A good education can be a bridge between you and a better future. With a college degree, your chances of good opportunities significantly increase. Not only that, but you will see higher pay as well. Wallet Hub released an extensive study detailing the most and least educated states in the country. Their findings are significant because the type of education you receive matters a great deal as well. Wallet Hub compared all states across 20 total metrics which fell into two categories: educational attainment and quality of education. Here are the ten least and the ten most educated states.
Least Educated - West Virginia
West Virginia was the second-least educated state in America in Wallet Hub's findings. That's a lot to take in for the folks that reside there. At the time, only about one in five adults held a bachelor's degree. This year, the state improved.
West Virginia is now the second to last least educated region in the nation. They say that slow motion is better than no motion, so jumping up one spot is something to be cheerful about at the least.
Least Educated - Louisiana
For Louisiana, there's more to it than the quality of education or education attainment ranking. The issues of why it ranks so low are deeply rooted in the system of the state. A professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette helped break it down.
"To stop this brain drain, Louisiana must pay its teachers better and provide better working conditions," Fossey told Wallet Hub. "If you compare a typical Texas high school with a Louisiana high school, the contrast is shocking. Texas schools are modern, clean, and well-maintained. Louisiana schools are dilapidated in many communities."
Least Educated - Alabama
Up next, we have Alabama. With a quality of education ranking of 44 and attainment of education at 45, these results can seem dumbfounding. At least, that's how the local educators in the state feel.
"Funding is a large key when you're dealing with education," says Georgiana Principal Bryant Marlow. "When they start cutting that, then they definitely start cutting the success of our students."Having enough money for students is always an important key to help build their knowledge.
Least Educated - Oklahoma
Oklahoma falls pretty low. Fewer than 30% of adults hold a bachelors degree, which is far less than the national share. Oklahoma received a total score of 34.43, which is only a smidge away from South Carolina (34.77).
Out of all the states, Oklahoma also rests at number 42 when it comes to median household income (the median is $49,767). The correlation between education and money is right in our face if you look at the statistics.
Least Educated - Nevada
Nevada is the home of Las Vegas, where what happens there stays there. Well, quality education isn't happening too often. The state sits at 34, and it's ranked 44th in educational attainment. That's not anything to write home about.
Another interesting bit of information is that college graduates aren't moving to Nevada. That's due to the state's unhealthy job market. It also had the sixth-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Something has to give, so this can be fixed.
Least Educated - Mississippi
It only took two weeks for then-Gov. Phil Bryant's claim that Mississippi's education system "is clearly better than it has ever been before" to be disproven. The state is ranked dead last. How can a governor become so confused?
Mississippi snagged last place thanks to their stupendously low performance in several important categories. Mississippi had the highest gender gap in educational achievement in the country. They also only had 21.3% of people that have a bachelor's degree.
Least Educated - South Carolina
We hate to see it, but South Carolina sits pretty low on this ranking. It has a quality of education rank of 46 and an educational attainment ranking of 39. That's enough to cause a scare for some parents, but it's not so bad.
With a large share of South Carolinians working in manufacturing, that can explain why so few have a higher level of education. It's not like there aren't any great universities. There's Clemson and the University of South Carolina, so there's opportunity lingering.
Least Educated - Tennessee
Tennessee has the 44th lowest median household income in America, at $48,708. Tennessee's total score comes out to 35.85, which is a far cry from the top place. From 2016 to 2017, this state did see an increase from 26.1% to 27.3% in adults who have a bachelor's degree. That was one of the largest in any state.
With universities like Vanderbilt and the University of Tennessee, you can still get a quality education, it just isn't the best of the best of all states.
Least Educated - Arkansas
The trend for the most educated schools was that the bulk of them was in the northeastern region of America. Now, we see that the least educated come from the southern states. For Arkansas, the state struggles with the number of kids obtaining their high school diploma.
"9th grade is critical in that. That's a grade where students are going through a transition from middle school to high school, so we have to work hard as a high school to support our 9th graders in that transition," said Dana Tabor, an Asst. Principal for Curriculum and Instruction for Pea Ridge High School.
Least Educated - Kentucky
With such great universities in Kentucky (the University of Kentucky, Murray State, and the University of Louisville), one wouldn't imagine the state would be ranked so low. Unfortunately, they are, and it's for a couple of reasons.
