Each year, thousands of foreign students make their way into the US to seek better educational opportunities. From Ivy League schools such as Yale and Harvard to other more affordable options, America is home to some of the best colleges in the world. However, not all American colleges are worth attending. Based on tuition costs, quality of education, job prospects, and more, here are the worst colleges from each state in the US.
Washington – Heritage University
The state of Washington is filled with many great universities where students dream of enrolling. But since we have to pick the worst, we’ll go with the infamous Heritage University. According to statistics, the university has a graduation rate of 84.1%.
That’s not too bad unless you consider that only 4% of students graduate on time. Another huge red flag about the university is the predicted six-year salary for students. Most graduates have a median salary of $35,900 which isn’t a lot by Washington standards. That’s almost half of the state’s average salary which is $61,896. Hence, it should come as no surprise that 11.8% of student loan borrowers are defaulters.
Oregon – Pacific Northwest College of Art
Art schools are notorious for being expensive and the Pacific Northwest College of Art is no different. With an average student loan debt of $22,716, one can only imagine the financial pressure students are under.
And after spending all that money, the median post-graduation salary projections are $27,400 over six years. That’s not enough to pay the bills in Oregon let alone the student loan debts. Despite that, only 6.9% of students are unable to return their loans. The college also has a graduation rate of 57.6% which isn’t the worst by far.
Minnesota – Crown College
For the state of Minnesota, we have to go for Crown College which admittedly has a graduation rate of 57.1%. Beyond that, the school doesn’t have much going on for it. Especially if you check out the post-graduate median earnings after six years.
Most students are expected to earn around $35,100 six years into graduation. It should come as no surprise that 9.3% of these students end up defaulting on loans. Apart from the financial issues, the college is drastically understaffed with only one professor for every 19 students.
Massachusetts – Montserrat College of Art
Massachusetts is home to some of the best colleges in America and at the top of that list lies MIT, the ultimate dream college. Needless to say, the bar is set pretty high and there’s one college that stands out for all the wrong reasons.
Our worst pick for Massachusetts is the Montserrat College of Art. The Department of Education reports that the graduation rate in Montserrat is 48.5%. But at the end of their educational journey, students are left with an average student loan debt of $47,340. Compare that to their six-year postgraduate median salary of $26,500 and you can see why going to this college is a bad idea.
Hawaii – Chaminade University of Honolulu
Over the years, Hawaii has turned into a hotspot for tourists from all over America and beyond. This has made every commodity super expensive and college education is no different. While there aren’t many options in Hawaii when it comes to higher education, there are some decent colleges in the region.
The Chaminade University of Honolulu might not be the worst on the list but it’s a bit too expensive for the education offered. Students of the university are known to be saddled with an average student loan debt of $26,468. The six-year average earnings are $38,400 with a graduation rate of 48.3%.
Connecticut – Mitchell College
As compared to other colleges in Connecticut, Mitchell College is more trouble than it’s worth. The first drawback is that this college may cost you a fortune with an average of $31,848 in student loan debt. The average six-year salary is only a bit better than that at $32,000.
While its graduation rate is almost equal to the national average at 46.2%, the crushing debt might not be worth it. Especially since students believe that the college has outdated classrooms, subpar food, and a shoddy Wi-Fi connection. Clearly, the exorbitant fee of the college doesn’t go into improving basic on-campus utilities.
Rhode Island – Rhode Island College
Rhode Island has its fair share of great colleges that come highly recommended by students and scholars alike. The only one that we could find fault with on the basis of its low starting salary is Rhode Island College.
Rhode Island has its fair share of great colleges that come highly recommended by students and scholars alike. The only one that we could find fault with on the basis of its low starting salary is Rhode Island College.
The college’s starting salary of $37,000 isn’t too bad but it’s the lowest compared to other colleges in the vicinity. Other metrics include a 42.6% graduation rate and average student debt of $25,236. We know it’s not the worst option on this list but it’s definitely the one with the lowest prospects in Rhode Island.
