Best Online Community Colleges

Online education is accessible, convenient, flexible, affordable and efficient. But it also takes more responsibility and self-motivation. Students taking online classes have a greater responsibility for their own success than students in traditional classroom settings.

Updated August 24, 2022

Best Online Community Colleges

Are you ready to find your fit?

There are many reasons online education has grown so much in the past several years. Expanding technology and more available internet access has opened up doors for online education that once were not available to many.

In fact, lots of people who could not otherwise attend college are able to take college courses and even obtain college degrees thanks to the growth of online education. There simply is no other option for them.

Still more students, who could take online or on-campus courses, now have more options available to them. Online courses allow them to fit college into their complex work and family schedules. For them, online education is a more convenient option.

Flexibility in scheduling isn't just confined to what hours on the clock you'll take online classes or earn an online degree. Many students are better engaged in their course work because they can log on when they are ready, not when a class schedule says it's time to get to work. But not only are they convenient and flexible, online classes can save money on gas, bus fare, and babysitting costs. And online courses can save time.

Think of all the time you spend driving to campus in traffic, finding a parking space, walking to class; then you still have to get home! With online classes you can be actually working on your class instead of spending so much time getting there.​

Online education is accessible, convenient, flexible, affordable and efficient. But it also takes more responsibility and self-motivation. Students taking online classes have a greater responsibility for their own success than students in traditional classroom settings. A successful online learner is...

Online students must be able to log in regularly, find details about assignments, and seek out help when needed.

Online students must be able to work on a schedule without getting behind.

Online students must set aside enough time to each course. Online classes require at least as much time as traditional classes, and often more. A typical 3-credit online course can easily require 9-12 hours per week.

Online classes require more reading and writing than traditional, on-campus classes where more can be communicated verbally.

Online students must be comfortable sending and receiving e-mail, navigating web pages, and using computer software, such as word processors.

Online students must have convenient, dependable access to a computer that meets the technical requirements of the school’s learning management system.

There are also many good reasons to attend a community college. These reasons often align with a student’s reasons for choosing online education. Convenience, flexibility, affordability, and efficiency have always been hallmarks of community colleges. The nation’s 1600-plus community colleges have been leading the way for a long time in these very things.

Check out College Choice's ranking of the Best Community Colleges.

As the name implies, community colleges serve communities. They grant two-year associate degrees, certificates, credentials, and diplomas that prepare graduates for a fulfilling career or successful transfer to a baccalaureate program. Many offer continuing and adult education courses. Some offer dual-credit programs to area high school students.

In these ways and many more, community colleges—often called junior colleges, city colleges, or technical colleges—have a tremendous impact on their region and its population. And now with the tremendous growth and quality of online education at these institutions that have been at the front line of student service for years, community colleges find their reach well beyond their service areas.

What Are the Best Online Community Colleges?

College Choice has correlated data from Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program and individual community colleges to compile a list of the 30 best community colleges offering online associate degrees. We considered several factors in developing an institutional performance score, including first year retention rates, three-year graduation rates, credentials awarded, etc.

We also factored percentage of non-traditional and minority students, percentage of Pell grants, and minority graduation rates in order to create a diversity score. Finally we compared online tuition rates to give us a sense of the financial investment students would need to make.

Since much of the focus at College Choice is on helping you choose a college, we did not consider schools that did not offer any online associate degrees. Online courses offer greater flexibility, but those schools offering degrees online increase their appeal to those students wanting more than just a few courses here and there. For that reason, schools were given a procedural bump based on the number of associate degree programs they offered fully online. In the end, we believe these thirty schools represent the best of what can be a wise decision for many prospective college students.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

#1 Best Online Community Colleges

Cowley County Community College

  • Arkansas City, KS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Cowley County Community College is a wise choice for students seeking flexible online study. Presently, the institution boasts three online programs, reaching 1,489 distance learners across the globe.

Students connect with faculty, peers, and staff through a virtual learning environment, where they receive support and guidance. Through coursework and experiential learning opportunities, students gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their industry of choice. Enrollees can benefit from academic advising, career services, and other learning resources.

Prospective applicants should meet with the admissions office to discuss application materials and admission requirements. Eligible students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid toward tuition and other educational expenses. Approximately 100% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,040
Out-of-state
$3,480
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,463
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Community Colleges

Walla Walla Community College

  • Walla Walla, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Walla Walla Community College offers a premier online education, guaranteeing flexibility for students from all walks of life. Presently, the institution boasts three online degrees, reaching 1,177 distance learners across the globe.

Students benefit from a supportive online learning community, where they connect with fellow distance learners and faculty through a virtual classroom setting. Through coursework and experiential learning opportunities, enrollees gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their industry of choice. A leader in student success, the college connects learners with academic advising, career services, and other success-oriented resources.