Wallet Hub reports that Kentucky is so low due to a large amount of non-high school diploma holders. They also have a surprisingly low rate of people who have bachelor's degrees. There aren't many other states that are lower than Kentucky.
Most Educated #10 - Washington
Of the 7.5 million people that dwell in the state of Washington, more than 60% live in the Seattle metropolitan area. Washington also ranks 11th in median household income with $66,174. Tenth in most educated and 11th in wealth adds up.
The educational attainment for this state ranks ninth, while the quality of what is learned places 16th. With over 40 institutes of higher learning, we would agree that it's safe for an aspiring college grad to voyage here.
Most Educated #9 - Utah
Coming in with a total score of 64.53, Utah isn't that far down on the list. Not only will you get an excellent education if you live there, but Utah also has the least income inequality of any state in America.
In Utah, you can find the University of Utah, Westminster College, and the University of Phoenix. Another unique stat is that Utah has the lowest racial gap in educational attainment. That's something to tell the news about!
Most Educated #8 - Minnesota
Not only is Minnesota one of the wealthiest states in America, but it ranks well in quality of education and educational attainment. It doesn't have a vast disparity like a few other states we've mentioned so far.
A fact that should go a long way for parents is that the US Census Bureau reports that Minnesota has the second-highest proportion of high school graduates. If you're raising a child in Minnesota, you can sleep easier at night knowing they'll have a higher chance of getting their high school diploma.
Most Educated #7 - New Hampshire
Even with a pretty small population (1.35 million), New Hampshire still sits pretty high in the rankings. With over 80 public and 30 private high schools, you can rest assured that the kids are going into university ready for more knowledge.
New Hampshire is also home to one of the most prestigious schools, Dartmouth College. The state's fifth ranking in educational attainment isn't too bad either. But being number 20 in quality of education needs to change.
Most Educated #6 - Virginia
As if being in the top ten isn't enough, Virginia has produced eight U.S. presidents. That's more than any other state! Virginia's educational attainment and quality of education rank ratios aren't too bad, either. The former ranks 7th while the latter falls in at 9th.
The state also has over 176 colleges and universities pulsing through their streets! Of those places of higher learning includes are the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. It sounds like there's a school every five miles.
Most Educated #5 -Colorado
Ranking fifth in the most educated states in America is Colorado. While it might be number five, it's only number two when it comes to educational attainment. Sadly, its quality of education drops to 31st.
Over the last 29 years, public school education has grown each year. The state hasn't seen a drop in public school enrollments since the year the San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XXIII against the Bengals in 1989. That an impressive stat to throw around.
Most Educated #4 - Connecticut
Connecticut has a median household income of $74,781. That's good for number seven in the nation which directly correlates to their high position on the most educated state's list. Its overall score is 68.22, but the state is ranked fourth in educational attainment.
Connecticut's most significant peril is that their quality of education is a tad low. Coming in at 17th overall, they could afford to improve that a bit and that could translate to boosting their ranking on this list.
Most Educated #3 - Vermont
If you pay close attention, then you'll pick up on a pattern. Some of the most educated states happen to be in the northeastern area of America, and Vermont falls into that category.
A shocking fact about this state is that in 2017, it spent $1.6 billion on education alone. That money went toward 76,000 public school pupils, at an average of over $21,000 per student. As far as the quality of education goes, their ranking is five.
Most Educated #2 - Maryland
Seven points behind Massachusetts is Maryland. This exceptional state has world-renowned colleges such as Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. States that have above-average education tend to have more affluent citizens.
Concerning the educational attainment ranking, Maryland sits at number three overall, so students are getting their money's worth if they decide to attend a big college. With a significant number of highly educated individuals, Maryland ranks first in median household income ($78,916).
Most Educated #1 - Massachusetts
Massachusetts has a reputation for many great things, and as of 2019, it's now ranked the most educated state in the nation. Massachusetts is the home for some of the most prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Amherst College.
By the numbers, they ranked number one both in quality of education and educational attainment. Not only that, but Massachusetts also has the highest percentage of bachelor's degree holders. They're impressive across the board, making them a clear-cut number one.
Washington, D.C: Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private Catholic school located in Washington D.C. The school was founded in 1789 and has an urban campus setting overlooking the Potomac River. The school is known for majors like finance, political science, and government. Georgetown University also has one of the best-looking campuses in the U.S.
The campus is spread over 104 acres and has a total enrollment of 7,459 students. The annual tuition is $56,058 and the starting salary for a graduate is $65,200. The acceptance rate at Georgetown is 16 percent and the graduation rate is 95 percent.
