In fact, the small community college based in Cochise County was named the second-best community college in the country in 2017.
More than 700 community colleges all over the country were analyzed and ranked from worst to best by WalletHub. They were ranked on multiple factors: education, career outcomes, cost and financing.
Even though it may seem small, Cochise College serves more than 11,000 students and offers 90 degrees and technical certificates. The popular registered nursing degree, cybersecurity, aviation, and engineering programs have helped put Cochise College on the map in terms of quality learning opportunities that are in demand locally.
Despite its success, the college continues working to move the needle on specific Arizona Education Progress Meter indicators. First, it aims to increase the percentage of Cochise County graduating seniors who move on to post-secondary education and training by embedding career navigators in the local high schools and guaranteeing a scholarship to graduating seniors who enroll full time and select a major.
Second, it is implementing a number of research-based initiatives recommended by Complete College America. These initiatives are intended to help the college retain and advance students, and to impact the credential attainment rate in Cochise County.
At Cochise College, students learn about subjects in small classes with individualized attention from faculty who pass along real-world experience. Graduates can transfer seamlessly to all three Arizona public universities, and articulation agreements with numerous out-of-state universities also guarantee transfer of credits and opportunities for more advanced learning.
Cochise College has also built strong relationships with local and national businesses to offer co-op and internship opportunities. Many graduates start careers with local healthcare providers, government agencies, military contractors, utilities, and others.
Lindsay Romo, a recent Cochise graduate with two associate degrees in psychology and philosophy, said she developed close relationships with her professors, who all knew her by name. She also said the college helped her to continue on to get her bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona.
Cochise College has more than 300 full-time and part-time employees, helping to create many jobs for the region. The college’s main goal is to reach more students at all of its locations, and to raise awareness about the specific programs and job opportunities that are available to local students.
Cochise College has campuses in Douglas and Sierra Vista, and centers in Benson, Fort Huachuca and Willcox. The county currently has a population of about 125,000.
Colleges like Cochise are helping to increase the number of Arizona residents who complete a two-year or four-year degree or receive a postsecondary certificate. The attainment goal outlined in the Arizona Education Progress Meter is to get to 60 percent by 2030 from the current rate of 42 percent.