When putting together a "best and worst" list, there are a lot of considerations. That is especially true when you are ranking the best and worst community colleges in the country. Our friends at WalletHub set out to see where every community college system in the country ranked based on several considerations:

  • Cost and financing - cost of tuition for the student and their family as well as costs for supplies, books, and scholarships available.
  • Education outcome - retention of students throughout their intended stay, graduation rates, transfer rates, and credentials awarded.
  • Career outcomes - student loan default rates, median salary after graduation, share of former students earning above the average earnings of high school graduates.

Traditionally, community colleges offer students the ability to get higher education without having as much financial strain. Other than serving as an affordable, community colleges have a number of attractive qualities. They often provide more flexible schedules, smaller class sizes and rigorous coursework. Some even go beyond two-year programs to offer four-year bachelor’s degrees.

When looking at 698 community colleges across the country, Amarillo College ranked at #373. That put AC roughly in the middle at 53.4%, not quite in the top half of community colleges. The school ranked poorly when it comes to it's Cost and Finance rank (489), but much better in Education Outcomes (203) and Career Outcomes (177).

Outside of Amarillo, Clarendon College ranked further down at #486 with one of the poorest Cost and Financing ranks (692) in the country. Fortunately, the Education Outcomes rank (96) and Career Outcomes rank (128) helped to pull the school up in it's overall score.

Inside the state of Texas, AC ranked #7 overall and Clarendon College ranked #21. The best community college in Texas was Alvin Community College, just South of the Houston Area in Alvin, Texas. The worst is Texarkana College on the state line with Arkansas in Texarkana, Texas.