Utah – Stevens Henager College-Ogden
In Utah, Stevens Henegar College is the best at being the worst. At 42.4%, the graduation rates aren’t anything special. The concerning part is that only 18% of the students end up graduating on time. After graduation, you can expect to owe $34,640 in student loan debt.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the six-year median salary barely hits $29,000 per year. Considering that the average salary per year according to the U.S. Census Bureau is $61,557, students barely make enough money to get by. Unsurprisingly, a whopping 19.4% of students end up defaulting as they are unable to pay their student loans back.
Wisconsin – Herzing University-Madison
Herzing University-Madison shows a couple of glaring red flags. For one, only 10% of the students graduate on time. Does the decent graduation rate even matter when most students don’t end up graduating on time? We’re not sure.
To make matters worse, 13.6% of the students default on their student loans which amount to $32,204 on average. The six-year salary projections show that students are likely to earn around $37,800 which is almost half of Wisconsin’s average annual salary of $60,773.
Kansas – Sterling College
Many believe that Sterling College is way over the market, meaning that it’s a bad bargain overall. Since Kansas has many other good options, it’s better to steer clear of this college. Sterling has a graduation rate of 42%, which isn’t all that great, to begin with.
The ones who do manage to graduate are often burdened with an average debt of $24,892. This debt is hard to pay off, especially since you’re expected to earn around $35,700 six years post-graduation. Sterling also has one teacher for every 12 students, making it very understaffed.
North Dakota – Mayville State University
If we had to pick the best out of the worst colleges in America, Mayville State University would win fair and square. From the number of graduates to the predicted salary, everything about Mayville is perfectly ordinary.
40.6% of the students in Mayville graduate and the student loan debt isn’t that bad at $27,000. The college isn’t as overpriced as many other institutions on the list. Plus, students are expected to earn an average six-year median salary of $39,300. In fact, 91% of Maryville’s graduates retain their employment for up to two years.
Arkansas – Philander Smith College
The only benefit of enrolling in Philander Smith College is that it appears affordable to many students as compared to other colleges in Arkansas. However, that illusion doesn’t last long when students leave with an average debt of $26,616.
Philander Smith has a mediocre graduation rate of 39%, out of which 20.1% end up defaulting on their loans after only three years of graduation. That isn’t surprising considering that students are expected to make little more than $24,400 six years after graduation.
Nebraska – Peru State College
Another underwhelming college on the list is Peru State in Nebraska. There’s nothing terrible about this institution but there’s nothing spectacular about it either. The graduation rate isn’t too high at 36.7% and according to CollegeFactual, only 18% of these students graduate on time.
Students can expect to be burdened by loans amounting to $22,404 which aren’t that bad as compared to others. A good thing about this college is that the expected six-year salary is $37,500, which is decent considering the loans. Despite that, 9% of students are unable to pay their loans back.
Vermont – Johnson State College
Considering the quality of education, Johnson State College is known to be fairly priced. Unfortunately, the rising student loan amounts suggest otherwise. The college charges a fee of $18,842 annually but the student loans amount to $31,736.
On top of that, only 36.7% of the students manage to graduate. These graduates have a six-year average salary of $33,200 which is pretty mediocre. The good news is that Johnson State University merged with Northern Vermont University in 2018. Perhaps the merger will improve the quality of education and the prospects of students.
New Hampshire – New England College
If you live in New Hampshire, you better remove New England College from your list of options. Only 36.3% of the students of this college manage to graduate. The ones who graduate are haunted by hefty student debts that amount to $34,536.
With a six-year average salary of $37,900, it’s no wonder that 12.2% of students can’t afford to pay their loans back. Perhaps the only advantage of studying at New England College is that 93% of the graduates remain employed two years post-graduation.
California – California College San Diego
We’re not sure what’s going on at California College San Diego but things are bad for the students of this institution. Two years after graduation, only 79% of students retain their employment. Considering the average student loan debt is $31,884, the median six-year salary of $39,800 is nothing.
To make matters worse, it has an abysmal graduation rate of only 36%. Understaffing is a huge issue when it comes to colleges in America. In California College, only 19% of the professors are full-time, making it difficult for students to seek guidance.
