The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) again received top national and regional ratings from personal finance gurus WalletHub for providing students with affordable and accessible education while maintaining a good teacher-student ratio and transfer opportunities. Maryland’s 16 community colleges ranked fourth-best overall in the nation with CSM ranking best in the state and landing in the number 15 spot out of 685 community colleges in the country – moving up from the 51st position in 2020.
WalletHub performed a state-by-state analysis to compare community colleges based on 19 metrics including cost and financing, education outcomes, and career outcomes. Drawing on WalletHub’s findings of the best and worst individual community colleges in the U.S., other states in the top 10 included Hawaii, Wyoming, Washington, New Mexico, Connecticut, North Dakota, California, South Dakota, and New York.
“It was great to wake up to this news this morning,” said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy. “This past year was especially difficult on our students and our communities and CSM’s faculty and staff worked tirelessly to support them in every way we could through the pandemic. And while it feels great to be recognized and move up in the ratings, the real spotlight belongs on our students who continue to work so hard to succeed during such challenging times.”
“University education is out of reach for many Americans, especially those from low-income households,” WalletHub stated in its findings. “But thanks to community colleges, higher education is more accessible than ever. Compared with public four-year institutions, where tuition and fees cost almost three times as much on average, community colleges offer many savings for students. Community colleges are an especially attractive option this year as many families deal with financial struggles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who initially planned on attending a private four-year college might want to consider spending two years at a community college and transferring those credits once they are in a better financial situation.”
According to WalletHub, during 2020 to 2021 academic year, tuition and fees for full-time, in-state enrollment at a public two-year college averaged $3,770 per year versus $10,560 at a public four-year institution and $37,650 at a four-year private school.
“Other than serving as an affordable, and in some cases free, option for education, community colleges have a number of attractive qualities,” the report continued. “They often provide more flexible schedules, smaller class sizes and rigorous coursework. These qualities and advantages appeal especially to students who need to balance their studies with other commitments, such as family and work.”
Read WalletHub’s full report online at https://wallethub.com/edu/e/best-worst-community-colleges/15076.