Prospective enrollees can meet with the Office of Admissions to discuss admission requirements, application materials ,and other information. Eligible students can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. The college reports that 81% of the student body receives financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,700
Out-of-state
$6,200
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,671
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#3 Best Online Community Colleges

Flint Hills Technical College

  • Emporia, KS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Flint Hills Technical College, located in Emporia, Kansas, provides online degrees for distance learners worldwide. Students can connect with 235 online enrollees across seven online programs.

Learners receive support throughout their studies, learning alongside peers in a virtual classroom environment. Distance learners complete general education and advanced coursework to satisfy curriculum requirements. Students can pursue experiential learning opportunities relevant to their field. Enrollees can connect with career services, academic advising, and other learning resources to receive guidance during their studies.

Prospective learners should connect with the financial aid office or their program of interest to learn about degree requirements, application materials, and other information. Enrollees can connect with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities to make their education more affordable. According to the institution, 89% of all incoming learners receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,512
Out-of-state
$4,512
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,514
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
16% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Community Colleges

Illinois Eastern Community College-System Office

  • Olney, IL
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Students seeking a premier distance learning education should consider Illinois Eastern Community College-System Office.

Learners connect with faculty, peers, and staff through a virtual learning environment, where they receive support and guidance. Enrollees gain knowledge in and outside of the classroom through coursework, research projects, and internships. A leader in student success, the college connects learners with academic advising, career services, and other success-oriented resources.

Prospective applicants should meet with the admissions office to discuss admission requirements. Students can meet with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities, such as scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. The percentage of admitted students who receive financial aid is unknown.

Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
Not provided
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
No

#5 Best Online Community Colleges

Herkimer County Community College

  • Herkimer, NY
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners seeking flexible online study should consider Herkimer County Community College. The institution supports 861 online enrollees across numerous learning tracks.

Students connect with faculty, peers, and staff through a virtual learning environment, where they receive support and guidance. Learners complete foundational and advanced classes relevant to their field of interest. They can pursue experiential learning opportunities, like internships, to deepen their knowledge. Throughout their studies, enrollees can access career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources.

Prospective applicants can discuss admission requirements and degree eligibility with the Office of Admissions. Enrollees can meet with the financial aid office to explore scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid packages. Of all learners, 83% receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,870
Out-of-state
$7,500
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,396
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#6 Best Online Community Colleges

South Texas College

  • McAllen, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

South Texas College offers a variety of distance learning opportunities across numerous programs. The school supports 8,436 distance learners across 31 online programs.

A leader in online education, the college offers three online bachelor's programs. Students learn alongside fellow distance learners in a virtual classroom environment, where they connect with faculty and staff. Enrollees complete foundational and advanced classes relevant to their field of interest. They can pursue experiential learning opportunities, like internships, to deepen their knowledge. Enrollees also receive guidance from academic advising, career services, and other resources.

Prospective students can schedule an appointment with the admissions office to inquire about degree requirements and application materials. Students can meet with the financial aid office to determine eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards. The college reports that 89% of learners receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,610
Out-of-state
$6,000
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
33,054
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Online Community Colleges

Santa Barbara City College

  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Santa Barbara City College is a public college, supporting online degrees from its main campus in Santa Barbara, California. Students can choose from one online program and join the school's 6,007-person online learning community.

Enrollees connect with faculty and staff through a virtual classroom environment while learning alongside classmates and attending remote lectures. Distance learners gain knowledge in and outside of the classroom through coursework, research projects, and internships. Throughout their program, distance learners can connect with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources to prepare them for success after college.

Applications should consult the admissions office to discuss degree requirements and application materials. Qualifying students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid to offset degree costs. According to the college, 42% of all incoming students receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,380
Out-of-state
$8,140
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
14,133
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
No

#8 Best Online Community Colleges

Florida State College at Jacksonville

  • Jacksonville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students from all walks of life can benefit from Florida State College at Jacksonville's flexible online programs. The public institution supports 36 online degrees from its main campus in Jacksonville, reaching 18,110 remote students.

Enrollees connect with classmates, faculty, and staff through a virtual classroom setting. Students gain knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their field through classes, internships, and other learning opportunities. The college connects learners with institutional resources geared toward student success, such as career services and academic advising.

Prospective enrollees can meet with the Office of Admissions to discuss admission requirements and other application materials. Eligible students can receive internal and external funding to defray the costs of education. According to the institution, 71% of all incoming enrollees receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,095
Out-of-state
$7,947
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
24,605
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
74% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Online Community Colleges

Central Community College

  • Grand Island, NE
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Central Community College, located in Grand Island, Nebraska, guarantees flexibility through its online programs. To date, the institution supports 14 online degrees, reaching 2,971 remote learners.

Students benefit from a supportive learning community while connecting with colleagues and faculty through a virtual classroom environment. Distance learners gain knowledge in and outside of the classroom through coursework, research projects, and internships. A leader in student success, the college connects enrollees with academic advising, career services, and other success-oriented resources.