Kentucky – Lindsey Wilson College
At 34.2%, Lindsey Wilson College has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country. Considering how much it costs to study in this college, this graduation rate is a bit alarming. Add to that an average, growing student loan debt of $20,536, and you have a disaster on your hands.
The average six-year salary of $28,800 shows that job prospects aren’t great for graduates. No wonder 9.6% of the students aren’t able to pay back their loans. However, according to some statistics, 85% of students remain employed two years after graduation so that’s something.
South Dakota – Black Hills State University
Black Hills State University is nothing special but you wouldn’t be able to guess that just by looking at its exorbitant tuition fee. At $18,723 annually, only 33.2% of the students end up graduating. Out of that, 13% graduate on time. If that isn’t a red flag, we don’t know what is!
When it comes to student loans, you can expect to have an average debt of $26,672. However, there are some positives. The six-year salary of $35,900 isn’t that bad and reports suggest that the college has a 93% two-year employment rate.
New Jersey – Bloomfield College
New Jersey residents have a plethora of good options when it comes to colleges. So, we can’t imagine why one would choose Bloomfield College. It’s arguably the worst college in the state but not the worst on this list.
First of all, its graduation rate is 31.9% which is bad, to say the least. On top of that, students leave with an average debt of $26,044 with 14.5% of the students defaulting on their loans. Our advice: If you can’t pick a college within the state, you can always look at the incredible universities in states close to New Jersey.
Iowa – Waldorf University
Iowa isn’t known for being an expensive state but that clearly doesn’t include higher education. Take Waldorf University for example. This college costs way more than it’s worth and can land you in a student loan debt of $27,804.
While the average six-year salary is $37,800, around 9.7% of the borrowers default on their loans. Perhaps the reason behind that is the low graduation rate. Out of all the students, only 31.4% manage to graduate from Waldorf University, and only 26% graduate at the right time.
Alaska – University of Alaska Anchorage
Alaska doesn’t have a lot of infrastructure and basic amenities due to its rugged landscape. Similarly, finding a great college in the state can be a bit of a challenge. But we had no trouble finding the worse college in Alaska. That award goes to the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Considering the tuition fees of other universities in Alaska, this college is more expensive than most. The graduation rate is 31% and 12.2% of students end up defaulting on their student loans. However, there’s one big advantage and that’s the six-year median salary. Students are said to make around $46,000, which is two times that of the student loans incurred.
Delaware – Wesley College
Wesley College has only one thing going on for it, and that’s its high six-year median salary of $42,900. Apart from that, there’s nothing too remarkable about the college. In fact, it’s known to be a bit overpriced as compared to other universities in Delaware.
One drawback that stands out is the terrible graduation rate of 31%. One of the biggest reasons for low graduation rates is a low freshmen retention rate. Wesley College isn’t even easy to get into and only accepts 62% of the candidates. We wonder why freshmen tend to drop out of college when they work so hard to get in.
South Carolina – Benedict College
From Clemson University to the University of South Carolina, this state is home to many promising colleges. Unfortunately, Benedict College isn’t one of them. With a low graduation rate of 31%, meaning that most people end up dropping out of this university.
It’s strange that Benedict College only costs $9,184 annually but it tends to leave students with an average student loan debt of $45,144. Even the six-year average salary of $25,400 doesn’t come close to covering that kind of debt. Unsurprisingly, 8.6% of students can’t manage to pay their loans back.
Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College
When it comes to tuition fees and student loans, Lewis-Clark State College isn’t half bad. Students usually end up with an average loan of $19,948 and can earn $34,600 on average in six years. Weirdly enough, 12.8% of the students still end up defaulting on their loans.
One of the worst things about Lewis-Clark is its low graduation rate. At a graduation rate of 30%, one has to wonder why so many students are dropping out of this college. On top of that, only 11% of students graduate on time. One positive aspect of studying at Lewis-Clarke is that 68% of the professors are full-time and students report that they’re dedicated teachers.
