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August 19, 2019

Maine ranks No. 21 in community college system rankings, WalletHub reports

In a new WalletHub ranking of the country's best community college systems, Maine comes in at No. 21. 

The report card, released on Monday by the personal finance website, puts Maine ahead of other New England peers who were also ranked: New Hampshire was No. 28, Connecticut was No. 35 and Massachusetts was No. 37.

Rankings for Rhode Island and Vermont were not available because they are among the eight states with fewer than two community colleges, a WalletHub spokeswoman told Mainebiz via email.

Washington State was at the head of the class with a No. 1 ranking, while Pennsylvania was last at No. 42.

State rankings were based on a weighted average of scores earned by the community colleges in each state and the number of students enrolled in each school, with a total sample of 710 institutions.

The analysis looked at 19 key indicators of cost and quality including the cost of in-state tuition and fees, student-faculty ratios and graduation rates.

Researchers note that while community colleges are much more affordable than public four-year institutions, some states make community college even more accessible through tuition breaks for residents.

"Such initiatives are providing to be more critical than ever," the authors concluded, "with college tuition increases outpacing inflation and the need for post-secondary training in most jobs expected to grow through 2020. Community colleges will be able to help with that demand."

A separate list ranks 2019's best and worst community colleges, and notes that individual institutions can vary in quality and affordability.

Within Maine, Washington County Community College had the highest score, followed by Central Maine Community College, Kennebec Valley Community College, Eastern Maine Community College, Southern Maine Community College and York County Community College.

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