Applicants should consult the admissions office to discuss degree requirements and application materials. Students seeking to defray educational costs can meet with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities. Around 87% of all incoming enrollees receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,700
Out-of-state
$4,050
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,368
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Best Online Community Colleges

Northcentral Technical College

  • Wausau, WI
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Northcentral Technical College, a public college, supports flexible online learning opportunities for students worldwide. The public institution offers 62 degrees from its main campus in Wausau, Wisconsin, attracting 3,259 distance learners across the globe.

Students receive support throughout their program, learning alongside peers in a virtual classroom environment. Enrollees gain industry-relevant knowledge through coursework, internships, and other learning opportunities. Students can benefit from learning resources, academic advising, and career services throughout their studies.

To learn more about Northcentral Technical College's degree requirements, interested applicants can meet with the admissions office. At the college, 70% of all enrollees receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,276
Out-of-state
$4,914
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,177
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#11 Best Online Community Colleges

Southern Arkansas University Tech

  • Camden, AR
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Students from all walks of life can benefit from Southern Arkansas University Tech's flexible online degrees. Learners near and far can join the school's growing online learning community of 366 distance learners across 16 remote programs.

Enrollees learn alongside fellow distance learners in a virtual classroom environment, where they connect with faculty and staff. Distance learners gain knowledge in and outside of the classroom through coursework, research projects, and internships. Throughout their program, distance learners can connect with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources to prepare them for success after college.

Prospective applicants should consult the admissions office to discuss degree requirements and application materials. Eligible students can apply scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid toward their learning expenses. Of all students, 75% benefit from financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,240
Out-of-state
$4,680
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,102
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#12 Best Online Community Colleges

Anoka-Ramsey Community College

  • Coon Rapids, MN
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Anoka-Ramsey Community College provides online degrees for distance learners worldwide. The public institution supports eight degrees from its main campus in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, attracting 3,381 distance learners across the globe.

Enrollees join a supportive online learning community where they connect with classmates and faculty through a virtual classroom setting. Learners complete general and advanced coursework, with the option to modify classes and select major electives, minors, and degree concentrations. Students can receive guidance through career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources.

Interested applicants should meet with the admissions office to learn more about program requirements. Eligible learners can apply for scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards to offset the costs of study. Of all enrollees, 75% receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,479
Out-of-state
$4,479
Retention Rate
56%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
8,804
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#13 Best Online Community Colleges

Rend Lake College

  • Ina, IL
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Rend Lake College provides flexible online study options for learners from all walks of life.

Online enrollees join a supportive online learning community, connecting with fellow classmates and faculty through a virtual classroom setting. Distance learners gain knowledge in and outside of the classroom through coursework, research projects, and internships. Students can connect with academic advising, career services, and other resources throughout their studies.

Interested applicants should connect with the financial aid office or their program of interest to learn about degree requirements, application materials, and other information. Students can meet with the financial aid office to determine eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid awards. According to the institution, 87% of all students receive some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,250
Out-of-state
$6,000
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,287
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#14 Best Online Community Colleges

Tyler Junior College

  • Tyler, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Tyler Junior College offers a premier online education, guaranteeing flexibility for students from all walks of life. The school supports 4,067 distance learners across 17 online degrees.

Students learn alongside fellow distance learners in a virtual classroom environment, where they connect with faculty and staff. Enrollees receive a well-rounded education by completing industry-relevant coursework, with the option to pursue internships, faculty-led research projects, and other experiential learning opportunities. Throughout their program, distance learners can connect with academic advising, career services, and other institutional resources to prepare them for success after college.

Interested applicants can meet with the Office of Admissions to discuss admission requirements and degree eligibility. Qualifying students can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid. About 76% of all incoming students receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,160
Out-of-state
$2,736
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,323
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#15 Best Online Community Colleges

Brazosport College

  • Lake Jackson, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Brazosport College is a wise choice for students seeking flexible online study. Distance learners can choose from three online degrees and join the school's 1,339-person online learning community.

Students benefit from a supportive learning community while connecting with colleagues and faculty through a virtual classroom environment. Enrollees gain industry-relevant knowledge through coursework, internships, and other learning opportunities. Students can benefit from learning resources, academic advising, and career services throughout their studies.

Applicants should consult the admissions office to discuss degree requirements and application materials. Students can meet with the financial aid office to determine eligibility for scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid. About 57% of all incoming students receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,622
Out-of-state
$4,052
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,217
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#16 Best Online Community Colleges

American University

  • Washington, DC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$49,070
Out-of-state
$49,070
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
36%
Students Enrolled
14,318
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#17 Best Online Community Colleges

Anderson University

  • Anderson, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$30,700
Out-of-state
$30,700
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
1,567
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#18 Best Online Community Colleges

Angelo State University

  • San Angelo, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,332
Out-of-state
$14,460
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
10,568
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#19 Best Online Community Colleges

Anne Arundel Community College

  • Arnold, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$11,850
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,655
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#20 Best Online Community Colleges

Arapahoe Community College

  • Littleton, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$3,574
Out-of-state
$14,662
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,759
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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