1st) Norwalk Community College
The continuing echoes of the recession have filled Norwalk Community College’s parking lots to nearly their full capacity, says Director of Marketing and Public Relations Madeline Barillo. This is for two reasons. Firstly, people are heading back to school for skills that will give them an edge in an ever more competitive job market. Environmental technology is a booming field, says Barillo, as is the medical sector — nurses, nursing assistants, physical therapy assistants and medical billing specialists are direly needed. Secondly, community college is more affordable than a typical four-year institution. In-state tuition at NCC is $3,590 per year. That’s less than half the average for a four-year school in the U.S. (now a jaw-dropping $7,605). Plus, students can transfer their credits to a four-year school and wind up with the same degree as the kids who’ve been paying the higher fees the full four years. NCC students have gone on to Cornell, NYU, Cooper Union and other prestigious schools, some on transfer scholarships that offer sums ranging from $7,000 to $102,000, says Barillo. And don’t think you will be crimped in the educational experience if you start out at NCC. The place has state-of-the-art facilities. Barillo points to the patient care rooms, modeled to the smallest detail after actual rooms at local hospitals, and the high-tech computerized patient mannequins, which are programmed to tell of symptoms so nursing students can make a diagnosis.
188 Richards Ave.
2nd) Housatonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
3rd) Porter and Chester Institute
670 Lordship Blvd.