NANTICOKE — Luzerne County Community College recently got bragging rights as the topped ranked community college in Pennsylvania.
The ratings were devised by WalletHub and released online at wallethub.com. The online explanation notes it used “17 key indicators of cost and quality” in reviewing 715 community colleges nationwide. Those 17 indicators were grouped into three broad categories: cost and financing, education outcomes, and career outcomes, which were combined for a total score.
“I was thrilled when I found out we were number one,” said Luzerne County Community College president Thomas P. Leary. “It’s nice to be recognized among other great institutions in the state and the nation.”
The maximum total score was 100. LCCC scored 42.83. That wasn’t particularly high nationwide, earning an overall rank 508 among those 715. But it was tops among 13 colleges reviewed in Pennsylvania.
With the college’s top ranking, Leary suggested it should serve as a reminder to LCCC’s mission.
“With the top spot, it reinforces that we at LCCC are serving our students effectively and that we will continue to do so,” he said. “It also recognizes that the faculty and staff have truly helped the students who’ve enrolled here.”
WalletHub also ranked states for the quality of their community college systems, and the Keystone State ranked poorly overall: 42nd among the 42 state systems scrutinized. Since LCCC must operate within the community college system set up by the sate, that may go a long way in explaining why it got such a low national ranking among individual colleges despite being No. 1 in Penn’s Woods.
Perhaps most importantly for local students, among the three broad categories used for the total score, LCCC scored well nationally in “career outcomes,” ranking 121 among the 715 schools reviewed.
LCCC did not do so well in the other two categories, ranking 641st among 715 in the cost and financing category, and 613th in education outcomes.
State grant, campus work
The college’s board of trustees met Tuesday and Leary announced LCCC secured a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that will help its downtown Scranton center that’s located in the former Bon-Ton at the Marketplace at Steamtown.
Also during the meeting, officials showed how $360,000 was spent on upgrades at the main campus in Nanticoke. The work was either completed over the summer or will be carried over into the new semester.
A bulk of the money was used to upgrade technology in classrooms and labs and to repave a parking lot.
Sandra Nicholas, executive director of the LCCC Foundation, also said the college also set aside $50,000 to help students with textbook costs.
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish
Reach Dan Stokes at 570-991-6389 or on Twitter @ByDanStokes