Mississippi – Mississippi Valley State University
Mississippi Valley State University has a graduation rate of 29.8%, meaning that most students end up dropping out and abandoning their education. All things considered, this college is pretty cheap as it charges only $14,339 annually for tuition fees.
Despite being so low-cost, students somehow end up with an average student debt of $32,252. The six-year median salary is said to be $23,200 which is some of the lowest we have seen. Of course, this boosts the default rate which is 18.9%. In short, not enough students are graduating from this university, and the ones that do graduate end up in dire financial circumstances.
New York – College of New Rochelle
New York is a state filled with promising opportunities. But if you ever get the opportunity to study at the College of New Rochelle, we suggest you run away from it at once. Not only is this college considered to be the worst in New York, but it’s also one of the worst in America. Studying here will not equip you with the finances you need to live in this expensive state.
While the average starting salary of New Rochelle graduates is $40,000, it’s nothing compared to the cost of living in the state of New York. US Census Bureau has found that the average salary in New York is $57,782. If that wasn’t bad enough, the college has a graduation rate of 20% and a default rate of 12%.
Indiana – Indiana University – Northwest
Indiana University – Northwest has a long way to go before it can be one of the top universities in Indiana. While students report that the university has some amazing professors, there are other areas the university needs to work on.
The first thing would be its super low graduation rate of 28%. Even out of that, only 9% of the students graduate on time. When you do manage to graduate, you might be saddled with an average student loan of $22,000. Fortunately, students do end up earning $36,300 six years after graduation.
Montana – Montana State University Billings
You might be tempted by Montana State University Billing and its affordable tuition fees but don’t be fooled because this college has a graduation rate of 27.8%. If you are lucky enough to graduate, you might not be among the 11% of students who manage to graduate on time.
After graduation, you’ll have to contend with a hefty loan of $22,448 that’s defaulted by 11.5% of student loan borrowers. However, the good news is that 89% of the graduates are still employed two years post-graduation and can earn a salary of $34,600 after six years of graduation.
Maine – The University of Maine at Augusta
Perhaps you live in Maine and want to go to the University of Main at Augusta because it’s in the vicinity. We’re here to tell you to reconsider this decision. The first alarming aspect is its low graduation rate of 27.8%. Things don’t improve much after graduation as students leave with an average debt of $23,896.
The university has one of the highest default rates at 17%. Probably because most students barely manage to earn an average salary of $27,700 six years after graduation. According to Niche, the college earned a C, especially when it comes to Athletics. Perhaps the only mildly positive thing about this college is that 80% of the graduates remain employed two years after graduation.
Nevada – Nevada State College
There’s nothing wrong with going to a state school as most of them are pretty decent. But that’s not the case when it comes to Nevada State College. With only 27.6% of students graduating successfully, the college has a very low graduation rate due to massive dropouts.
If graduating wasn’t already hard enough, graduates only earn an average salary of $47,600 10 years after graduation. However, the average student loan debt is only $11,000 which is way lower than some other universities on this list. The catch is that 11% of students still default on their debt. Perhaps, the job prospects of Nevada State students are even worse than they seem.
Alabama – Alabama State University
5,000 students study at Alabama State University but only 26% of them make it out with a degree. The ones who are lucky enough to graduate don’t have great prospects. The average six-year salary is $27,700 which is below the national average salary.
The default rates are also alarmingly high with 21% of students unable to pay their loans within three years of graduation. The only reason why students might consider Alabama State is due to its high acceptance rate. 98% of the candidates are accepted to this university so the bar is set pretty low.
Wyoming – Laramie County Community College
We have to be honest here, Wyoming isn’t full of promising opportunities for higher education. While there aren’t any terrible universities around here, there’s a community college that deserves to be on this list.
Yes, we’re talking about Laramie County Community College. Only 25.9% of the students manage to graduate and 86% end up getting hired. The default rates are also high as 16% of the graduates are unable to pay back their student loans. In short, things don’t look too good for students of this community college.
North Carolina – Shaw University
It’s hard to get into Shaw University but it’s even harder to get out. The university has a graduation rate of 25.4% which means that most students drop out, change schools or fail to graduate. All that despite having a 52% acceptance rate.
