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Best Community Colleges in Indiana

Attending one of the best community colleges in Indiana can be a great way to save money on the first two years of a bachelor's degree or gain the knowledge and skills you need to start a new career. Whether you're planning to go straight to work after graduation or look for Indiana universities where you can finish your studies, studying at the state's top two-year schools is a good first step.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) publishes comprehensive data on learning institutions of all kinds, and we used those numbers to build scores for each of the best Indiana community colleges and rank them in order. Read on to find out which schools made the list and learn how they help students get the education they need.

THE TOP 4 COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN INDIANA

1

Ivy Tech Community College

Indiana's public community colleges all operate from under the same umbrella: Ivy Tech Community College. This institution maintains more than 40 campuses throughout the state and teaches individual courses in nearly 80 Indiana communities, making Ivy Tech the largest singly accredited statewide college system in the country.

Ivy Tech is also one of the best online community colleges in Indiana, offering more than 1,000 individual online courses and featuring close to 20 degrees that can be earned without setting foot on campus. Online programs here include such popular subjects as business administration, criminal justice, computer science and the system's general education transfer core.

More than 100 campus-based degree and certificate programs are available across Ivy Tech's many locations, providing robust career and technical training alongside traditional college majors like engineering and chemistry.

2

Ancilla College (Donaldson)

Founded by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in 1937, Ancilla College is a private, Catholic liberal arts college in northern Indiana. Known formally as Ancilla Domini College, it expanded its liberal arts curriculum in the 1960s and today admits students of all faiths.

The student body here is fairly small, topping out at around 600 students each semester, but such a close-knit environment can be great for your academic focus. The average class size here is just 14 students -- one of the best such figures among the top Indiana community colleges -- so personalized attention from professors should be available when you need it.

More than 30 academic and career programs are available on campus at Ancilla, and the institution has begun to embrace the movement toward online colleges. Several fully online courses are available for students seeking some extra flexibility.

3

Fortis College - Indianapolis (Indianapolis)

The Indiana location of Fortis College, a private, for-profit vocational and career school that maintains nearly 40 campuses in 15 different states, is another of the smallest schools in the state. Approximately 330 students attended classes at the Indianapolis campus in Fall 2017.

Degree and certificate plans at this Fortis location focus primarily on health care training. An associate degree in nursing is available for aspiring registered nurses (RNs), as well as medical assisting and dental assisting diploma programs. A heating, ventilation, air conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) program is offered on campus as well.

Around half a dozen online associate degrees can be earned here, including Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees in medical assisting and medical billing and coding. Online business students can choose among degrees in management, accounting technology, internet marketing and human resources.

4

College of Court Reporting (Valparaiso)

As the name suggests, College of Court Reporting focuses its educational efforts on one specific career discipline. Students here pursue an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in court reporting, which requires 85 credit hours of study and typically takes just over two years to complete.

CCR is a private, for-profit school that was founded in 1984 and became accredited five years later. The student body here is the smallest of any school on our list, with fewer than 250 students on the admissions rolls in 2017. The CCR court reporting program is approved by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).

In order to graduate, students must be able to pass a series of timed tests to prove their proficiency with the tools of the trade and complete a 60-hour internship on an industry-standard shorthand machine.

Resources for Transfer Students in Indiana

Depending on where you choose to earn your associate degree, you may have a wealth of opportunity when it comes to transferring your earned credits into bachelor's programs at the top four-year schools in Indiana.

Ivy Tech Community College, for example, offers more than 100 transfer programs with universities in Indiana and throughout the country. These programs, known as transfer single articulation pathways (TSAP) are designed to guide students through their associate degree curriculum and simplify the process of enrolling in a university program at the junior level.

Here are just a few of the nearly 20 subjects with available TSAP degrees at Ivy Tech:

  • Computer science
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Elementary education
  • Criminal justice
  • Engineering
  • Biology

What's more, some universities in Indiana participate in unique regional transfer programs, and students at certain Ivy Tech locations may have access to direct transfer agreements between their specific location and one of the universities in the region.

If you're thinking about shifting into a bachelor's program after you finish community college, visit the Indiana Commission of Higher Education's TransferIN, take a look at the transfer opportunities portal on the Ivy Tech site or reach out to your adviser.

Methodology

We ranked community colleges in Indiana on multiple factors related to educational opportunity, student performance and student services.

Each school was scored on a 10-point scale, using the following data points:

  1. The percentage of students enrolled in distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  2. Cost of attendance, based on the average net price for students receiving scholarship and grant aid, and the total cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  3. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  4. The graduation rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  5. Flexibility, based on the following data points from the National Center for Education Statistics, 2016

               a. Whether the school offers credit for life experiences
               b. Whether the school offers programs of study that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
               c. Whether the school offers on-campus day care for students' children
               d. Whether the school offers any kind of alternative tuition plan. These may include, but aren't limited to, payment plans or guaranteed rates.

Article Sources
  • College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed November 26, 2018, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IN&ct=1+2+3&ic=2
  • School pages, accessed November 26, 2018: About Ivy Tech, Ivy Tech Community College, https://www.ivytech.edu/about/index.html; Programs A-Z, Ivy Tech Community College, https://www.ivytech.edu/programs-a-z/index.html; Ivy Tech Online, Ivy Tech Community College, https://www.ivytech.edu/online/; Who We Are, Ancilla College, https://www.ancilla.edu/about-ancilla/who-we-are/; Why Ancilla?, Ancilla College, https://www.ancilla.edu/about-ancilla/why-ancilla/; Our History, Ancilla College, https://www.ancilla.edu/about-ancilla/history/; Majors and Minors, Ancilla College, https://www.ancilla.edu/academics/majors-minors/; Online Courses, Ancilla College, https://www.ancilla.edu/academics/online-courses/; Healthcare & Medical College in Indianapolis, Indiana, Fortis College, https://www.fortis.edu/campuses/indiana/indianapolis/9001-n-wesleyan-rd-suite-101-indianapolis-in.aspx; Online Associate Degree Training Programs, Fortis College, https://www.fortis.edu/associate-degree-online/online; Our Mission and Objectives, College of Court Reporting, http://www.ccr.edu/index.php/about/our-mission-and-objectives; History, College of Court Reporting, http://www.ccr.edu/index.php/about/history; Court Reporting Degree Program Information, College of Court Reporting, http://www.ccr.edu/index.php/programs/court-reporting-degree; Accreditation & Approvals, http://gotospeedbuilding.com/index.php/about/accreditation-a-approvals;
  • Transfer Your Credits, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, accessed November 26, 2018, https://www.ivytech.edu/transfer/index.html
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/