Maryland: Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins was founded in 1876 and is one of the top schools in the nation. There are five undergraduate schools at the university and majors such as public health, medicine and engineering are the most popular. The school also has a very generous financial aid program.
Johns Hopkins University is spread over 140 acres and has an enrollment of 6,064 students. The annual tuition is $53,350 and the starting salary for a graduate is $62,700. The school has an acceptance rate of 13 percent and a graduation rate of 93 percent.
Connecticut: Yale University
Yale University is an Ivy League institution located in New Haven, Connecticut. The school was founded in 1701 and is considered both a research and liberal arts school. It is ranked number 3 in the top schools in the nation. Yale is also known for its drama club and a capella group.
Yale University stretches over 373 acres and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,964 students. The total tuition is $55,000. The acceptance rate is 7 percent and the graduation rate is 97 percent. The starting salary for Yale graduates is $56,600.
Illinois: University Of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private university founded in 1890 and located in Hyde Park. The school is known for its rigorous academic programs and is noted for its business, medicine and engineering programs. In addition to strong academics, the University of Chicago also boasts some of the best sports teams in the nation.
The campus is spread over 217 acres and has a total student enrollment of 6,552. The total tuition is $59,298 and the starting salary for graduates is $54,300. The school is incredibly competitive and has an acceptance rate of only 8 percent.
Indiana: University Of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame is a private Catholic institution that was founded in 1842. The school is located in South Bend which is a suburb of Chicago. The university contains eight schools, the largest of them being the College of Arts and Letters. Notre Dame is also known for its athletic programs.
The University of Notre Dame is spread over 1,265 acres of land and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 8,617 students. The total tuition is $55,553 and the average graduate's starting salary is $61,800. The school's acceptance rate is 19 percent.
Maine: Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College is a private educational institution founded in 1794. The school is located in Brunswick, Maine. The school is known for its government, economics, and political science majors. In addition to academics, Bowdoin College also has 31 sports teams and 100 student organizations.
The Bowdoin College campus is spread over 207 acres and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,828 students. The tuition is $56,350 and the starting salary for a graduate is $44,600. The acceptance rate at the school is 14 percent and the graduation rate is 95 percent.
Massachusetts: Harvard University
Harvard University, located in Cambridge, is one of the best universities in the world. It is also the oldest college in America. Founded in 1636, Harvard boasts some of the best academic programs in the nation. The university consists of 13 schools that include majors like medicine, law, and engineering.
Harvard University is spread over 5,076 acres and has a total student enrollment of 6,788. The annual tuition is $51,925 and the starting salary for a graduate is $70,300. The acceptance rate is 5 percent and the graduation rate is 95 percent.
Missouri: Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis is a private school founded in 1853 and is now one of the best universities in the nation. The school is located in a vibrant city that offers numerous options for entertainment. Washington University is known for majors like medicine, engineering, and business.
The school is spread over 169 acres and has a total enrollment of 7,751 students. The annual tuition is $55,292 and the starting salary for a graduate is $70,300. The acceptance rate at Washington University is 5 percent and the graduation rate is 96 percent.
New Hampshire: Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is an Ivy League institution located in Hanover. The university was founded in 1769 and is considered to be one of the best schools in the nation. Dartmouth is also home to the Outing Club which is one of the oldest and most popular clubs at Dartmouth.
The university is spread over 237 acres and has a total enrollment of 4,417 students. The annual tuition is $57,204 and the starting salary for a graduate is $58,900. Some popular majors include economics, business, and computer science. The acceptance rate at Dartmouth is 10 percent.
New Jersey: Princeton University
Princeton University is a member of the Ivy League and was founded in 1746. It is one of the oldest universities in the world and is located in the quiet town of Princeton in New Jersey. The college is known for its eating clubs and which are social and dining organizations. The school is committed to community service.
Princeton University is spread over 600 acres and has a student enrollment of 5,428. The annual tuition is $51,870 and the starting salary for a graduate is $60,800. The acceptance rate at Princeton is 6 percent, while the graduation rate is 97 percent.
New York: Columbia University
Columbia University, located in the heart of New York City, is one of the top schools in the nation. The university was founded in 1754 and is known for majors like economics, political science, and computer science. The college also hosts the Pulitzer Prizes.
