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40 Beautiful Community College Campuses

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By Gabrielle Kratsas
May 2016

Beginning your journey of higher education with a community college can save you and lot of money, but why should you settle on just any community college when you can choose from 40 different colleges with beautiful campuses? Even if you’re lucky enough to live near one of the schools on this list, a daily commute that includes mountain vistas, palm tree-lined sidewalks or the serenity of crystal clear lakes can make that trip to school much more worth taking.

Forget that cliche freshman year at some four-year college, and take the opportunity to truly enjoy that walk between classes or view from your classroom window at one of these beautiful college campuses. The methodology used to create the following list is explained at the end of the article.

40. Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN

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The Japanese Garden at Normandale Community College is a significant feature that earned this school’s ranking as a beautiful community college campus.

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Points Awarded: 2
Net Cost: $13,350

The most beautiful aspect of Normandale Community College’s campus is the Japanese Garden, a two-acre oasis open year round. The garden was designed by Takao Watanabe, a professional garden architect from Tokyo. It includes such features as a lagoon with three islands, a cedar shelter, granite rocks native to Minnesota, Taiko-bashi (drum-shaped bridge) and a waterfall.

Nine Mile Creek transects the college campus near East Marsh Lake Park’s wetlands, and the rest of campus consists of contemporary brick buildings around a central courtyard. Normandale is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

39. West Valley College in Saratoga, CA

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West Valley College is one of our beautiful community college campuses partly because of the recent redesign of their college entrance area.

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Points Awarded: 2
Net Cost: $11,620

The West Valley College campus features a meandering creek lined with majestic oak trees. To preserve the natural beauty, Quadriga Landscape Architecture established an “Oak Nursery” on the campus in early 2015. This 143-acre campus is in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, at the southwest border of Silicon Valley

The establishment of the “Oak Nursery” was a part of the college’s Entry Project, which remodeled the natural landscape and welcome signs of the community college’s entrance. Part of this project includes the relocation and preservation of two historic palm trees that have been on this site since it was still orchard lands. West Valley College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), a division of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

38. Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, OR

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Southwestern Oregon Community College’s prime location made it a beautiful community college campus.

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Points Awarded: 2
Net Cost: $8,987

Southwestern Oregon Community College is Oregon’s oldest community college and is located within two miles of the Pacific Ocean in an area of scenic beauty and mild climate. The area of this beautiful college campus is known for its miles of open public beaches, vast forests, clear lakes and rivers, immense sand dunes, abundant wildlife and boundless recreational opportunities.

Southwestern is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

37. Kauai Community College in Lihue, HI

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Kauai Community College offers public art and lush greenery, making it one of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 2
Net Cost: $6,322

Kauai Community College is one of the 10 branches of the University of Hawaii system. Although this community college is primarily a commuter campus, students are able to enjoy public art and a large amount of greenery. Throughout the campus, students can find five sculptures made of different materials like ceramic, granite, steel and bronze. Plus, how can you beat going to school in Hawaii, especially when you’re only a short drive from natural features like a wildlife refuge and the Pacific Ocean?

KCC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

36. Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, IL

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The park-like greenery of Moraine Valley Community College makes it one of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 2
Net Cost: $4,848

Moraine Valley Community College consists of nearly 300 acres in Palos Hills. On the campus, students can utilize the Nature Study Area and Observatory, a 40-acre reconstructed tallgrass prairie, home to a 1.8-billion-year-old granite rock. In addition to the prairie, the area includes two ponds and an oak savanna, with a 100-year-old oak tree.

Within the rest of the campus, students can enjoy a park-like atmosphere with modern buildings, large, manicured green expanses and the G. Jack Bradley observation deck. MVCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

35. Mitchell Community College in Statesville, NC

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Mitchell Community College’s Main Building is on the National Register of Historic Places, helping it rank on our list of beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 3
Net Cost: $8,752

Based in historic downtown Statesville, Mitchell Community College is comprised of stunning classic architecture like the Main Building/Shearer Hall, the Huskins Library and the Current House. The Main Building, Mitchell College and Mitchell College Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Main Building was built around 1854-56 and is a three-story stucco and brick building with a heroic hexastyle Doric order portico in the Greek Revival style. Shearer Music Hall was added to the structure in 1907.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits MCC. Fun fact: Dale Earnheardt Jr. earned his associate’s degree in automotive technology at this community college.

34. Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC

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Haywood Community College is one of the most beautiful community college campuses with its historic mill house and hundreds of acres of teaching forest.

