When does it become passe' or mundane to receive kudos for doing something well? I don't think it ever does, especially when you consider that South Dakota tends to be overlooked a great deal of the time. So if those smarty-pants researchers at WalletHub want to congratulate us for having some outstanding community colleges, so be it!

Not only did two South Dakota community colleges make it into the top 35, but South Dakota's community college system is ranked number two in the country overall!

Mitchell Technical Institute attained the number 8 position in the country and Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown was 31st in this year's study of the Best & Worst Community Colleges.

The top 5 states in the Best & Worst Community College Systems were:

  1. Washington
  2. South Dakota
  3. Minnesota
  4. Colorado
  5. Arkansas

Why is this news so important? In a world where it has become increasingly more difficult for students and their families to afford traditional four-year university educations, community colleges are stepping up to fill a void. And, they're doing it at a substantially lower cost.

Tuition and fees for a full-time student at a public four-year university during the 2018 to 2019 academic year averaged $10,320, for a four-year private school, $35,830. But for a public two-year college, it was $3,660. Students who start at a community college and then transfer to a 4-year school could save a lot of money.

Not to mention that they will find smaller class sizes, flexible schedules, and rigorous coursework.

WalletHub took into account in-state tuition and fees, student-to-faculty ratios, student loan default rates, rates of graduation and return on educational investment rates among other statistics, when putting together these two studies.

Source: WalletHub

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