Columbia University is spread over 36 acres and has a total enrollment of 6,202 students. Ninety percent of the students live on campus. The annual tuition is $61,850 and the starting salary for a graduate is $66,500. The acceptance rate is 7 percent and the graduation rate is 95 percent.
North Carolina: Duke University
Duke University is a private institution located in Durham, North Carolina. It was founded in 1838 and is regarded as one of the top schools in the nation. The most popular majors at Duke include public policy, economics, and computer science. In addition to academics, the school also boasts one of the top athletic programs in the nation.
Duke University has a total enrollment of 6,682 students and the annual tuition is $58,198. The acceptance rate is 10 percent and there is a 95 percent graduation rate. The starting salary for a Duke graduate is $76,300.
Alabama: University Of West Alabama
The University of West Alabama is located in Livingston and was founded in 1835 by Julia Tutwiler. It was established as an all-female institution and changed its name many times over the years to represent its mission accurately. It is ranked as one of the best universities in the South.
The campus stretches over 514 acres and the total number of students is 2,159. The in-state tuition fee at the university is $10,040 and out-of-state tuition is $18,490. The acceptance rate at the University of West Alabama is 28 percent and the graduation rate is 33 percent.
Pennsylvania: University Of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League institution located in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1740 and is ranked as one of the top schools in the nation. UPenn is known for majors like economics, nursing, and law. The school's lacrosse and basketball teams are some of the best in the U.S.
UPenn is spread over 299 acres and has a total enrollment of 10,183 students. The annual tuition at the university is $57,770 and the starting salary for a graduate is $71,600. The acceptance rate is 9 percent and the graduation rate is 96 percent.
California: Stanford University
Stanford University is located in Palo Alto and is one of the top five schools in the nation. The university was founded in 1885 by Jane and Leland Stanford. The university is located in the Bay Area, approximately 30 miles from San Francisco. It is known for its engineering, medicine and business programs,
The Stanford University campus stretches over 8,180 acres and has a student enrollment of 7,087. Fees at the university total $53,529. The acceptance rate is just 5 percent and the graduation rate is 94 percent.
Rhode Island: Brown University
Brown University is a private school located in Providence. The school was founded in 1764 and is located in a college town that offers a lot of entertainment and dining options. Brown also has Division 1 athletic teams and over 400 student organizations. The school is known for majors like English, history, and medicine.
The university is spread over 146 acres and a total enrollment of 7,043 students. The annual tuition is $58,504 and the starting salary for a graduate is $52,500. The acceptance rate at Brown is 8 percent and the graduation rate is 95 percent.
Tennessee: Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University is a private school located in Nashville. It was founded in 1873 and is one of the best schools in the U.S. The school is located in Music City and offers various options for shopping and entertainment. Some popular majors at Vanderbilt include science, economics, and liberal arts.
The university is spread over 333 acres and has a student enrollment of 6,861 students. The annual tuition is $52,070 and the starting salary for a graduate is $53,400. The acceptance rate at Vanderbilt University is 11 percent and the graduation rate is 92 percent.
Texas: Rice University
Rice University is a private school located in Houston, Texas. It has an urban campus setting and is situated in one of the prettiest neighborhoods in the world. Some popular majors at Rice University include engineering, information science, and economics. They also have Division 1 athletic teams.
The campus is spread over 300 acres and the total enrollment is 3,992 students. The annual tuition is $49,112 and the starting salary for a graduate is $56,600. The acceptance rate at Rice University is 16 percent and the graduation rate is 91 percent.
Vermont: Middlebury College
Middlebury College is a private institution founded in 1800. It is located in Champlain Valley which is known for its ski slopes and it also hosts one of the oldest winter carnivals in the U.S. There are more than 150 student organizations on campus and various social activities available.
The campus is spread over 350 acres and has a total enrollment of 2,579 students. The annual tuition is $56,216 and the starting salary for a graduate is $41,900. The acceptance rate at Middlebury College is 17 percent and the graduation rate is 95 percent.
Colorado: U.S Air Force Academy
The U.S Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs and was founded in 1954. The school abides by a strict schedule, where the students (also known as cadets) need to enroll in a number of extracurricular activities. Incoming students attend a five-week program that gives them an insight into life in the Air Force.
The U.S Air Force Academy is spread over 18,500 acres of land and has a total enrollment of 4,336 students. The acceptance rate is 12 percent and the graduation rate is 78 percent. The most popular majors at the school include engineering, economics, and business.