Scroll Down To Continue

Worst Colleges in America by State

Wyoming – Laramie County Community College

Alright, so here's the deal. Wyoming doesn’t have a lot of options. We didn’t want to list the only university in the state as being utterly terrible when it wasn’t. That honor goes to Laramie County Community College. This community college has a 25.9% graduation rate with 86% of graduates finding a job post-graduation. The college also has a default rate of 16%, according to Data U.S.A.  

Vermont – Johnson State College

Johnson State College may be "fairly" priced ($18,842 annual in-state price), but the loan amounts are high ($31,736). The graduation rate is just 36.7%. We’re couldn’t find data on how much students make post-graduation, but we do know that 9.6% of students default on their loans. 

Alaska – University of Alaska Anchorage

Alaska doesn’t have many options, and most of them are good. The University of Alaska Anchorage just falls behind in a few areas. First of all, its price is over market based on other universities in the state. Only around 31% of students graduate, and the default rate is 12.2% three years following graduation. Unlike others on the list, the median starting salary is pretty high at $46,000—double that of total student loans.  

North Dakota – Mayville State University

Mayville State University is probably the best of the worst. It has a graduation rate of 40.6%. Thanks to the great price, students end up with a little over $27,000 in debt. The median salary six years after graduation is $39,300, but 11.4% still default.

South Dakota – Black Hills State University

Black Hills State University expensive ($18,723 annual in-state price) and has a low graduation rate (33.2%). Average student loans sit at $26,672, but the median six-year salary is $35,900. Unfortunately, 9.3% still default on that debt.

Delaware – Wesley College

Wesley College is over market compared to other colleges in the area, and students generally leave with $31,084 in debt. The good news is that they do earn $42,900 median salary six years after graduation. The thing Wesley really needs to work on is their graduation rate, which is currently 31%.

Rhode Island – Rhode Island College

Rhode Island has a lot going for it, namely good colleges. It was tough to pick one that was really terrible, but we landed on Rhode Island College due to the lower starting salary. This college has a 42.6% graduation rate, $25,236 average student loan debt, 8.2% default rate, and $37,000 staring salary—much lower than others nearby.  

Montana – Montana State University Billings

Montana State University Billings should be avoided, if possible. Even if it’s a fair price, only 27.8% graduate, and when they do, they leave with $22,448 in debt, with 11.5% of students default on their loans. Six years after graduation, the median salary is $34,600.  

Maine – University of Maine at Augusta

The University of Maine at Augusta may be close for some, but not the best choice. The graduation rate is 27.8%. Students walk away with a debt of $23,896, with 17% default rate. The bad news keeps on rolling with a median salary of $27,700.

New Hampshire – New England College

Whatever you do, don’t go to New England College. It has a 36.3% graduation rate with students walking out with a debt of $34,536. The six-year median salary is $37,900, and loans have a 12.2% default rate.

Hawaii – Chaminade University of Honolulu

Hawaii doesn’t have a ton of options, but what they do have isn’t terrible. The worst thing about Chaminade University is that it’s pretty expensive. Students walk away with $26,468 worth of student loans, but only 5.6% defaults—better than the national average of 6.9%. The graduation rate is 48.3%, and the average six-year salary is $38,400.

Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College

Idaho has some pretty decently-priced options for college. Even Lewis-Clark State is cheap enough for students to only walk away with $19,948 in student loans. Unfortunately, 12.8% still default despite earning $34,600 on average six-years post-graduation. The graduation rate is 30.5%.

West Virginia – West Virginia State University

West Virginia State has a 21.9% graduation rate, possibly because it’s so expensive ($20,036 annually in-state). Still, students leave with $31,900 in debt, and 17.1% default on their loans. Maybe due to the median six-year salary being just $29,800.

Nebraska – Peru State College

Peru State College isn’t absolutely terrible, but it isn’t good either. It has a graduation rate of 36.7%, and average total loans amounting to $22,404 per student. The benefit is that the median salary is $37,500 six years after graduation, but 9% still default on their loans.

New Mexico – University of the Southwest

University of the Southwest has an incredibly low graduation rate of 16.1%. The price is over market compared to other colleges and universities in the area. Students graduate with $23,112 worth of debt, with 8.6% defaulting on that debt. The median six-year salary is $36,200.

Kansas – Sterling College

Kansas actually has some good options, but not Sterling College. This one is over market, and the average student loan debt is $24,892. Six years post-graduation, the median salary is $35,700, but that’s only for the 42% that actually finish Sterling.   

