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Montgomery College Has Been Named the Best Online Community College in Maryland by Optimal’s Guide to Online Schools

Montgomery College has been named the best Online Community College in Maryland by Optimal’s Guide to Online Schoolsnew window. Optimal’s Guide uses many factors important to the success of a community college, including retention rate, graduation rate, and the variety of programs available to determine rankings. Additionally, the rankings weigh the percent of students enrolled in online degrees specifically, as an indicator of the success of the college’s distance education program. These data points were all collected by the National Center of Education Statistics.

Featuring five fully online degrees, Montgomery College’s online enrollment has increased by almost 19 percent in the past five years.

“Montgomery College continues to provide and enhance the access and affordability of education for all,” said Dr. Sanjay Rai, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “The heightened focus on online programs and course offerings over the last few years has resulted in the development of our online degrees, online extended winter sessions, and z-courses and z-degrees (‘z’ indicating that there is no textbook cost). This recognition reaffirms the efforts of our faculty and staff in providing high quality and affordable online courses.”

Extended winter session at MC, which is all online, has increased 295 percent since it began four years ago and has an enrollment of almost 1,100 students.

“We understand that students need flexibility in their educational pursuits,” said Dr. Michael Mills, vice president of E-Learning, Innovation and Teaching Excellence at the College. “Online degrees and classes allow students who may not otherwise get a chance to attend college to do so. We provide them with the same high-quality faculty and support services that on-campus students receive. Virtual tutoring is available 24/7.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted higher education to an unprecedented extent. College campuses are shut down and there are still many questions about whether they will be able to open in the fall. With the future of higher education and the economy more uncertain than ever, many students are rethinking the traditional model of a brick-and-mortar education and considering the benefits and safety of online degrees.

“The entire education system is in an unprecedented time of upheaval and the economy is in rapid decline. Students are scared and are looking for options. Optimal wants to help these students by providing quality, affordable degree options that can be completed entirely online, allowing people to stay safe and close to family,” said Optimal CEO Sung Rhee. “We understand that many people are facing hardship right now and cannot pay top-dollar for an education. We hope that our resources provide a path forward during this trying time.”

Online community colleges offer an affordable option for students who want to begin their education path at home and bypass the unpredictability of what the fall semester may bring. Additionally, this choice can eliminate the financial strain of a four-year, on-campus degree at a traditional university, an important consideration as students face an uncertain economy.


About Montgomery College
Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

About Optimal
Optimal helps prospective students make informed, data-driven decisions to improve their collegiate experience and their post-college careers. The company provides over 85,000 in-depth student reviews and college rankings for every major based on alumni salaries and manually researched tuitions. Optimal’s tools and services provide accessible and transparent financial data regarding cost and earning potential that give students educational paths that lead them to success, without burdening them with insurmountable debt. https://www.optimal.comnew window