25 Community Colleges that Advance Opportunities for Low-Income Students

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These public, two-year (community) colleges enroll over 40% low-income students at the school, and have relatively high outcomes for those students. In total, low-income students at these schools averaged at least $30,000 in earnings 10 years after they first enrolled at the school. In addition, over 70% of all borrowers at these schools were successfully repaying their loans three years after they left school. It’s important to know that both the college you select and the program you enroll in can have an impact on your post-college earnings – schools that offer more technical or health programs, or where a lot of students transfer to a four-year college, often have higher earnings. Ask the colleges you are considering attending for more information.

State Community College Share of Low-Income Students  Average Net Price  Percentage Repaying Loans Average Earnings 
California Glendale Community College 41% $3,057 77% $34,800
Connecticut Naugatuck Valley Community College 41% $6,802 75% $34,100
Connecticut Three Rivers Community College 45% $4,044 74% $31,700
Kansas Colby Community College 62% $7,822 80% $30,300
Kansas Manhattan Area Technical College 44% $13,409 78% $35,100
Kansas North Central Kansas Technical College 47% $10,933 72% $35,200
Massachusetts North Shore Community College 46% $8,150 71% $30,900
Massachusetts Quinsigamond Community College 49% $7,221 73% $32,700
Massachusetts Springfield Technical Community College 56% $8,754 73% $31,200
Maine York County Community College 46% $10,266 71% $31,300
Minnesota Minnesota State Community and Technical College 41% $11,684 70% $30,400
Minnesota Ridgewater College 43% $10,402 73% $33,300
Minnesota South Central College 48% $11,757 71% $31,700
Minnesota St Cloud Technical and Community College 45% $9,443 73% $34,400
Missouri State Technical College of Missouri 40% $9,141 83% $39,100
New Jersey Middlesex County College 44% $5,828 77% $38,600
New Jersey Union County College 44% $4,473 71% $33,200
Pennsylvania Community College of Beaver County 42% $8,893 71% $36,700
Pennsylvania Lancaster County Career and Technology Center 56% $11,589 74% $33,900
Pennsylvania Luzerne County Community College 42% $7,121 73% $31,200
Pennsylvania Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology 56% $6,968 76% $33,400
Rhode Island Community College of Rhode Island 47% $6,598 76% $30,300
South Dakota Lake Area Technical Institute 43% $11,403 87% $35,500
South Dakota Southeast Technical Institute 47% $13,644 79% $34,200
Wisconsin Chippewa Valley Technical College 44% $10,111 72% $32,400

Note: These data include only public institutions identified as less-than-four-year schools in IPEDS. In addition, calculations exclude:

  • Institutions that do not appear on the College Scorecard consumer website (e.g., institutions that do not award associate or bachelor’s degrees).
  • Institutions where fewer than 40% of students are Pell Grant recipients.
  • Institutions with fewer than 250 undergraduate degree-seeking students enrolled.
  • Institutions with missing data or small n-sizes on repayment, earnings, or graduation rate.

The list is constructed of the remaining community colleges that have a repayment rate of at least 70 percent and average earnings of at least $30,000 for students in the lowest income category (tercile). Average earnings reflect the average earnings of federal financial aid recipients 10 years after they first enrolled at the institution for the lowest income category. Repayment rate reflects the share of undergraduate student borrowers who had paid down at least $1 of their principal balance at three years after entering repayment. Net price reflects the sticker price, less any grant or scholarship aid, for all federal financial aid recipients at the school. Share of low-income students enrolled reflects the share of undergraduate students at the school who received Pell Grants. While the share of undergraduate students who received Pell Grants in a given year is a measure of the access an institution provides to low-income students, it may not capture all low-income students. Students who are undocumented immigrants or foreign nationals are not eligible to receive Pell Grants, and some low-income students may not have completed the FAFSA to receive federal aid, but those students may have similar financial circumstances to Pell recipients, or may be just on the other side of Pell eligibility, creating a cliff effect. Additionally, in some states (such as California), state financial aid may be sufficient to cover costs at community colleges, in particular; so those students may not seek or receive a Pell Grant.