In time for the start of a new school year, the results of a study were released analyzing and ranking the best and worst community colleges in the country.
Compared to other states, Illinois falls a little short on the list of best colleges in the report by personal finance website WalletHub. Overall, Illinois ranked 34th as a state, but only one college in the state made it into the top 100.
The highest ranking community college in Illinois, according to the study, is Shawnee Community College in Ullin, which is located in the far southern part of the state near Kentucky. The college ranked No. 92 overall, but it came in an impressive first place in the "career outcomes" category. The school's overall rank was much lower than No. 1 because its rank in the other categories — No. 481 in cost and financing, No. 64 in classroom experience and No. 214 in education outcomes.
A total of 19 schools, including Shawnee Community College, made the top 500:
Shawnee Community College (92)
Kankakee Community College (188)
Carl Sandburg College (194)
Olive-Harvey College (221)
College of Lake County (250)
Elgin Community College (304)
Harper College (327)
Spoon River College (343)
Rend Lake College (366)
Morton College (377)
Illinois Valley Community College (381)
Kennedy-King College (412)
McHenry County College (427)
Lake Land College (438)
Prairie State College (460)
Highland Community College (481)
Truman College (494)
Lincoln Land Community College (494)
Oakton Community College (498)
Another Chicago school — Richard J. Daley College — did not make the top 500 list, but it was highlighted for its low cost for students (No. 651). It was also listed as the school with the highest student-to-faculty ratio out of all 670 schools ranked.
WalletHub rated schools based on several factors, including cost of in-state tuition, fees, student-faculty ratio, overall classroom experience and education and career outcomes.
The top 10 community colleges are, in order, North Florida Community College, Dine College in Arizona, Chipola College in Florida, Northwest College in Wyoming, Taft College in California, Itawamba Community College in Mississippi, Southwestern Community College in North Carolina, Guttman Community College in New York, Patrick Henry Community College in Virginia and Southwest Virginia Community College in Virginia.
A second list ranking the best states for community colleges named Mississippi as No. 1, followed by North Dakota and Wyoming.