Optimal’s Guide to Online Schools Spotlights Affordable Community Colleges with Online Degrees for Uncertain Students

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New online community college rankings provide affordable online education options during the global pandemic.

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Online community colleges offer an affordable option for students who want to begin their education path at home and bypass the unpredictability of what the fall semester may bring.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted higher education to an unprecedented extent. College campuses are shut down and there are still many questions about whether they will be able to open in the fall. With the future of higher education and the economy more uncertain than ever, many students are rethinking the traditional model of a brick-and-mortar education and considering the benefits and safety of online degrees.

Online community colleges offer an affordable option for students who want to begin their education path at home and bypass the unpredictability of what the fall semester may bring. Additionally, this choice can eliminate the financial strain of a four-year, on-campus degree at a traditional university, an important consideration as students face an uncertain economy.

To assist students in finding the best option for their individual needs during this time, Optimal (formerly SR Education Group) is releasing the 2020 Best Online Community College Rankings on Guide to Online Schools. The rankings include a nationwide best overall community college ranking, as well as 41 individual state rankings.

The methodology for the rankings incorporates many factors important to the success of a community college, including retention rate, graduation rate, and the variety of programs available. Additionally, the rankings weigh the percent of students enrolled in online degrees specifically, as an indicator of the success of the college’s distance education program. These data points were all collected by the National Center of Education Statistics. Optimal researched 550 community colleges, and gave each a score based on these factors. Only schools that scored 70% or higher were included on the rankings. In order to be considered for a ranking list, community colleges need to be regionally accredited and offer at least one fully online associate degree.

"The entire education system is in an unprecedented time of upheaval and the economy is in rapid decline. Students are scared and are looking for options. Optimal wants to help these students by providing quality, affordable degree options that can be completed entirely online, allowing people to stay safe and close to family," said CEO Sung Rhee. “We understand that many people are facing hardship right now and cannot pay top-dollar for an education. We hope that our resources provide a path forward during this trying time."

The average price of the community college degrees on our ranking lists is approximately $4,000 annually, providing significantly cheaper options than traditional, campus-based degrees.

About Optimal™
Optimal helps prospective students make informed, data-driven decisions to improve their collegiate experience and their post-college careers. The company provides over 85,000 in-depth student reviews and college rankings for every major based on alumni salaries and manually researched tuitions. Optimal’s tools and services provide accessible and transparent financial data regarding cost and earning potential that give students educational paths that lead them to success, without burdening them with insurmountable debt. https://www.optimal.com

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Nicole Hopler
Optimal
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