School ranks second nationally for education outcomes
For the second year in a row, Mitchell Technical College has been named the Best Community College in South Dakota by finance outlet WalletHub.com.
South Dakota’s four technical colleges were among 668 total community colleges evaluated for the award across the U.S. This year, MTC is also ranked as the 11th Best Community College in the nation. Mitchell Tech’s overall rankings were determined by composite scores from three areas: cost and financing, education outcomes, and career outcomes. Mitchell Tech scored first in all three areas, compared to other community colleges in South Dakota.
“This study gives a well-rounded depiction of the overall strengths and weaknesses of community colleges across the nation, proving that students don’t have to travel outside the region to receive a high-quality education,” Mark Wilson, president of the local college, said. “To know that Mitchell Tech ranked so high nationally – and best in the state of South Dakota – just proves that our faculty and staff are working hard to ensure that every dollar invested here by local and state stakeholders and industry partners is being used for the betterment of our students, to ensure that they are equipped to excel in their careers.”
Nationally, Mitchell Tech ranked second in education outcomes in the study, which considered retention, graduation and transfer rates, student-to-faculty ratios and the number of full-time faculty, as well as life experience and special learning considerations.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 81 percent of first-time, full-time students who started their educational journey at Mitchell Tech in Fall 2021 returned for a second year or completed their program, and 71 percent of students who started college in Fall 2019 completed their programs. Mitchell Tech has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1, with 72 full-time educators on staff, according to its 2022 Fast Facts document.
Mitchell Tech scored seventh nationwide in career outcomes, which considered student loan default rates and median salaries of graduates.
According to an internal report of Mitchell Tech graduate outcomes in 2022, 99 percent of the 460 graduates in the labor market were employed full-time within six months of graduation, with 95 percent working in their field of study. Of those graduates, 338, or 81 percent, are pursuing careers in-state. Students self-reported average wages of $24.86 per hour in Mitchell Tech’s 2022 survey. In the most recent year released by the Office of the U.S. Department of Education, Mitchell Tech had a default rate of 1.6, meaning that for every 100 graduates who entered repayment that year, an average of 1.6 defaulted on their loan payments over a three-year period. The national average student loan default rate was 2.3 for the same year.
“Community colleges offer students the ability to get higher education without having as much financial strain,” according to WalletHub, an organization dedicated to helping consumers “efficiently attain top WalletFitness so they may enjoy life instead of worrying about money.”
On average, enrollment at a community college costs roughly 65 percent less than at a public university, and 90 percent less than at private universities, making them an affordable option for education. Recognizing that community colleges vary in their return on investment, WalletHub conducted the Best and Worst Community Colleges study to assist students in making the wisest educational investment. To do so, the organization compared more than 668 community colleges across 19 key indicators of cost and quality. The full list of results can be viewed at https://wallethub.com/edu/e/best-worst-community-colleges/15076/.