The academic accolades continue to roll in for Independence Community College (ICC) as they were recently named as in the top 25 for Best Community Colleges in America, 2018 by SmartAsset, a web-based financial advisory company. The report ranked ICC number 24 among 798 institutions across the nation which were reviewed.

The company's fifth annual report is on quality community colleges and based on the criteria of graduation and transfer success, affordability and student-to-faculty ratio. SmartAsset noted ICC"s 66 percent graduation/transfer rate; a student-to-faculty ratio of 13; and an average annual cost of $4,096 for tuition and fees.

ICC President Dan Barwick said, "I'm thrilled. We are truly honored that the SmartAsset organization has acknowledged the value of Independence Community College and recognized our school as a national standout."

The SmartAsset article stated, "The average associate's degree holder earns 18 percent more than the average high school diploma holder. In dollar terms, that is a difference of $5,400 per year." The article said across the 798 community colleges, they examined in-state tuition and fees which run around $4,300 and in-state tuition and fees at a public four year institution cost nearly 2.3 times as much.

The college was also named the Lowest Net Price College in Kansas by the US Department of Education's College Affordability and Transparency Center. The center studied the 90 two-year public institutions in the US. Additionally, according to the American Association of Community Colleges, ICC ranks 8th among the Most Affordable Community Colleges in the United States.

"If you take a look at the awards the college has received over the last six years or so there is a pretty clear pattern of awards given for academic distinction and awards given for affordability," Barwick stated. "That combination of educational quality and good value, is, I think what makes ICC truly distinctive in Kansas and why this community is so supportive of us and recognizes the value of the college."

He concluded, "We work hard to recruit the best faculty and taffy we can and it shows in these kinds of objective rankings."

Other significant ICC rankings Barwick noted included: In 2017, the college was named number one in Kansas for “success of transfer students,” according to a study published by the Center of Science, Technology & Economic Policy at the Institute for Policy & Social Research at the University of Kansas; In 2016, ICC was named in the top 1 percent of Community Colleges in the US for Student Educational Goal Attainment as ranked by the National Higher Education Benchmarking Institute.

The number one college on the Top 25 list was the College of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The complete 2018 SmartAsset community college report is available at: https://smartasset.com/checking-account/best-community-colleges-in-america-2018