Montgomery College ranked 10th in the nation for students’ career outcomes in a new WalletHub report, but only in the middle of the pack nationally when other factors including cost and educational outcomes are considered.
The report compared 715 community colleges across 17 indicators of cost and quality, including the cost of in-state tuition and fees, student-faculty ratio, and graduation rate.
The school ranked 362nd in the nation for “Education Outcomes” and 657th for cost and financing, according to WalletHub’s methodology, placing it 351st overall.
During the 2017 to 2018 academic year, tuition and fees for full-time, in-state enrollment at a public two-year college averaged $3,570 per year versus $9,970 at a public four-year institution and $34,740 at a four-year private school.
The 2017-2018 full-time tuition, plus fees, at Montgomery College was $4,642, according to the college’s website.
Marcus Rosano, director of media and public relations, noted that the college has several affordable programs, including “z-courses” that use open source information instead of text books to save money. This fall marks the start of an Early College program that will allow 58 Montgomery County Public Schools students to attend the college for free in their junior and senior years of high school, earning their high school and associate’s degrees simultaneously. The Montgomery College Foundation also awarded $2.3 million in scholarships last year, Rosano said.
The career outcomes metric used by WalletHub measured:
- the ratio of graduates’ starting salaries to the cost of education;
- student loan default rate;
- median salary; and
- how many students have salaries higher than the average income for a high school graduate.
Educational outcomes were measured by considering first-year retention rates, the graduation and transfer rates and the number of degrees and certificates awarded for every 100 full-time students.
Rosano defended the strength of the Montgomery College’s academic program, noting the school’s various accreditations, student to faculty ratio of 17:1 and the number of students who successfully transfer their credits and degrees to four-year schools. In 2016, the college awarded 2,556 associate degrees and transferred almost 5,000 students to four-year colleges with 12 or more credits, Rosano said.
Montgomery College instructs nearly 60,000 students at campuses in Germantown, Rockville and Silver Spring.
The report also ranked county community colleges throughout the state of Maryland. Montgomery College ranked sixth in the state, according to the report.
As a state, Maryland ranked 30th in the country for its community college network.
But the state—and the community college systems here—could shoot up in future rankings.
In 2018, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that will expand the state’s community college tuition scholarships next year. The program could eliminate tuition costs for students from families earning less than $125,000 a year who enroll in a Maryland community college within two years of obtaining a GED or finishing high school with a GPA of 2.3 or higher.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to clarify information about Maryland’s community college scholarship program.