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Points Awarded: 3
Net Cost: $8,156

Haywood Community College owns three teaching forests that consist of hundreds of acres and a natural resources classroom for its natural resources program. The natural beauty of HCC makes it one of the prettiest college campuses in the state. This beautiful college campus features a pond and working millhouse, rhododendron gardens, walking paths, a Frisbee golf course and a multitude of historic trees and shrubs.

HCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificate, diploma, and associate’s degrees.

33. Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, MT

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The Rocky Mountains and Flathead Lake scored Flathead Valley Community College a spot on our list of beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 3
Net Cost: $7,857

The beauty of the Flathead Valley Community College campus is all in the backdrop. Nestled between the Rocky Mountains and Flathead Lake, this beautiful 216-acre college campus is just 30 miles from Glacier National Park and 60 miles from the U.S.-Canada border. Surrounded by mountains, valleys, rivers, trails and forests, students have virtually endless opportunities for their outdoor recreation needs.

FVCC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

32. Clatsop Community College in Astoria, OR

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Clatsop Community College has a beautiful community college campus partly because of the Columbia River backdrop.

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Points Awarded: 3
Net Cost: $7,600

Clatsop Community College features an artful array of simple white buildings against a beautiful backdrop of the Columbia River. The most striking architectural feature of this beautiful college campus is the Performing Arts Center, which is home to the Arts & Ideas program and a historic church, purchased by the community college in 1975.

CCC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

31. Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA

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Tyler Hall of Bucks County Community College makes this school one of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 3
Net Cost: $7,589

Bucks County Community College is home to a notable and historic architectural feature: Tyler Hall. The beautiful college campus sits on 200 acres of the former Tyler Estate, owned by sculptress Stella Elkins Tyler. The remaining mansion (Tyler Hall) and gardens are perched on a hilltop overlooking Neshaminy Creek. The mansion, believed to be the last of the “great estates” ever constructed in the U.S., with the Tyler Formal Gardens made it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Bucks County Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

30. Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, CA

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The beautiful SMC Quad landed Santa Monica College among our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 3
Net Cost: $7,435

Santa Monica College is set on a 38-acre main campus less than two miles from the beach featuring an absolutely beautiful Quad with fountains, palm trees and benches. Designed by tBP Architecture, the Quad consists of landscaped gardens, outdoor seating and dining areas, all organized along a palm-studded pedestrian “main street”. Two decorative water fountains are placed at the North and South ends of the Quad and a balanced array of native, water conserving plantings define the landscape’s character.

SMC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

29. Elgin Community College in Elgin, IL

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The park-like setting and serene lakes of Elgin Community College landed it among out beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 3
Net Cost: $6,183

Elgin Community College is located in the Fox River Valley, between Chicago and Rockford on a picturesque 217-acre campus. This park-like setting is dotted with trees and serene lakes, and it features a modern network of 13 buildings. The Health & Life Sciences building, alone, received four awards and LEED Silver certification.

ECC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

28. Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, WA

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Tacoma Community College has amazing views of the local mountain ranges in the distance, making it one of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 3
Net Cost: $5,333

The campuses of Tacoma Community College consist of sleek architecture like the Pamela Transue Center for Science and Engineering and features like the urban gardens, lush flowering trees and mountainous vistas on the horizon. This beautiful college campus is a 150-acre site on the beautiful Puget Sound, framed by the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges.

This campus has a lovely Japanese Friendship Garden that includes a dry waterfall arrangement anchoring the highest corner of the site, flowing through a series of step downs to a sea of white sand with a pebble beach and central island reached by stone bridges, as well as a 12-foot-tall pagoda and several stone lanterns. TCC is accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

27. Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, CO

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With the snow-capped Rockies in the background, Colorado Mountain College is one of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 4
Net Cost: $9,523

This is not the first time Colorado Mountain College has been featured on Great Value Colleges for its beautiful Spring Valley campus. According to Examiner.com, which also featured CMC for its beauty, these campuses have some of the best views of any community college system in the U.S.

