Tiny North Florida Community College barely registers as a blip on the vast map of the country’s 1,200 community colleges. It’s located in rural Madison County, Fla. (population 18,862), just south of the Georgia border, 55 miles east of Tallahassee, 112 miles west of Jacksonville.
Among Florida’s 28 community colleges, NFCC is annually either the smallest or the second-smallest in terms of enrollment, swapping spots with Florida Keys Community College, depending on which year it is. Its annual enrollment is 1,300 students, give or take; its service area covers some 600 square miles.
In a state which includes Miami Dade College, a behemoth with more than 150,000 students, and Valencia College, winner of the first Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2012, it’s difficult for a Lilliputian like NFCC to be heard above the din of its big-city brethren.
So when Washington Monthly magazine released its annual (and controversial) rankings of the nation’s best community college, and rated NFCC as the nation’s second-best community college, President John Grosskopf gladly accepted the praise, despite misgivings about the usefulness of ranking community colleges at all. <Read more.>