But in the haze of the endless summer rankings season, I neglected to mention the other Minnesota two-year stars on the list.
With rankings season over, I realize now that they deserve more attention. After all, the community college list stands apart from the conventional frenzy over four-year institutions.
Dane Smith of the St. Paul progressive research organization Growth & Justice took care of all that in a piece he wrote for Finance & Commerce.
The high-performers he praises:
- Itasca Community College (#5)
- Leech Lake Tribal College (#7)
- Alexandria Technical College (#8)
- Minnesota West Community and Technical College (#30)
- Minnesota State Community and Technical College (#37)
- Vermilion Community College (#43)
Smith also stresses the unusual number of Minnesota institutions, calculating that with less than 2 percent of the nation’s population, the state has 14 percent of the best community colleges.
Smith, himself the product of a two-year college, says:
Two-year colleges clearly are underrated and a tremendous value, but people are figuring it out. Most of these colleges in Minnesota are bulging at the seams, with healthy enrollment growth caused in part by the recession; the schools themselves are doing a better job of getting students through to completion.
You may remember that Smith’s Growth & Justice recently got together with the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership in calling on the gubernatorial candidates to make higher education a priority issue.