Mississippi – Mississippi Valley State University

Only 29.8% of students actually graduate from Mississippi Valley State University. Even though it’s a decent price ($14,339 annually), students still end up with loans of $32,252. After six years, the median salary is $23,200, which is extremely low and contributes to the 18.9% default rate on loans.  

Arkansas – Philander Smith College

The only thing Philander Smith College has going for it is that it doesn’t cost a lot. The graduation rate is 39%, and students usually walk out with an average of $26,616 in debt. Six years following graduation, students earn a median of $24,400, which makes it difficult to repay their loans. Unfortunately, 20.1% default after three years.  

Nevada – Nevada State College

Most state schools are pretty great, but not Nevada State. This college has a 27.6% graduation rate. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the average median salary for graduates. That being said, the average debt is just over $11,000, but 11% still default on their payments.

Iowa – Waldorf University

You’d think Iowa would be cheaper than others on the list, but nope.  Waldorf University is over market, and students usually end up with $27,804 in debt. The good news is that the median salary is $37,800, but that doesn’t stop 9.7% defaulting on their loans. Maybe it’s due to the 31.4% graduation rate?

Utah – Stevens Henager College-Ogden

Several Stevens Henegar College locations made the list, but Ogden is the worst of them all. It has a graduation rate of 42.4%, $34,640 average student loans, and a painfully-low six-year average salary of $28,800. This all attributes to a default rate of 19.4%.

Connecticut – Mitchell College

College Factual marked Mitchell College as being “over market” compared to other options in the area. Students have an average of $31,848 in student loans and most end up with a $32,000 median salary after six years. The graduation rate, however, is close to the national average at 46.2%. The national average is currently 59%.

Oklahoma – Bacone College

Bacone’s graduation rate is a low, low 14.9%. The price is pretty high, so students leave with an average debt of $25,220, and 10.6% default on their loans. If you manage to actually graduate and get a job, the six-year median salary is $34,500.

Oregon – Pacific Northwest College of Art

Pacific Northwest College of Art is insanely expensive, as art schools often are. The average student loan debt is $22,716, and the median salary six-years post-graduation is a mere $27,400. That wouldn’t pay the bills in Oregon. Still, it has a 57.6% graduation rate, and the default rate is just 6.9%.

Kentucky – Lindsey Wilson College

Lindsey Wilson is part of the low-graduation-squad at 34.2%, which is pretty bad since the price is over market. The average student loan debt is $20,536 with a default rate of 9.6%. Worst of all, it’s going up. The median salary doesn’t look too great, either, at $28,800.

Louisiana – Grambling State University

According to U.S. News, Grambling State University has a 10% graduation rate—yikes! It’s also pretty expensive, and students leave with a debt of $27,656. Since the median salary is also low ($28,100), 16.1% of students are destined to default on their loans.   

Alabama – Alabama State University

Alabama State University has over 5,000 students, but one of the lowest graduation rates in the state (26%). Even after graduation, the median earnings six years later sits at $27,700—well below the national average. Even worse, around 21% of students will default on their loans just after three years.

South Carolina – Benedict College

South Carolina is another state with a few excellent, top-notch colleges, but Benedict College? Not so much. It has a 31% graduation rate, but the remarkable thing is how cheap it is versus how much the average debt is. The annual net price is $9,184, but the average student loan is $45,144. A total of 8.6% default on those loans, possibly due to a six-year median salary of $25,400.

Minnesota – Crown College

One of the only good things about Crown College is the 57.1% graduation rate. Now for the bad news: students leave with $31,720, the median earnings six years post-graduation is $35,100, and 9.3% of those borrowers default on their loans.  

Colorado – Nazarene Bible College

Nazarene Bible College is expensive. Students walk away with an average of $42,340 in student loans, which is a lot considering most only make $29,700 six years after graduation. Due to this, the default rate sits at 12.9%, but the default rate could also be high because only 16.4% graduate.

Wisconsin – Herzing University-Madison

We do have to say that Herzing University-Madison has a decent graduation rate of 42.1%. That’s where it all stops. The average student debt is $32,204 with 13.6% defaulting on that amount. The six-year salary, however, isn’t terrible ($37,800).

Maryland – Coppin State University

Maryland has more options than you’d think for such a small state. On top of that, they’re actually pretty decent. Coppin is the “worst,” but it’s not terrible compared to others. Students leave with a debt of $23,936, but the median six-year salary is $38,100. The only terrible thing about Coppin is the graduation rate (20.4%).

Missouri – Harris-Stowe State University

Harris-Stowe State University has one of the lowest graduation rates in the whole nation—8%. Coupling with that is the average student loan debt of $30,944. Since the median six-year salary is $26,700, 21.5% of people default on their loans.

