information

  • City Location: Walla Walla, Washington
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Total Enrollment: Approximately 13,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
  • Famous Alumni: Kyle MacLachlan (Actor)

2. Santa Barbara City College

Overview

Santa Barbara City College stands out for its comprehensive transfer programs to four-year universities and its stunning coastal location.

Key Information

  • City Location: Santa Barbara, California
  • Year Founded: 1909
  • Total Enrollment: Around 15,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
  • Famous Alumni: Katy Perry (Singer)

3. De Anza College

Overview

Known for its high transfer rates to four-year universities, particularly in California, De Anza College offers strong programs in computer science and engineering.

Key Information

  • City Location: Cupertino, California
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Total Enrollment: Over 21,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 26:1
  • Famous Alumni: Steve Wozniak (Co-founder of Apple Inc.)

4. Valencia College

Overview

Valencia College is notable for its high graduation and transfer rates, strong ties to local employers, and its innovative programs in hospitality and culinary arts.

Key Information

  • City Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Total Enrollment: About 46,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 23:1
  • Famous Alumni: Mike Breen (NBA sportscaster)

5. Miami Dade College

Overview

Miami Dade College is one of the largest institutions of higher education in the country and is known for its strong business, health sciences, and technology programs.

Key Information

  • City Location: Miami, Florida
  • Year Founded: 1959
  • Total Enrollment: Over 165,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 30:1
  • Famous Alumni: Sylvester Stallone (Actor)

6. Pasadena City College

Overview

Pasadena City College has a strong reputation for its arts programs, including visual and performing arts, and its historical significance in Pasadena.

Key Information

  • City Location: Pasadena, California
  • Year Founded: 1924
  • Total Enrollment: About 30,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 26:1
  • Famous Alumni: Jackie Robinson (Professional baseball player)

7. Johnson County Community College

Overview

Located in the suburbs of Kansas City, this college is known for its strong culinary and hospitality programs, preparing students for careers in booming industries.

Key Information

  • City Location: Overland Park, Kansas
  • Year Founded: 1969
  • Total Enrollment: Approximately 19,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
  • Famous Alumni: Paul Rudd (Actor)

8. Normandale Community College

Overview

Normandale is celebrated for its comprehensive liberal arts education, preparing students effectively for transfer to four-year institutions.

Key Information

  • City Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Year Founded: 1968
  • Total Enrollment: About 10,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
  • Famous Alumni: Not widely reported

9. Foothill College

Overview

Foothill College is noted for its robust STEM programs and environmental commitment, including a significant solar panel installation on campus.

Key Information

  • City Location: Los Altos Hills, California
  • Year Founded: 1957
  • Total Enrollment: 15,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 24:1
  • Famous Alumni: Teri Hatcher (Actress)

10. Santa Monica College

Overview

Santa Monica College is known for its strong media and film programs, capitalizing on its proximity to Hollywood and robust transfer agreements with California universities.

Key Information

  • City Location: Santa Monica, California
  • Year Founded: 1929
  • Total Enrollment: About 30,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 30:1
  • Famous Alumni: James Dean (Actor)

11. Austin Community College District

Overview

Austin Community College offers a wide range of programs, including innovative technology and computer science tracks, in one of America’s fastest-growing tech hubs.

Key Information

  • City Location: Austin, Texas
  • Year Founded: 1973
  • Total Enrollment: Over 41,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 22:1
  • Famous Alumni: Tom Ford (Fashion Designer)

12. Portland Community College

Overview

As the largest college in Oregon, PCC excels in sustainability practices and offers diverse programs including trades and technical training.

Key Information

  • City Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Year Founded: 1961
  • Total Enrollment: Approximately 78,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
  • Famous Alumni: Margaret Carter (Politician)

13. Madison Area Technical College

Overview

Known for its progressive approach to technical and vocational education, this college serves as a vital resource for its community’s economic development.

Key Information

  • City Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Year Founded: 1912
  • Total Enrollment: About 17,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
  • Famous Alumni: Not widely reported

14. Community College of Denver

Overview

This college is integral to the Denver metropolitan area, offering strong programs in healthcare and public service education.

Key Information

  • City Location: Denver, Colorado
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Total Enrollment: Around 8,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 24:1
  • Famous Alumni: Not widely reported

15. Northern Virginia Community College

Overview

NOVA is one of the largest community colleges in the U.S., known for its cybersecurity and information technology programs, crucial in the proximity to Washington D.C.’s tech corridor.

Key Information

  • City Location: Annandale, Virginia
  • Year Founded: 1964
  • Total Enrollment: Over 75,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 22:1
  • Famous Alumni: Hilarie Burton (Actress)

16. Lansing Community College

Overview

LCC provides a broad array of programs from flight training to digital media, reflecting its adaptability to current job market demands.

Key Information

  • City Location: Lansing, Michigan
  • Year Founded: 1957
  • Total Enrollment: About 18,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
  • Famous Alumni: Steven Seagal (Actor)

17. Salt Lake Community College

Overview

SLCC offers unique programs in health sciences and technical education, with strong connections to Salt Lake City’s growing healthcare sector.

Key Information

  • City Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Year Founded: 1948
  • Total Enrollment: Over 60,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
  • Famous Alumni: Not widely reported

18. Brookdale Community College

Overview

Brookdale helps students bridge into higher education with its outstanding transfer programs, particularly in social sciences and business.

Key Information

  • City Location: Lincroft, New Jersey
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Total Enrollment: About 14,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
  • Famous Alumni: Danny DeVito (Actor)

19. Gateway Community College

Overview

Gateway stands out in Arizona for its healthcare and automotive programs, preparing students for immediate entry into practical and in-demand careers.

Key Information

  • City Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Year Founded: 1968
  • Total Enrollment: Around 12,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
  • Famous Alumni: Not widely reported

20. Queensborough Community College

Overview

Part of the City University of New York system, Queensborough is known for its strong liberal arts and sciences programs and serves a highly diverse student population.

Key Information

  • City Location: Queens, New York
  • Year Founded: 1960
  • Total Enrollment: Approximately 16,000
  • Average SAT/ACT Scores: Not typically required
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
  • Famous Alumni: Fran Drescher (Actress)