It's no secret that the cost of higher education in the U.S. has soared in recent years and that a growing number of students are considering less expensive community colleges to get their degrees.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced a proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students. The proposal acknowledges that today's students need expanded skill sets "to meet the demands of a growing global economy without having to take on decades of debt before they even embark on their career."
At the same time, a new study by personal finance site WalletHub shows many community colleges are shedding their reputations as low-budget, academically inferior educational institutions. In some cases, they're even "outperforming their traditional university counterparts."
WalletHub looked at 670 community colleges and considered four major factors at each school: cost and financing, classroom experience, education outcomes and career outcomes. It also weighed 17 "relevant metrics" and came up with a list of the best and worst community colleges in the nation.
Click ahead for a look at the top and bottom five on that list.