The Great Manhattan region’s very own Manhattan Area Technical College (MATC) hit it out of the park with an impressive No. 4 spot on WalletHub’s 2022 Best & Worst Community Colleges list.
“One of the main reasons Manhattan Area Technical College is the fourth best community college in the U.S. is the fact that it offers employment services as a means of helping students with the costs of their education,” Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst, said. “Other factors that contributed to the college’s high ranking include its 69% graduation rate, which is fifth highest overall. Additionally, the college offers accelerated programs, flexible options for distance, weekend and evening students, and ‘credit for life experiences’ where work, volunteering and certain trainings can be converted into academic credits.”
When it comes to weighing community college options, WalletHub has done some of the hard work and determined which schools allow students to obtain an excellent education while also offering them an affordable price. To do this, WalletHub focused on three main categories — cost and financing, education outcomes and career outcomes — for over 650 community colleges across the U.S.
Gonzales offered some insight into how the three groupings are broken down.
"Some of the most important metrics included in the ‘cost and financing’ category are the presence or absence of legislation to provide free community college education, as well as the cost of in-state tuition and required fees,” Gonzales said. “’Education outcomes’ includes metrics such as retention rate, graduation rate, the number of credentials awarded and the student-faculty ratio. It essentially refers to the quality of education provided by community colleges. And finally, the ‘career outcomes’ category assesses financial opportunities that community college graduates are able to access through metrics like the student loan default rate and the median salary after attending."
With these elements in mind, WalletHub then calculates a score for each school using a point system to determine the rankings. Ranked at No. 4, MATC’s total score was 67 based on a 100-point scale, just shy of the 71.02 score for the No. 1 ranked college, State Technical College of Missouri.
According to Jim Genandt, president and CEO of MATC, this impressive ranking helps validate the effectiveness of MATC in providing an excellent education to its students.
“I’m not totally surprised with the results,” Genandt said. “When you bring together the support of our staff and the hard work of our faculty to help students learn — in conjunction with the local employers who engage in our technical programs — amazing things can happen, and our students’ success and these rankings are even more proof of that.”
Genandt also shared that an impressive 86% of MATC’s graduates remain in the Manhattan area, which contributes to the economic success of the region. Daryn Soldan, director of economic development for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the strength of MATC is a definite draw for businesses considering the region for relocation or expansion.
“MATC provides employers in the local region with a highly skilled workforce,” Soldan said. “Not only that, but the college also works with organizations — such as our newest employer Scorpion Biological Services Inc. — to create customized training for a specific industry or employer’s needs.”
To learn more about these rankings, view WalletHub’s 2022 Best & Worst Community Colleges list here.