For Immediate Release
September 2, 2015
In a newly released list of the best and worst community colleges in the nation by WalletHub.com, Lower Columbia College received the top ranking in Washington State, coming in at number 22.
WalletHub.org based their rankings on 17 relevant metrics in four dimensions, including 1) Cost & Financing, 2) Classroom Experience, 3) Education Outcomes and 4) Career Outcomes.
Several metrics in the Classroom Experience dimension are based on the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), a nationally normed survey conducted by the University of Texas at Austin. LCC participates in the CCSSE on a regular basis, and uses the results to make improvements to programs and services on campus. In the most recent survey administration, LCC compared quite favorably to other community colleges in the country across all benchmark areas in the survey.
LCC receives top ranking in Washington State.
Cost & Financing
Many other metrics in the analysis appear to have been based on data that LCC submits to the U.S. Department of Education as part of normal reporting processes. In the Cost & Financing dimension, for example, metrics include such things as the cost of in-state tuition and fees, and the total amount of state and local aid divided by the total amount of federal aid. Related metrics, such as the cost per student, are calculations based on these data elements.
The Education Outcomes dimension measures student retention, graduation and transfer-out rates. It also measures the number of degrees and certificates awarded per 100 Full-Time Equivalent Students. This information is also based on data that is submitted by LCC as part of normal reporting processes.
Career Outcomes measures the ratio of starting salaries for graduates to the cost of education, and also incorporates the student-loan default rate (the proportion of students who took out student loans but did not keep up with required payments after graduation).
Although not included in the metrics used by WalletHub.org, LCC also has one of the highest median wage rates of recent associate degree graduates in the Washington Community & Technical College System. According to the Education Research and Data Center, LCC had the seventh highest rate in the state--falling just behind several colleges in the Seattle area.