The Spring Valley campus is especially stunning with its white-walled buildings, which come with scenic vistas of the snow-capped Rockies on the horizon. This campus is also situated next to the Roaring Fork River and lush tree-lined hillsides. CMC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

26. Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ

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The Saguaro Building makes Mesa Community College one of our most beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 4
Net Cost: $8,444

Another school within the Maricopa County Community College System, Mesa Community College features architectural splendors at both the Southern and Dobson Campus and the Red Mountain Campus like the $13.5 million Saguaro Building (pictured above). The Red Mountain campus occupies 98 acres of beautiful Sonoran Desert in northeast Mesa, and it is home to the iconic saguaro cacti, 800-year-old ironwood trees, ocotillo, ephedra, jojoba, creosote bush and many other remarkable trees, bushes, perennials and annuals.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

25. Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR

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Umpqua Community College is one of our most beautiful college campuses because of the lush greenery and cedar shake architecture.

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Points Awarded: 4
Net Cost: $8,285

The Umpqua Community College campus, nestled in the stunning North Umpqua River Valley, is known as one of the most picturesque campuses in Oregon. This beautiful college campus is surrounded by tree-studded hills and overlooks a large bend in the North Umpqua River. The 17 buildings on the 100-acre pasture land campus are adorned with natural volcanic rock and cedar shake architecture

Umpqua Community College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

24. Colby Community College in Colby, KS

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Eye-pleasing architecture like the clock tower helped get Colby Community College ranked as one of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 4
Net Cost: $7,605

The beautiful campus area of Colby Community College is part of the High Plains, which sweep upward to the Rocky Mountains 250 miles to the west. The main 80-acre campus in Colby includes manicured expanses of green and simple eye-pleasing architecture, like the clock tower.

Colby also offers a 60-acre agricultural center that acts as a living laboratory for students in the agro-centric programs. CCC is coordinated by the Kansas Board of Regents and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

23. Columbia College in Sonora, CA

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Its location along the San Diego Reservoir helped rank Columbia College as one of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 4
Net Cost: $7,258

The architectural style of Columbia College is that of California during the Gold Rush era. This community college’s 280-acre campus is located in the wooded foothills attached to the Sierra Nevada. CC has been described as one of the state’s most beautiful community colleges. The campus is built among conifers and mixed hardwoods, surrounding a peaceful 4.5-acre lake, known as the San Diego Reservoir. Campus also features Carkeet Park and the Segerstrom Amphitheatre.

CC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

22. Lone Star College System in TX

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All of the campuses at Lone Star College have something to offer, scoring this school system a spot on our list of beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 4
Net Cost: $5,670

Almost every campus in the Lone Star College system offers a different bit of beauty. LSC-CyFair has a lovely waterfront view, LSC-Montgomery consists of 210 acres of pine forest and LSC-University Park features 71 beautiful acres with sky bridges between buildings.

The North Harris campus in the Lone Star College System sits on more than 200 acres of beautifully-landscaped lawns, piney woods and gardens that contain many year-round colorful blooms native to southeast Texas. LSC is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science Degrees.

21. Santiago Canyon College in Orange, CA

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The palm-lined University Building help rank Santiago Canyon College among our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 4
Net Cost: $4,914

When driving up to the sleek and modern University Building at Santiago Canyon College, you may think you’re arriving at a tropical resort as you pass the SCC fountain and lines of well-kept palm trees. The library building, designed by LPA Architecture, earned a Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on Architecture for Education.

Santiago Canyon College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

20. White Mountains Community College in Berlin, NH

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The location of White Mountains Community College landed it a spot on our list of beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 5
Net Cost: $13,719

White Mountains Community College is in the heart of the North Country of northern New Hampshire, along the Androscoggin River in Berlin. The beautiful campus of this community college is situated at the base of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, offering students an outdoor playground with virtually endless opportunities.

WMCC has been featured on multiple “best community colleges” lists and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

19. Shawnee Community College in Ullin, IL

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Campus features like this lake got Shawnee Community College on our list of beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 5
Net Cost: $12,164

The Main Campus of Shawnee Community College is on 152 acres of gently rolling hills and woods near the Cache River Wetlands and a few miles from the Ohio River. Students can enjoy these natural views from the Observation Terrace, which overlooks the lake on campus and nearby picnic pavilion.

The entire Shawnee campus consists of the original “Rustic” campus and the main “New” campus building that covers 140,000 square feet, athletic fields, a lake, nature trails, vineyards, and agriculture test plots. SCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

18. Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh, NY

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The Main Building at Clinton Community College ranked this school among our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 5
Net Cost: $7,179

The main building at Clinton Community College was originally the Hotel Champlain, a historic hotel opened in 1890 as the destination for New York’s high society during the Victorian Era. Although it was destroyed in a fire and rebuilt, the beautiful architecture of this, now, community college remains, and the building has received renovations to keep up with today’s students.

