Manchester Community College (Manchester)
With a total student population of nearly 4,000 learners, Manchester Community College is the second-largest institution among our best New Hampshire community colleges. Approximately 58 percent of students here are under the age of 25, and 97 percent those enrolled are New Hampshire residents.
If you're on the lookout for online colleges that offer flexibility in terms of course scheduling, MCC should already be on your radar. Approximately a third of the student body is composed of online students, and more than 120 online courses were available across the numerous available subjects of study. Fully online degree and certificate programs are available in the areas of accounting and management.
MCC might be a great choice for students who enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy city. The institution is located in the most heavily populated urban area in New Hampshire, reporting a population of over 110,000 residents to the U.S. Census.
Nashua Community College (Nashua)
Just shy of 1,800 students attend degree and certificate programs at Nashua Community College, along with close to 650 high school students participating in the Running Start program. The majority of those enrolled — around 68 percent — attend NCC on a part-time basis.
Advanced manufacturing and other subjects in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) claim a significant amount of space in the NCC academic catalog. Tech-savvy students can pursue associate degrees in computer networking, cybersecurity, data analytics, mechanical design technology and more.
Of the more than 60 programs of study available to NCC students, liberal arts and business studies are the most popular associate degree plans. On the certificate side, massage therapy, early childhood education and machine tool technology account for around 50 percent of enrollments.
NHTI - Concord's Community College (Concord)
In 1965, a new school called New Hampshire Technical Institute began offering a handful of engineering technology programs to students in the Concord area. It evolved into NHTI, Concord's Community College just over 40 years later, and it's now a comprehensive community college with a student body that numbers approximately 3,500.
The catalog here features more than 90 degree and certificate programs, split fairly evenly between associate degree plans and career-focused certificates. The campus even features three residence halls, for students who are looking for the full college experience.
NHTI is also one of the more robust online community colleges in the state, with over a dozen degree programs available through online courses. A criminal justice degree and medical coding certificate are among the fully online programs offered here. A child and family development center on campus provides day and afternoon kindergarten services and gives child care education students a chance for hands-on learning.
River Valley Community College (Claremont)
Founded in 1968 and located two miles north of the city of Claremont, River Valley Community College is a small school in western New Hampshire with a lot to offer. Tuition here is affordable, and area residents can start their college education before they're even done with high school.
Programs like Running Start and Bridge2College allow high school and home-schooled students to take college courses at RVCC. Bridge2College offers on-campus college credit courses for half price, and Running Start courses confer course credit toward both a high school diploma and a college degree program.
Students here can choose among more than 30 programs of study, including programs in education, tech and healthcare. The RVCC nursing program is one popular option, and the school reports that its students achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam in 2018 and 2019.
Great Bay Community College (Portsmouth)
Great Bay Community College has evolved in multiple ways since its founding in 1945 as the State Trade School of Portsmouth. More than 50 associate degree and certificate programs are available here, including some in rare and off-the-beaten-path fields like bioengineering and nondestructive testing.
Great Bay may also be one of the best New Hampshire community colleges for students looking to save some money on the first few semesters of their bachelor's degree. Resident tuition and fees for an academic year at the Portsmouth institution came in at less than half that charged by the state's public four-year universities.
A vast majority of the students enrolled at Great Bay are New Hampshire residents. Just over 2,000 students attend courses here each semester, and the median age of the student body is 22.
White Mountains Community College (Berlin)
Originally founded as New Hampshire Vocational Institute in 1966, White Mountains Community College has added quite a bit to its capacity to serve students since admitting its first class of just over 100 students. The northern New Hampshire school has expanded its classroom and laboratory facilities by nearly 90,000 square feet and opened two satellite learning centers in Littleton and North Conway.
Despite its growing mission, WMCC has remained true to its small-school roots. Just under 700 students attended courses here in 2018 and the student-faculty ratio is an enviable 7:1 — more than 50 percent better than the national university average.
Students here can choose from more than 50 degree and certificate programs in seven academic and career-based focus areas. The two focus areas with the most diverse array of study plans are industry and transportation and health science and services. They cover topics such as advanced welding technology, automotive technology and medical coding.
Lakes Region Community College (Laconia)
Fewer than 1,200 students attend Lakes Region Community College, but the academic opportunities here are anything but small. Around 65 degree and certificate programs are available for LRCC students, including transfer pathways to some of the top four-year schools in New Hampshire.
One such transfer program is particularly unique. Students at LRCC can apply for dual admission to Southern New Hampshire University, which entitles them to personalized advising with a transfer admission counselor from the university and acceptance to a relevant bachelor's program if they finish their associate degree with a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Career technical education at the school covers fields such as fire protection, culinary arts and electrical technologies.
LRCC might also be one of the best community colleges in New Hampshire for students who prefer a close-knit educational environment. The average class size at the Laconia institution is one of the best in the state with just eight students per course.