A new survey of the best and worst community colleges was not very kind to Central and Upstate New York.

How bad are our community colleges?  WalletHub ranked New York's 30 institutions and, unfortunately, Central and Upstate NY didn't do so hot.

In fact, the highest-rated school in our area was Jefferson Community College in Watertown. It was ranked in 18th place.


Rochester's Monroe Community College appears next on the list in 19th place, followed by Batavia's Genesee Community College in 20th place.

Central New York finally cracks the list with Onondaga Community College in Syracuse placing 25th overall. Herkimer County Community College earned a spot directly below it.

Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica fared even worse and appeared in the bottom three, coming in 28th place while Jamestown Community College placed 29th.

The educational institution coming in dead last was Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden.

Why did Central and Upstate NY do so poorly?

WalletHub based its ratings on several key factors, but put the most emphasis on a community college's cost and the quality of its education. Other key metrics included accessibility, student-faculty ratio, career outcomes, and graduation rate.

Graduation hat with degree paper on a stack of book

In all, WalletHub surveyed 668 community colleges and used that data to create a list comparing states based on the quality of their education systems.

Overall, New York didn't do so bad. In fact, the Empire State had the 17th best community college system - but the number was buoyed by the Capital Region as well as schools around the Big Apple and Western NY.

Interestingly, WalletHub claimed the country's second-best community college was based in New York: Manhattan Area Technical College.

Additionally, Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson was found to have the lowest student-loan default rate in the nation.

What does this mean for Central and Upstate New York?

WalletHub noted an increasing number of students are seeking an education at community colleges because private universities are becoming too expensive.

One popular plan has students attending community college for two years before finishing their degree at their dream school.


That said, this WalletHub survey might scare off prospective students from applying to places in Central and Upstate New York.

Community colleges are an especially attractive option this year as many families deal with financial struggles caused by high inflation. 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.

As for how our local colleges feel about this new rating? It'd be foolish not to think that this new ranking made blood boil and steam come out of ears.

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