This campus is located at Bluff Point, and the main campus overlooks Lake Champlain and the surrounding lush greenery. CCC is accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP).

17. Dutchess Community College in Fairview, NY

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The new residential hall at Dutchess Community College scored it a spot on our list of beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 5
Net Cost: $6,264

While Dutchess Community College is yet another school where a lot of the beauty lies in the building, the rest of this campus is well-balanced with a lush park-like setting adorned with multiple pieces of public art. The new Conklin Hall on campus, a suite-style residence hall, resembles a massive five-star hotel. According to College President Dr. Pamela Edington, the school has won numerous awards for its beauty and ease of access. The campus encompasses a total of 130 scenic acres close to the majestic Hudson River.

This beautiful college campus also has the reputation of being the best community college in the state for academic excellence and the success of its graduates. DCC has the lowest tuition of any college or university in the state and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges.

16. Moorpark College in Moorpark, CA

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Sleek architecture and manicured green spaces ranked Moorpark College as one of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 5
Net Cost: $4,379

One of the most beautiful community colleges in California, Moorpark College sits on a 150-acre campus that includes 15 buildings, a football stadium, track, other athletic facilities, an exotic animal compound and an observatory. A quick glance at the campus will show sleek, modern buildings surrounded by large stretches of well-manicured lawns, trees and shrubbery.

Moorpark College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

15. West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling, WV

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The B&O Building helped ranked West Virginia Northern Community College among our most beautiful college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 5
Net Cost: $2,998

The beauty of West Virginia Northern Community College is all in the building. The downtown Wheeling Campus administrative offices are housed in the B&O Building, which was originally the main Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Terminal. Completed in 1908, this lovely French Renaissance style building is still very much in its original state, with a few improvements like new patios and restorative remodeling.

WVNCC, according to the College Navigator Database, has a net cost of just $2,998 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

14. Miami Dade College in Miami, FL

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Miami Dade College ranked as one of our beautiful community college campuses because of the serene lake and lush walking paths.

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Points Awarded: 6
Net Cost: $8,606

Located on 245 acres in northern Miami-Dade County, the North Campus of Miami Dade College is beautifully landscaped and the college’s first campus. The classical-designed academic buildings surround a serene lake and lush walking paths.

North Campus also features a vast collection of palm trees, a greenhouse and a botanical garden as a part of the state-of-the-art Science Complex. Views of the campus’ natural beauty are visible from most of the classroom windows. MDC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.

13. Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, AZ

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The mountainous view and desert biodiversity are reasons why Scottsdale Community College is on our list of beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 6
Net Cost: $8,456

Scottsdale Community College is a part of the Maricopa County College System and the only public community college located on tribal land. This beautiful college campus offers unobstructed views of the nearby mountains and 160 acres and unique biodiversity found in the Sonoran Desert.

This campus comes with several eye-pleasing natural and man made features like the serene Two Waters Circle, modern architecture, well-manicured green expanses and the community gardens. SCC is a regionally-accredited institution through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Fun fact: David Spade is a SCC alum!

12. College of the Siskiyous in Weed, CA

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College of the Siskiyous is one of our beautiful community college campuses because of its lovely natural environment.

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Points Awarded: 6
Net Cost: $8,095

Examiner.com ranked the 250-acre College of the Siskiyous No. 1 on its list of the most beautiful community colleges in America. This community college is named after the beautiful mountain range that runs along the California-Oregon border, which is visible from most of the school’s buildings. The campus is at the base of majestic Mt. Shasta and is in the historic lumber town of Weed.

The beautiful natural environment of mountains, forests, lakes and streams serves as an outdoor workshop for many classes like art, geology and life sciences. Rafting and kayaking are popular sports among students with the nearby scenic whitewater rivers. Siskiyous is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

11. Casper College in Casper, WY

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The cascading position of these buildings help rank Casper College as one of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 6
Net Cost: $6,272

Casper College is a beautifully scenic community college at the foothills of Casper Mountain. Casper is one of the largest community colleges in the region and is in a prime location in Wyoming’s second largest city with wide open vistas and amazing scenery. The 200-acre grounds are distinctive with terraces that surround the modern buildings.

The classic red rock buildings are set so that they descend over a sloping hill in the center of campus like a picturesque staircase. The Higher Learning Commission (a commission of the North Central Association) evaluates and accredits Casper College.

