The Most Affordable Community Colleges in Every State in 2024

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One of the biggest personal financial decisions in the United States for young people or for those looking to further their education comes down to the question of which college or university to attend.

Although many students think that higher education in the education system only includes a four-year state college, community colleges remain a crucial option for those seeking quality education at an affordable price. These institutions offer educational programs from associate degrees to vocational training, often at a fraction of the cost of larger universities.

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The community college system offers numerous benefits, making it an attractive option for many in-state students. Here are some key benefits:

  • Cost and affordability of community colleges: Community college students generally have lower tuition rates compared to what they would pay at a four-year college or institution, making higher education accessible to a broader population. This affordability helps reduce the student debt burden that many face right after high school.

  • Flexible planning: Like junior colleges, many of these public institutions offer flexible scheduling options, including night, weekend, and online classes, for students who have work or family commitments.

  • Smaller classes: Community colleges often have smaller classes, more personal attention and support from faculty.

  • Transfer options: Many programs have agreements with four-year universities, making it easier for students to transfer credits and continue their education toward a bachelor’s degree once they complete a few lower-cost years at community colleges.

  • Career-oriented training: These institutions often focus on practical, career-oriented training and prepare students for immediate entry into the job market in areas such as healthcare, technology and skilled trades. Technical college programs offer a fast track to better-paying jobs.

These community colleges offer students in every state the opportunity to pursue higher education without the burden of excessive debt or having to pay back exorbitant interest on student loans.

By offering quality education at an affordable price, they play a crucial role in making higher education accessible to everyone. Whether you want to earn an associate degree, gain job skills, or transfer to a four-year college, these institutions provide a solid foundation for your educational and career aspirations.

GOBankingRates conducted a survey to determine the most affordable community college in each state. Here are some interesting findings:

  • Of the most affordable schools, Alaska has the most expensive community college, with Ilisagvik College costing a total of $21,790.

  • California has the cheapest option in Antelope Valley Community College District at $2,024

Here’s a look at the best financial option in each state this year, giving students budget-friendly options for higher education.

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Deatsville, Alabama

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Barrow, Alaska

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Kingman, Ariz

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Newport, Arkansas

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Lancaster, California

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Greley, Colo

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Norwalk, Connecticut

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Dover, Delaware

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Tallahassee, Florida

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Waycross, Georgia

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Honolulu, Hawaii

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Nampa, Idaho

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Ina, Illinois

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Indianapolis, Indiana

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Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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Overland Park, Kansas

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Ashland, KY

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Alexandria, Louisiana

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Fairfield, Maine

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Baltimore, Maryland

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Danvers, MA

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Mount Pleasant, MI

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Cassmeer, Minnesota

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Clarksdale, Mississippi

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Cottleville, MO

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Poplar, Montana

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Macy, Nebraska

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Reno, Nev

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Claremont, New Hampshire

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Blackwood, NJ

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Clovis, New Mexico

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New York City, New York

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Williamston, North Carolina

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Fort Totten, North Dakota

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Kirtland, OH

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Tillamook, Ore

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Warren, Pa

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Warwick, Rhode Island

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Kingstree, South Carolina

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Mitchell, South Dakota

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Nashville, Tenn

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Port Arthur, Texas

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Salt Lake City, Utah

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Montpelier, Vermont

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Melfa, Virginia

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Bellingham, Washington

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Wheeling, West Virginia

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Wausau, Wisconsin

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Casper, WY

For the methodology of this study, GOBankingRates analyzed colleges from across the country to find community colleges and their associated costs. Using the college data from the Institute of Education Science National Center for Education Statistics summary tables and filtering to display only colleges that are public schools, award bachelor’s and associate degrees at least 50% of the time, and associate degrees or lower certificates, resulting in 980 community colleges. Using the colleges and their costs, the cheapest total costs for community colleges in each state were recorded. A number of costs have been registered for each college, including; room and board, tuition and fees, books and supplies, other expenses and the total costs. All data was collected on and is current as of May 23, 2024.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Most Affordable Community Colleges in Every State in 2024