Indiana – Indiana University – Northwest

Indiana University – Northwest has some pretty great professors, but it still has some stuff to work on. The average graduation rate is 28%, and students usually walk away with almost $22,000 in loans. The good news is that the median salary is $36,300.

Tennessee – Le Moyne-Owen College

Le Moyne-Owen has an embarrassing low graduation rate of 20%. Despite the fair price, students still leave with $36,796 in debt. On top of that, the median six-year salary is just $28,400, which could account for the high 20.4% default rate.  

Massachusetts – New England Institute of Art

With MIT, colleges have an incredibly high bar in Massachusetts. New England Institute of Art is the worst of the worst, according to Washington Monthly. The median debt for this college is $30,600, with 16% of the borrowers defaulting on the loan. To add to this, only 36% graduate.  

Arizona – Western International University

Western International University has about 1,300 students, but the graduation is a low, low 3%. This is easily one of the lowest graduation rates in the entire nation. After three years, 6.2% of students default on their loans.

Washington – Heritage University

We’ll start with the good news first. Heritage University has an 84.1% graduation rate and a median six-year salary of $35,900. Now for the bad news: only 4% of the students graduate on time and 11.8% of borrowers default on their debt. Still better than some on the list. 

Virginia – Virginia Union University

Maybe it’s the competition, but Virginia Union University can’t keep students. It has a graduation rate of 25.4% of students, but that could be because it’s so expensive. Students leave with around $24,524 in debt, and around 15% of those will default on the debt. After college, the median six-year salary is $32,000.

New Jersey – Bloomfield College

New Jersey has some pretty good options. Bloomfield is the worst, but it’s better than some on this list. Bloomfield College has a 31.9% graduation rate. The median salary is $38,200, which graduates use to pay their debt of $26,044. Still, some have trouble, which causes a 14.5% default rate on loans despite 92% finding employment.  

Michigan – Baker College in Flint

Flint has had troubles, and Baker College is also struggling. Only 21.1% of students graduate, and when they do, they leave with $22,852 in debt with a median salary of $27,200 to pay for it (after six years). The default rate is 16% and on the rise.

North Carolina – Shaw University

Not many people graduate from Shaw. It has a graduation rate of 25.4%, and students have average loans of $28,044. That’s not great since the six-year salary is only $29,200. After just three years, 19.6% default on their loans.

Georgia – The Art Institute of Atlanta

Art colleges are extremely expensive, and this one is no exception. Students leave with $31,656 in student loans. We couldn’t find how much graduates make post-graduation, but with a default rate of 18.8%, we can’t say it’s much. The graduation rate of The Art Institute of Atlanta is 23%.

Ohio – Central State University

Central State University has a graduation rate of 22%, but that’s not the worst part. Despite being a "fair" price (according to College Factual), students still end up with an average loan amount of $26,896. The six-year median salary is $26,100, but it’s apparently not enough—a whopping 27.8% default.

Illinois – DeVry University

DeVry University has a bad name and ranked last in almost all states (since it’s an online school). It has a physical location in Illinois, so this is why it’s ranked as the worst in this state. In Illinois, the campus has a 20.6% graduation rate, over $30,000 in debt per student, and a high default rate—we couldn’t find the exact number for just this campus.

Pennsylvania – Strayer University

Strayer University doesn’t release a lot of info, but what we found isn’t appealing. It has a graduation rate of 20%. Of those that graduate, they do manage to get a median salary of $45,900. Unfortunately, the number of people that found employment post-graduation is only 85%—lower than a lot on this list.

New York – College of New Rochelle

College of New Rochelle has topped the charts as being one of the worst universities in the nation, so it naturally made the list of worst in New York. The only beneficial thing about this college is the average starting salary of $40,000, but that pales in comparison to the cost of living in New York. The average debt is $30,096, and over 12% default on their loans. The graduation rate is 29%.

Florida – Edward Waters College

There are a lot of bad things about Edward Waters College. First, it has a low 19.6% graduation rate. Second, six-year post-graduation surveys show a $25,900 median salary. Finally, it’s expensive, so students walk out with $22,558 worth of debt. Edward Waters College’s loan default rate is 21.7%.

Texas – Texas College

Texas is huge, and there are almost too many options to count. With the plethora of competition, colleges have to be good. Not so much for Texas College. This college has a terribly low 12.4% graduation rate, $21,624 average student loan debt, 23.3% default rate, and $23,400 six-year median salary.  

California – California College San Diego

California College San Diego has some work to do. After two years, only 79% of students are employed, and most make around $39,800 six years after graduation. It’s not much considering the average debt is $31,884. Of course, this is if you even get to graduate at all. The graduation rate sits at 36%.