10. Rich Mountain Community College in Mena, AR

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The Tower Room at Rich Mountain Community College offers views of the surrounding natural beauty, which helped rank this school among our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 6
Net Cost: $6,190

The main campus of Rich Mountain Community College is tucked at the foot of Rich Mountain and offers an abundance of untouched scenic beauty. This mountain is a part of the Ouachita Mountain range, where students are offered even more great views on the 54-mile Talimena Scenic Drive. This beautiful college campus is also surrounded by numerous crystal clear lakes and streams, as well as trails used for ATV’s, horseback riding, hiking and more.

The admissions center at RMCC is housed inside the Tower Room, where students, staff and faculty can get an even better view of their surrounding environment. The Higher Learning Commission accredits RMCC.

9. Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA

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The history behind Springfield Technical Community College’s site ranked this school with our most beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $8,744

Springfield Technical Community College is situated on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site that was built around the Springfield National Armory, which was established by George Washington to supply the U.S. This historic campus location also overlooks the center of Springfield and the Connecticut River.

The acres of trees surrounding this beautiful campus cover the college in lovely shades of reds, orange and greens during the fall semester. STCC is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.

8. University of Hawaii Maui College in Kahului, HI

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How can you beat the location when your beautiful community college campus is in Hawaii, like the University of Hawaii Maui College?

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Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $7,063

The University of Hawai’i Maui College campus is  on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, between the Maui’s volcanic ridges and stunning white sand beach. In 2014, over 60 staff volunteers gathered to plant 217 small multi-color bougainvillea along the Ka’ahumanu Avenue berm to form a flower corridor, which, when grown, could be the longest frontage of flowers in Kahului.

Maui College is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). This community college also placed third on Examiner.com’s list of America’s most beautiful community colleges.

7. Glendale Community College in Glendale, CA

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The Spanish architecture of Glendale Community College has landed the school among our most beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $4,188

The main campus of Glendale Community College made it to the No. 2 spot on Examiner.com’s list of America’s most beautiful community colleges. Today the campus consists of 100 acres and 15 permanent buildings, many of which are beautiful examples of stucco Spanish architecture.

With the almost year-round lovely weather that graces this area, students have the opportunity to enjoy great outdoor spots around campus like the Plaza Vaquero and San Gabriel Plaza Bridge. GCC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

6. Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara, CA

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The spectacular view from Santa Barbara City College scored this school a spot among our most beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 8
Net Cost: $10,718

The Best Schools ranked Santa Barbara City College the No. 2 best community college in the U.S. out of 50 total schools. This 104-year-old community college has a beautiful campus that is surrounded by stunning views of the harbor and Pacific Ocean. The light Spanish architecture with its orange roofs contrast against the lush meadows, palm trees and blue horizon, so much so that the school’s website has an entire page dedicated to wedding photography done on campus.

For those students who wish to take a break from class and take in their beautiful surroundings, the area offers a few different well-groomed overlook spots. SBCC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

5. Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA

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The architectural awards that Foothill College has received helped bump this school up to our top five beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 8
Net Cost: $6,590

The beautiful college campus of Foothill College has received numerous architectural awards, including the Honor Award (1962), Award of Merit (1963) and Special Commendation (1980) from the American Institute of Architects, as well as the Design Award from Progressive Architecture Magazine. This 122-acre college has a uniquely beautiful Japanese-inspired design, and the interior of some buildings like the dining room have a warm,  rustic feel.

FC was the first community college in California to offer online courses. It is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

4. Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College in Cloquet, MN

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Fond du Lac Tribal Community College has tons of symbolic features integrated into its campus, making it one of our top beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 9
Net Cost: $11,557

The Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College campus is situated in a beautiful 38-acre setting that was once a tree farm of 60-foot majestic red pines. This plot of land is located on top of a bluff that overlooks the community of Cloquet, and the Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee offices are just three miles away from the college.

This beautiful college campus was built with the environment in mind with many symbolic concepts integrated into the design. One example is the sacred circle and the wheel represented in the campus ring road, which has northerly slopes planted to represent the bear paw. Together, the bear paw and the circle represent strength and protection. Another example includes the extensive large windows  on academic buildings, which are meant to provide views of the environment while representing the importance of having a vision for the future. Several works of public art can also be found on campus, like Jack’s path, which includes four 600-pound bronze sculptures. These and many more elements are described on the college’s “Campus” webpage(http://fdltcc.edu/about-us/campus/). FDLTCC is a regionally-accredited institution through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

3. Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, IL

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The stunning Reid Memorial Library is one of the notable architectural features that scored Lewis and Clark Community College a spot among the top three beautiful community colleges.

