Aims Community College (Greeley)
More than 6,200 students attend classes each semester at Aims Community College, with nearly 94 percent enrolled on a part-time basis. Along with the main location in Greeley, the institution maintains secondary campuses in Loveland, Windsor and Fort Lupton.
Aims may be one of the best community colleges in Colorado for high school graduates looking to earn their first few semesters of college credit at a discount. In-district tuition and fees averaged roughly $1,800 in 2018, and more than 60 percent of students are 21 years of age or younger.
The degree catalog here features a wide range of options in agriculture and animal science, including an associate degree in agribusiness and multiple certificates in precision agriculture. Transfer agreement programs include science, English and art history.
Front Range Community College (Westminster)
Front Range Community College is the largest two-year school in Colorado, educating nearly 19,000 students each term. Those hoping to avoid big crowds on campus shouldn't worry, though — the total enrollment of nearly 20,000 students is spread comfortably among four brick-and-mortar locations.
Fort Collins is home to the largest campus of the four, educating upwards of 8,400 students each year. The flagship FRCC campus in Westminster serves more than 7,800 students, while the closer-knit advanced technology campus in Longmont had around 3,500 on its rolls in 2018.
Students here have a large selection of traditional college majors to choose from, including physics, sociology, political science, English, math and music. The catalog of technical subjects is vast as well, featuring veterinary technology, optics technology and emergency medical technician (EMT) programs, among others.
Community College of Aurora (Aurora)
Founded in 1983, the Community College of Aurora educates close to 8,000 degree-seeking students each year. The 2018-19 headcount showed that high school students taking concurrent enrollment classes make up around 40 percent of that total, which may be a big part of why 88 percent of CCA students attend part time.
This suburban institution in the Denver metro area is also one of the more diverse schools on our list. No single demographic group represents a majority of CCA students, and more than 60 percent of those enrolled in 2018 came from non-European backgrounds.
Students hoping for some extra flexibility can find nearly 20 study plans available fully online. The list of online subjects includes transfer degrees in anthropology, psychology, economics and Spanish alongside five career certificates.
Morgan Community College (Fort Morgan)
Morgan Community College was founded in 1970 with just one instructor and one available course, but it joined the state system three years later and has since grown into an institution that serves more than 1,200 students each term.
The service area for MCC covers close to 11,500 square miles across eastern Colorado, but most students don't have to travel too far to get to class. The institution has additional campuses and learning centers in Bennet, Burlington, Limon and Wray, and online courses are available through Colorado Community Colleges Online (CCCOnline).
Programs in the skilled trades at MCC include electrical mechanical technology, welding, automotive service technology and collision repair. Business certificates are available in subjects like supervision, real estate and office support.
Lamar Community College (Lamar)
Founded in 1937, Lamar Community College is one of the oldest and member institutions of the CCCS. It's also the smallest, educating fewer than 800 learners in 2018, so students who crave an intimate campus and close-knit learning environment may want to take a close look at their options here.
The associate degree catalog at LCC contains a variety of strong choices for today's students, including a wide range of modern agriculture programs and an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree in renewable energy technologies. Around 25 career-focused certificates are available as well.
This southeastern Colorado institution participates in ten statewide transfer agreements. Students at LCC also have access to online transfer plans that can allow them to earn a bachelor's degree without relocating to their destination school.
Colorado Northwestern Community College (Rangely)
Colorado Northwestern Community College may not have the largest degree catalog among the best Colorado community colleges, but some of its programs definitely stand out. Students at this small school near the Utah border can learn equine training and management or pursue an associate degree or certificate in flying and aviation, to name just two.
The CNCC campus in Rangely is the more robust of the institution's two locations, featuring residence halls, fitness facilities and NJCAA athletic teams in volleyball, basketball, softball, baseball and rodeo. The second campus in Craig has an active visual arts community.
Total enrollment at CNCC was reported to be under 1,200 in 2017. That small student body allows for a student-faculty ratio of 13:1 — one of the lowest among CCCS schools.
Northeastern Junior College (Sterling)
Northeastern Junior College educated its first class of students way back in 1941, but the intervening decades haven't caused it to grow too big to handle. The once-named Sterling Junior College has remained a cozy rural institution, educating around 1,500 students each year in a town of fewer than 14,000 residents.
Nearly 130 degrees and certificates are available at NJC, including several programs in the agricultural, environmental and animal sciences. Most of the degree plans available can be tailored for smooth transfer to four-year schools that offer matching bachelor's programs.
Certain programs offered here may be somewhat difficult to find at other community colleges in Colorado, like the transfer-oriented degrees in philosophy, optometry and mortuary science. Online courses are available directly from NJC as well as through CCCOnline.
Otero Junior College (La Junta)
Average tuition for one year of study at Otero Junior College came in at less than $4,000 in 2018. Students hoping to find some assistance with the cost of their education might be in luck this southeastern Colorado school — approximately 97 percent of students receive scholarships, grants and other forms of student aid.
The catalog here features a range of programs that includes Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees in psychology, geology, math, art history, philosophy and more. Career and technical certificates are available in subjects such as cosmetology, community health and law enforcement.
Fewer than 1,300 students attend classes here each term, and the student-faculty ratio is 15:1. Nearly 60 percent of the student body is between the ages of 16 and 20.
Trinidad State Junior College (Trinidad)
Trinidad State Junior College is one of the best community colleges in Colorado in terms of student success. Just one other school in the state reported a higher percentage of first-year students returning for the third semester of their degree plans, and the graduation rate here was high enough to place in the 97th percentile among all two-year schools nationwide.
Part of the reason for those impressive success statistics might be the intimate learning environment available at Trinidad State. Roughly 1,500 students attend courses here each semester, and the ratio of 11 students per faculty member is one of the state's best.
Students hoping to learn diesel technology can choose between an A.A.S. and a certificate. Several programs are available in gunsmithing and firearms safety instruction.