In a report published by Forbes on August 16, Frontier Community College (FCC) was ranked the 15th best two-year trade school in the nation. Written by Carter Coudriet of Forbes Staff, the report is titled “The Top 25 Two-Year Trade Schools: Colleges That Can Solve The Skills Gap” and has been published on Forbes’ website.
Unlike the well-known Forbes Top Colleges list, which names four-year public and private universities, the Top 25 Two-Year Trade Schools list includes technical and career colleges that provide programs to cover a large variety of in-demand jobs.
As high school students graduate and prepare to enter the next step in their educational careers, many choose to attend a four-year school. In fact, the number of bachelor degrees awarded across the nation is climbing steadily, while the amount of awarded associate degrees has stalled since 2012. However, there are many growing job opportunities that academics simply cannot fill.
“Four-year schools are good fits for many students, but the notion that they’re the best one for all students is downright wrong,” says Coudriet. Some students prefer hands-on work, and trade school programs offer a variety of opportunities across diverse industries, such as FCC’s Automotive Technology, Construction Technology, and Information Systems Technology.
“We are both honored and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition,” said Dr. Paul Bruinsma, Dean of Instruction. “This highlights our commitment to providing high-quality programs that meet our students’ educational needs.”
Research for the report included federal data from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and College Scorecard, and the methodology was divided into four parts: student experience, affordability, completion success, and post-graduate success. You can read about the full methodology here.
Coudriet stated that “students can’t fully enjoy the benefits of a strong education if they are stuck paying for it for years on end.” FCC is an affordable college and led the list of 25 schools with the lowest average net price of just $2,327. Many financial aid opportunities also allow students to earn a certificate or degree at a reasonable cost.
Forbes used student retention rates as a proxy for overall student experience, implying that students believe they are earning an adequate education if they continue their studies. In a report published by SE Illinois News back in March, Frontier Community College led the state for highest “on time” graduation rates among two-year Illinois colleges. While the statewide graduation rate in 2016 was only 11 percent, FCC saw 61 percent of its students graduate.
“Being nationally recognized as a college committed to student success speaks volumes about our efforts to assist students, not only academically but also with other needs they may have,” said Dr. Jay Edgren, President of Frontier Community College. “Since FCC is a smaller institution, we’re able to get to know our students and build meaningful relationships which are critical in helping our students graduate in a timely manner.”
Many of the Top 25 Trade Schools are located in the Midwest region, but FCC was the only college from Illinois. The complete report and list of 25 schools may be found here.