HONOLULU (KHON2) – Students are back in their classrooms for another year of school. Whether you are in elementary, middle or high school it’s important to know your options when thinking about higher education.

A new study by WalletHub, a free credit score website, ranked the states with the best and worst community colleges. They used metrics like how many community colleges are available in one state, the number of students who attend the community colleges and the state with the highest average corresponds. 

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Kauai Community College was placed as being one of the top 20 community colleges in the country and Hawaii was ranked the 5th best state for students interested in community colleges.

Everrett Smith with the University of Cincinnati said many community colleges around the country are looking into reducing tuition costs and making community college tuition free.

“A tuition-free community college will likely create an additional level of access for students who would have solely selected the workforce rather than pursuing higher education full-time or while working,” said Smith. “Completion has historically been a challenge for many community colleges and is tied to the financial costs of attendance.”

He said community colleges are good about offering new programs that address financial needs like college promise programs, spur growth in enrollment and graduation metrics. 

“Similar programs and policies, as part of broader enrollment strategies, can contribute to hikes in enrollment and positive trends in completion rates over time, especially among full-time students,” said Smith. 

He said there are more than 1,000 community colleges in the United States and many of them serve non-tradition students. 

Community colleges hold special classes for specific careers like firefighters, police officers, paramedics and more. 

“Community colleges are poised for a positive future,” said Smith. “Politicians, policymakers, and job creators are paying close attention to the economic indicators of a downturn. Nonetheless, community colleges remain catalysts for access, and if they continue to leverage their position in the higher education landscape, they will have a positive growth outlook”

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To read the full study on states with the best and worst community colleges head to WalletHub’s website