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Best 20 Community Colleges in Arizona in 2021

June 8, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Arizona has a rich history of providing higher education opportunities, starting long before the region attained statehood. Two-year institutions – also known as community colleges – provide Arizonans with associate’s degrees and certificates useful for entry-level career positions. Community college students in the state see an average of 19.5% in annual investment returns.

How Much Does Community College Cost?

Cost of attendance can vary depending on how many credit hours you take and what your housing, materials, and travel needs are. For the purposes of this article, we only considered full-time tuition costs per semester. (Full time attendance is usually a minimum of 12 semester credit hours.) The average tuition per semester for schools in this article is about $991 per semester. 

Do Arizona Community Colleges Have University Transfer Agreements?

Many universities in the west and across the country accept Arizona community college credits for transfer. Students can also transfer to one of the state’s four-year institutions such as Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona, and Arizona State University. Students are encouraged to discuss their goals for higher education with their academic advisers to build a highly transferable degree path. 

Interested in attending community college online? Check out our Degree Finder tool to find your ideal program!

What Are The Best Community Colleges In Arizona?

We gathered a list of 20 community colleges and ranked them on a 100 point scale. Our criteria included factors important to students such as tuition cost, student-faculty ratio, and first-time graduation rates. See our results below.

Best 20 Community Colleges in Arizona

1. Pima Community College – Tucson – 63 Points

Pima Community College features six campuses across the Tucson metro area. They also provide learning opportunities through four education centers and many adult learning centers. The college has over 144 programs in traditional and online formats. Tucson is home to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base where the college has an education center on base as well as campuses located close to the base.

  • In-County Tuition: $1,044 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
  • Graduation Rate: 21%

1. Mesa Community College – Mesa – 63 Points

Part of the large Maricopa County Community College District, Mesa Community College serves students through two campuses and other educational centers. They offer over 200 programs in traditional, hybrid, and online formats. MCC is home to the Arizona Gakuen School, which is a supplementary school for Japanese students offering classes on the weekends. 

  • In-County Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
  • Graduation Rate: 18%

2. Scottsdale Community College – Scottsdale – 60 Points

Scottsdale Community College serves eastern Maricopa county as part of the MCCC District. It is the only public community college campus located on tribal land, holding a partnership with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The school features over 100 degree programs and 60 certificate programs. SCC holds a joint admission program with Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. 

  • In-County Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
  • Graduation Rate: 19%

3. Paradise Valley Community College – Phoenix – 59 Points

Paradise Valley Community College serves Phoenix students as part of the MCCC District. It also hosts a branch campus in northern Scottsdale, known as the PVCC at Black Mountain campus. They offer over 100 degrees and certificate programs.The school has a strong intercollegiate athletics presence with facilities for baseball, track, soccer, and tennis. 

  • In-County Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
  • Graduation Rate: 24%

4. Phoenix College – Phoenix – 57 Points

Considered the flagship campus of the MCCC District, Phoenix College is one of the oldest community colleges in the country. It features campuses in Midtown as well as Downtown Phoenix. PC has over 150 degree and certificate of completion programs. Originally conceived as a non-segregated institution, PC has an inclusive reputation and partnerships with community service organizations.

  • In-County Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
  • Graduation Rate: 16%

5. Chandler-Gilbert Community College – Chandler – 55 Points

Another school associated with the massive MCCC District of colleges, Chandler-Gilbert Community College serves many Phoenix-area suburbs. The school features four campuses across Maricopa County. They offer over 70 degree and certificate programs. CGCC has a strong reputation in athletics, particularly baseball with several alumni becoming major league players.

  • In-County Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 27:1 
  • Graduation Rate: 23%

5. Glendale Community College – Glendale – 55 Points

Glendale Community College is associated with the Maricopa County Community College District. It offers programs through two campuses: Main and North Valley. They have over 110 degree and certificate programs.The North Valley campus works in partnership with NAU, providing general education courses for university students.

  • In-County Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
  • Graduation Rate: 17%

6. Cochise County Community College – Sierra Vista – 54 Points

Cochise College serves the Cochise County region in Southern Arizona. Cochise operates campuses in Sierra Vista and Douglas and centers in Benson, Willcox, Fort Huachuca, and the Arizona State Prison Complex in Douglas. With dual enrollment offered to local high school students, the college provides over 50 associate degree programs and certificates in traditional and online formats. 

  • In-state Tuition: $1,092 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

6. Arizona Western College – Yuma – 54 Points

Arizona Western College serves students in Yuma County and La Paz County. The main campus is located in Yuma, but classes are also offered in 11 other locations across their service area. The school provides over 100 degrees and certificates in traditional and online formats.

AWS has on-campus housing for up to 348 students. AWC hosts courses from all three state universities. The University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University have regional campuses located in Yuma. 

  • In-County Tuition: $1,056 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1 
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

7. Mohave Community College – Kingman – 53 Points

Mohave Community College serves Mohave County students in northwestern Arizona. The school operates four campuses located in Kingman, Colorado City, Lake Havasu City, and Bullhead City. They offer over 80 degree programs and 40 certificate programs on campus and online. MCC also provides courses to students of neighboring regions in California, Nevada, and Utah.