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Points Awarded: 9
Net Cost: $4,022

Lewis and Clark Community College is known for its beautiful 215-acre campus and historic location on the grounds of the former Monticello College, the second oldest all-female college in the nation. This campus is home to a number of eye-catching sculptures and fountains from the Monticello Sculpture Gardens, and the campus is a Signature Garden site for the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Many of the historic buildings on this campus were constructed during the period of 1837-1890. One example, the Benjamin Godfrey Memorial Chapel, was built in 1854 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Illinois as “one of the six most authentic copies of New England church architecture beyond the Northeastern United States” in 1979. Another stunning architectural gem is the Gothic stone Reid Memorial Library.

2. Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, NC

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There are 14 different gardens at Sandhills Community College, ranking it No. 2 out of our most beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 10
Net Cost: $9,379

College President John Dempsey dubs the 240-acre Sandhills Community College “one of the most beautiful community college campuses in the state,” and there’s definitely some truth to that. Thirty-two acres of the campus consist of the Sandhills Horticultural Gardens, which were designed and are maintained by students in the landscape gardening program. The site contains 14 themed gardens that include the Fountain Courtyard, a whimsical Children’s Garden and the Ebersole Holly Garden,  the largest accessible holly collection on the east coast.

A few of the buildings at Sandhill, like Kennedy, Meyer and Wellard Halls, have their own courtyards where students can relax outside between classes, while Stone Hall is adorned with its own fountain. The classic red brick architecture, combined with the native longleaf pines, dogwoods and magnolias, makes this one great community college with a beautiful campus. Sandhills Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees, diplomas and certificates.

1. South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, AZ

community college, community colleges, colleges, best community colleges, most beautiful college campuses, most beautiful campuses
The South Mountain Community Library has helped South Mountain Community College to our No. 1 spot out of all of our beautiful community college campuses.

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Points Awarded: 10
Net Cost: $7,883

Along with Scottsdale Community College, South Mountain Community College is one of the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona. One of the most striking features of this beautiful college campus is the award-winning South Mountain Community Library, which opened in September 2011. According to the building’s architects, Richärd+Bauer Architecture, “the building builds upon physical, functional and philosophical layering and the dynamic interaction throughout the plan.” While the library has a stunning copper “skin”, the inside is lined in an acoustical cedar wood, and frosted acrylic panels reflect patterned abstractions of the agriculture that once was an integral part of the community. This library has won a whopping 10 awards, including being named one of 5 New Landmark Libraries (Academic) by Library Journal in 2012.

While the other buildings on campus are equally modern, sleek eye pleasers, the nearby South Mountain, which is represented in the school’s logo, offers students a view of more natural beauty in the backdrop. SMCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA).

Methodology

Information was sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Database, Wikipedia, the individual schools’ websites and other “most beautiful campuses” list articles.

The point system we used in our ranking works as follows:

    • Affordability: Net Cost under $5,000 (2 points) and under $9,000 (1 point)
    • Awards and Recognition: International accolade (2 points), national accolade (1 point), appearance on the National Register of Historic Places (1 point)
    • Other Recognition: Inclusion on other noteworthy “most beautiful college campuses” list articles (1 point per list)
    • Notable Features: Features, such as significant architecture, famous buildings, outdoor activity centers, farms, botanical gardens, arboretums, historical relevance, etc. (1 point each, or 2 points if there are several types of one feature, such as gardens)
    • Location: If the location is of certain significance, such as part of a national park or forest, on a hilltop or mountain, forest, etc. (1 point)

In cases where two or more schools have the same number of points, their rank order is determined by the schools’ affordability. The schools with lower net costs, as reported by the College Navigator Database, received the better ranking (lower net cost = lower number).

Sources

College Navigator
Bankrate
Create a Career
The Best Schools
Examiner.com
Wikipedia

Gabrielle Gibeily

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., but I recently moved to North Carolina. I graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park (GO TERPS!) in 2014, where I acquired a BA in multimedia journalism and a minor in creative writing. I absolutely love writing all attention-grabbing genres of fiction and non-fiction. I used to box competitively, I enjoy sewing and I have three dogs, Bubba, Ruckus and Ellie Mae, who I consider my children.