economic growth college completion

The top 50 community colleges for student financial aid

OnlineCollegePlan.Com has created a ranking that features the Top 50 Best Online Community Colleges for Financial Aid Assistance.

Community colleges fill an important gap in the realm of education. They cater to a broader audience, cost easily a third of what a student would pay at a four-year institution, and they offer a greater degree of flexibility.

Many students that attend community college are working or have family obligations that only allow them to go part-time. Over half of all the students enrolled at community colleges or technical schools are considered to be part-time; the structure of the curriculum allows them that freedom to maintain their lives without putting their dreams on hold.

The most important thing about community colleges, though, is the incredible affordability. The ratio of high socioeconomic status students to low socioeconomic status students at four-year universities is 14:1. Financial barriers shouldn’t stand in the way of anyone who has a desire to learn to be able to do so; and with lower costs, campuses even in rural areas, and the vast opportunities for financial aid assistance, community colleges are the first step in taking down those barriers.

Because of that, OnlineCollegePlan.Com has created a ranking that features the Top 50 Best Online Community Colleges for Financial Aid Assistance. 

(Next page: The Top 50 community colleges for financial aid)

Over half of the US is represented in this ranking that features community colleges in 26 different states. Research editor Derek Graham gathered data on the freshman retention, graduation, and student financial aid rates at every institution and then ranked them according to a composite score that could be as little as 3 (1 percent per criterion) and as high as 300 (100 percent per criterion).

All of the ranked schools have 50 percent or more students that receive financial aid assistance from the federal government, the state or local government, as well as institutional grants and scholarships.

Many of the community colleges that have made the list also provide students each with a personal financial aid advisor. This is more important than many people realize, because students who attend a public two-year college are exponentially less likely to fill out a FAFSA form. Given the fact that many of these students come from low-income families, almost all of them are eligible to receive the Pell grant. A Pell Grant is a subsidy that students can receive if they meet certain requirements, and they’re not obligated to pay it back. This is a huge help for many students, who could receive as much as $5,918 per academic year.

Here are the Top 20 Best Online Community Colleges for Financial Aid Assistance (see for the full ranking and methodology):

20. College of Eastern Idaho (Idaho Falls, ID)

19. Northeast Mississippi Community College (Booneville, MS)

18. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (Superior, WI)

17. East Mississippi Community College (Scooba, MS)

16. West Kentucky Community and Technical College (Paducah, KY)

15. Western Wyoming Community College (Rock Springs, WY)

14. Rend Lake College (Ina, IL)

13. Eastern Wyoming College (Torrington, WY)

12. Vermont Technical College (Randolph, VT)

11. North Dakota State College of Science (Wahpeton, ND)

10. State University of New York at Delhi (Delhi, NY)

9. Northeast Community College (Norfolk, NE)

8. Olney Central College (Olney, IL)

7. Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport, PA)

6. Southern Arkansas University Tech (Camden, AR)

5. Alexandria Technical and Community College (Alexandria, MN)

4. Lincoln Trail College (Robinson, IL)

3. Penn State Beaver (Center Township, PA)

2. Marion Technical College (Marion, OH)

1. Flint Hills Technical College (Emporia, KS)

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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