LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Paying for college can be expensive, but local community colleges offer an alternative by letting students spend less for their education.
But with so many options available, where can you get the best education without emptying your wallet?
According to a recent report, analysts at WalletHub compared more than 700 community colleges across the United States to determine where students can get the best education, at the lowest price.
The list of schools came from the American Association of Community Colleges; Out of the 728 schools ranked in this report, there are more than a dozen schools in Michigan.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, there are 1,462 community colleges across the United States.
WalletHub says some schools were excluded from the sample because of limited data.
Schools were evaluated based on a few key factors including cost, education outcomes, and career options on a scale from one to 728, one being the best.
Here’s how some of the schools in Michigan fared:
Kellogg Community College – 160
Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College – 196
Delta College – 239
Montcalm Community College – 392
Washtenaw Community College – 584
Kalamazoo Valley Community College –633
Grand Rapids Community College – 660
Muskegon Community College – 667
Mid-Michigan Community College – 681
Oakland Community College – 685
Lansing Community College is also on the list. LCC came in near the bottom at 634, with cost and financing ranked at 527, education outcomes at 368, and career options also at 527.
6 News talked with Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub to tell us what this means.
“When we’re looking at that share of full time staff, Lansing Community College has one of the lowest rates in the country,” she said. “Only 11 percent of faculty members there, professors mainly, are full time. So when the goal is 100 percent, obviously Lansing has a ways to go and that was used as a proxy for course work as well as education.”
Gonzalez says another key factor analysts looked at was return on educational investment by looking at salary 10 years out and comparing it to cost for two years.
“Right now, that adds about a 2 to 1 ratio, we’re seeing many schools going at 10 to 1, 20 to 1, so that again has a lot more to go in some of these other metrics,” Gonzalez said.
Luanne Bibbee, a spokesperson for Lansing Community College said last fall, LCC was ranked number one for community colleges in Michigan by Schools.com.
“LCC is very proud of offering in-district tuition that is below the average tuition of the 28 community colleges in Michigan, in fact LCC is the 5th lowest in in-district tuition,” Bibbee said. “In the Spring of 2016, LCC awarded 1,357 degrees and certificates during commencement. The Aviation Maintenance program, for instance, has over a 90% completion rate, with 100% of the students receiving job placements with major carriers. Delta Airlines has recognized and partnered with LCC as one of the top 43 of the best community college aviation maintenance programs in the country. LCC prepares around 75% of the nurses hired in the greater Lansing area, and our Criminal Justice and Fire Science programs have produced most of the area CJ and Fire positions.”
Analysts also found that students, who attend community colleges to get their general education credits out of the way, save roughly $12,000 or more, rather than dishing out that money at a university.