  • In-County Tuition: $972
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
  • Graduation Rate: 16%

8. Yavapai College – Prescott – 52 Points

Serving the Yavapai County region in central Arizona, Yavapai College operates six campus locations. The main campus is in Prescott alongside the Career and Technical Education Center, with additional campuses in Sedona, Chino Valley, Clarkdale, and Verde Valley. The college offers over 100 degree and certificate programs in traditional, hybrid, and online settings. Student housing is available in two residence halls at the main campus.

  • In-County Tuition: $1,140 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
  • Graduation Rate: 30%

9. Northland Pioneer College – Holbrook – 51 Points

Northland Pioneer College serves northeastern Arizona students in Navajo and Apache counties. The school has campuses in Holbrook, Show Low, Snowflake/Taylor, and Winslow as well as five learning centers across their service area. They provide 7 two-year degrees, 31 vocational associate’s degrees, and 72 certificates. 80% of students at NPC are enrolled part-time.

  • In-County Tuition: $480
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
  • Graduation Rate: 18%

10. Central Arizona College – Coolidge – 49 Points

Central Arizona College serves students in Pinal County with five campuses and two centers located strategically throughout the county. The Signal Peak Campus offers housing for approximately 250 students. The school offers a full array of academic degrees and certificates, career training and personal enrichment classes, online and university transfer courses, and continuing education opportunities. CAC has a long intercollegiate sports history.

  • In-County Tuition: $1,032 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
  • Graduation Rate: 19%

11. Tohono O’Odham Community College – Sells – 48 Points

A public tribal community college, TOCC serves an 88% American Indian student body in Pima County. Classes are offered on campus with some online learning opportunities. The school provides over 10 transfer degree programs and over 20 direct employment certificate, many in building and construction. TOCC is open to students of all backgrounds and teaches the Tohono O’odham cultural way of life (Himdag) to all enrollees. 

  • In-County Tuition: $466
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
  • Graduation Rate: 17%

12. Estrella Mountain Community College – Avondale – 47 Points

The newest addition to the MCCC District in Maricopa County, Estrella Mountain Community College operates campuses in Avondale and Buckeye. Also located on the Avondale campus is the SouthWest Skill Center, operated by GateWay. The college offers over 50 fields of interest for degree and certificate programs. The Buckeye campus serves as a workforce training facility providing hands-on technical skill education.

  • In-County Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 24:1 
  • Graduation Rate: 20%

13. Eastern Arizona College – Thatcher – 46 Points

Eastern Arizona College serves Graham County, Gila County, and Greenlee County with a main campus in Thatcher. They offer over 50 associate’s degrees and certificates. Through a partnership with Arizona State University, EAC also offers some bachelor’s degree programs. There is on-campus housing available for single students, but not married couples.

  • In-County Tuition: $1,350 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
  • Graduation Rate: 40%

14. Diné Community College – Tsaile – 45 Points

A predominately Navajo institution, Diné College serves students of the Navajo Nation across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The main campus is in Tsaile in Apache County. Other Arizonan campuses include Chinle, Window Rock, and Tuba City. They offer associate’s and bachelor’s degrees as well as training certificates. Housing is available for full-time single students as well as family housing for those with dependents. 

  • In-County Tuition: $660 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
  • Graduation Rate: 12%

15. South Mountain Community College – Phoenix – 43 Points

South Mountain Community College is a member of the Maricopa County Community College District. Its main campus is located on South 24th Street in Phoenix. It operates two additional centers in Guadalupe and Laveen. The college provides on campus, hybrid, and online associate’s degree programs and certificates. Through a partnership with NAU they also offer some bachelor’s degree programs. 

  • In-County Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
  • Graduation Rate: 23%

16. Rio Salado College – Tempe – 31 Points

Another member of the MCCCD, Rio Salado College specializes in online and distance learning. Their main campus is located in Tempe and they operate 11 physical affiliate locations across Maricopa County. They offer over 135 degree and certificate programs. Over 600 of RSC’s classes are also available online. 

  • In-County Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 32:1
  • Graduation Rate: 7%

17. Coconino Community College – Flagstaff – 13 Points

Coconino Community College serves north-central Arizona’s Coconino County. The Lone Tree campus operates as the school’s main campus, with another campus in Flagstaff known as the Fourth Street campus. They also operate an instructional site in Page. CCC offers over 50 degree and certificate programs. A partnership with NAU allows students to transfer up to 90 credits toward a 4-year degree at the university.

  • In-County Tuition: $1,356 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 24:1
  • Graduation Rate: 15%

If you are interested in earning your 2-year degree or professional certificate completely online our handy tools can help you find your path.

Our Ranking Methodology

We ranked a list of 20 community colleges in Arizona across five different categories: tuition cost, enrollment, full-time faculty employed, student-faculty ratio, and graduation rate. Tuition per semester was obtained directly from each school’s website. Other data points were obtained through the National Center for Education Statistics.

We sorted each school and assigned points across all categories to arrive at a total number of points. Each category accounted for 20% of the ranking. The maximum amount of possible points was 100. 

Employees of the schools above are welcome to contact us to report an error in our data. We will make corrections as soon as possible.

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