Graduates leave with an average student loan of $28,044 which is hard to pay back considering the six-year average salary is $29,200. With such low job prospects, 19% of the students default on their borrowed loans after only three years of graduating.
Virginia – Virginia Union University
There’s no doubt that Virginia has its fair share of good colleges. Perhaps that’s why Virginia Union University fails to retain students. The low retention rates contribute to its low graduation rate of 25.4%. Another reason why students are dropping out of Virginia Union is probably that it’s simply too expensive.
Considering the student loan debt, which is $24,524 on average, and the six-year average salary of $32,000, it’s easy to understand why 19% of students become defaulters. It’s not easy surviving with growing student loan debts on a salary that barely meets the national average.
Georgia – The Art Institute of Atlanta
If you have deep pockets, the Art Institute of Atlanta may be for you. But for those who hail from more humble backgrounds, this university will cost you more than it’s worth. Most students have to deal with an average student loan of $31,656.
This amount is more than the six-year salary of graduates which comes out to be $30,900. We’re not surprised that 18.8% of the students fail to pay it all back. That’s only if you even manage to graduate because only 23% of the students make it out with a degree. While students say good things about the experienced professors, there are complaints about limited resources on campus.
Ohio – Central State University
Central State University is a seemingly affordable option in the state of Ohio. However, when you dig deeper, you’ll find that despite the fair pricing, students are incurring average debts of $26,896. The graduation rate of 22% should also give you pause.
Why are so many students dropping out of Central State University? Whether it’s due to high costs or stiff competition, the university needs to work on its student retention rates. While it’s good that 91% of students remain employed two years post-graduation, it should be noted that 27.8% of the students fail to pay back their loans.
West Virginia – West Virginia State University
Compared to other state universities, West Virginia State University demands an annual fee of $20,036. That’s a lot considering that it has a graduation rate of 21.9% and is certainly not the best university out there.
Due to these steep prices, students tend to rack up crushing debts that average $31,900. Unfortunately, the average six-year salary of $29,800 fails to cover all these expenses. Naturally, 17.1% of graduates find it impossible to pay off their student debts and end up defaulting.
Michigan – Baker College in Flint
The city of Flint in Michigan went through a public health crisis in 2014 and things haven’t been the same since. Along with Flint and its residents, Baker College is also struggling to retain students and deliver quality education.
The graduation rate is 21.1% and graduates earn an average of $27,200 in the six years after graduation. This isn’t much considering that these graduates also have student loan debts amounting to $22,852. The only good statistic is that 82% of these grads retain employment two years after graduating.
Illinois – DeVry University
DeVry University is an online school that just doesn’t come too close to other non-remote universities. The school has earned a bad reputation and was even ranked as the worst university in America. While it operates online, its physical location is based in Illinois.
The graduation rate of DeVry is only 20.6% but the average debt is a whopping $30,000. While the debt is high, graduates do earn an average six-year salary of $44,100. However, that’s not enough to make up for the crushing debt as the default rate is pretty high.
Maryland – Coppin State University
Considering how small Maryland is, the state is home to some really good universities. Since we’re here to talk about the worst, we’ll be taking a look at Coppin State University. It may be the worst of Maryland but it’s certainly not the worst of America.
The six-year average salary is $38,100 which is decent considering the average student debt is $23,936. One of the biggest drawbacks of Coppin is that only 20.4% of the students graduate. There’s also a lack of full-time professors but the 14:1 teacher-to-student ratio isn’t the worst we’ve ever witnessed.
Pennsylvania – Strayer University
There’s not a lot of information about Strayer University in Pennsylvania and for good reason. Whatever we did find wasn’t too promising, to say the least. With only 20% of students getting a degree in 2018, the retention rate of Strayer is troubling.
Graduates tend to get a six-year average salary of $45,900 but only 85% of graduates manage to land a job. There’s also a lack of professors on campus as the student-to-professor ratio is 29:1. This suggests that students may have trouble seeking help and guidance due to understaffing.