College Rankings & Accreditation

Are you attending one of the best community colleges? Do rankings matter? From the best schools in the US to those losing accreditation, we’ll provide you with the latest resources on community college rankings.
View the most popular articles in College Rankings & Accreditation:
Updated May 30, 2017 |
Top Five Community Colleges Announced
The final results are in for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. We’ll report on the top five community colleges in the country and how they made the grade.
After a full year of carefully assessing community colleges around the country, the Aspen Institute has recognized the top five performing schools with acclaim and hefty financial prizes. The awards were announced at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., where educators, business leaders and lawmakers were all in attendance. These five schools represent a broad base of institutions of higher education, in terms of demographics, location and areas of specialization.
 

About the Aspen Institute Award

The Aspen Institute began their quest for the top community college with a short list of 1,000 community colleges across the country. According to the Aspen Institute website, colleges were assessed on the following criteria:

  • Student Learning
  • Degree Completion and Transfer Rates
  • Equity in Education
  • Employment and Earning Potential after College
Improvement was also an area of careful scrutiny, particularly in regards to completion rates. With these factors in mind, the Aspen Institute was able to narrow the initial list of 1,000 schools to 120 by this past spring. From there, the organization chose 10 finalists to award prizes; one top school was awarded $600,000, four runners-up each received $100,000, and five additional schools each received a glass trophy for their efforts.
 
The Focus on Community Colleges
 
The role of community colleges in higher education has long been underestimated, but President Obama breathed new life into these institutions when he set an ambitious goal of graduating eight million more students from college by 2020. To achieve that goal, the President has said time and time again that community
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Updated May 11, 2017 |
Are You Attending a Top 10% Community College?
How well is your community college ranked? We analyze the Aspen Institute's top 10% community college rankings to see where your current or prospective campus stands.
Community colleges have come to the forefront of higher education in recent years, since President Obama has made them one of the priorities for his administration. To help the process along, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program recently published a list of what it calls the nation's 120 best community colleges – which is the top 10 percent of all community colleges in the country. This list comes after extensive data collecting and analysis that attempted to accommodate the broad variations within community colleges while adhering to a general standardization that accurately compares schools.
 

The Contest for Top Spot

Now that the top 10% college list has been completed, the Aspen Institute hopes to continue the process by choosing 10 colleges out of the original 120. From the list of 10, the organization will select a single, top-performing school to award a $1 million  for excellence in school performance. According to the Aspen Institute's website, the purpose of the contest is to raise awareness of the value of community colleges, as well as reward those institutions that are committed to maintaining the highest standards of excellence in their educational pursuits.

To help them achieve this goal, the Aspen Institute recently appointed a high-profile jury to select the 10 finalists for the prize. The co-chairs of the jury are former Michigan Governor John Engler and former Secretary of Education Richard Riley. Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended the announcement event. The Aspen prize had
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Updated May 30, 2017 |
When Community Colleges are at Risk of Losing Accreditation
Not all community colleges are created equal, and some may just be on the verge of losing their accreditation. Witness the turmoil and recovery in the battle for accreditation at several community colleges.
Community colleges are available in nearly every city across the United States, helping high school graduates and professional adults alike get the training and education they need to succeed in their chosen careers. A key component in a quality education from a community college is the school's accreditation that ensures the degree and education received will be recognized by other schools and professional industries. However, not all community colleges successfully keep their accreditation status intact, leaving students and faculty scrambling to legitimize the education process without this important stamp of approval.
 

What is Accreditation?

According to the Maryland Higher Education Commission, accreditation is "a voluntary process of self-regulation and peer review adopted by the educational community." This means that educational institutions have agreed to evaluate one another to determine whether each has successfully achieved its stated educational goals.

When a school is accredited, it has been proven to provide a quality of education recognized by the educational community at large. Accredited schools are better recognized for their coursework and credits earned, and students who attend these institutions are more likely to be able to receive financial aid or transfer credits to another college or university.
 
It is important to note that while there are a number of different types of accreditation available to colleges today, the only legitimate accreditation organizations are recognized by the United States Department of Education. Not all colleges that are approved by their states are accredited as well. Prospective students should always ask whether
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Updated February 22, 2017 |
Is Your Community College Top Ranked?
A new ranking of community colleges across the country has just been released, and the results have been met with both appreciation and chagrin. Learn about the rankings and whether or not they matter in your pursuit of a quality community college education.
Finding a community college can be a challenging prospect today, with many states boasting a large number of colleges that all promise the best training for today's workforce. Students may be hard-pressed to find reliable information about the various colleges in their areas, with little concrete information provided outside of the institutions themselves.  While Community College Review's goal is to provide students with concrete, valuable information on individual community colleges, a recent ranking of community colleges is stirring both appreciation and controversy. 

One publication, Washington Monthly, has created a simple ranking system of the top community colleges in the country.  Which community colleges are at the top of the list – and do the Washington Monthly’s rankings truly matter? 
 
The Rankings and the Controversy
 
Washington Monthly recently released its most recent rankings on community colleges across the country to the delight of many prospective students – and the chagrin of many educators who know better than to heed rankings alone when choosing a college. The publication offers a listing of the top 50 community colleges in the nation, based on a wide range of criteria and information taken from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement.
 
Interestingly, CCSSE is one of the most vocal opponents to Washington Monthly's rankings. In a press release issued shortly after the publication of the rankings, CCSSE director Kay McClenney states, “We commend the Washington Monthly for recognizing the importance of community colleges to America’s future, and we have long sought to prompt
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