The 25 Worst Colleges in America and The States They Are Located In

With over 4,000 universities and colleges in the US, high school graduates consider several factors before enrolling into the University of their choice. Depending on the unique needs of the students, some colleges in America are regarded as fantastic while a few are categorized as worst colleges. This begs the question: what makes a college bad?

Over the years, analyses have been carried out to determine the answer to that question. As a result, some factors were chosen as criteria for categorizing the worst universities in the United States. They include high annual cost, debt levels, student loan default rates, low graduation rate, as well as low median starting income. On a few occasions, the return on investment over twenty years, and the overall ranking of the institutions were also put into consideration.

The return on investment is calculated as total earnings made by the graduate throughout their career minus the cost of achieving a degree, as well as the earnings the individual would have made only with a high school education over the same period. With the undergraduate degree being one of the surest means of bolstering lifetime earnings, it is reported to be worth more than $2.8 million over a lifetime. As such, high school graduates are advised to think twice before enrolling in the following colleges listed below.

Colleges You Should Avoid Attending in the United State

25. The University of Montevallo State

State: Alabama

(Image Source)

Established in the year 1896 in Montevallo, Alabama, the University of Montevallo is the only public liberal arts college situated in the state. The college has a total number of 2,600 students of which 2,346 are undergraduates despite having a strict acceptance rate of 48 percent. This public liberal arts college made the list of worst colleges in America because of its average student loan debt estimated at $25,484.

Interestingly, almost half of the students graduate annually as the school’s graduation rate is 49%. Out-of-state students pay $40,000 as the annual cost of attendance while in-state students pay $27,000. With some of the students leaving with heavy debt upon graduation, the return on investment is on the negative side at -$20,200. However, the median starting income for graduates of the university is said to be about $38,000.

  • Location: Alabama
  • Year founded: 1896
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 2,346
  • Graduation rate: 49%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $27,000 and out-of-state; $40,000
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $25,484

24. The University of South Caroline, Aiken

State: South Carolina

Worst Colleges in America
(Image Source)

This is a public university founded in Aiken, South Carolina in 1961. It has an undergraduate enrollment of 3,223 and a postgraduates number of 157. The in-state students pay the annual cost of attendance of $18,526 while out-of-state students pay $28,900. Despite not regarded among the old and historic colleges in the United States, most students don’t prefer to graduate from the university due to lack of activities, as well as job opportunities in the community; they often transfer to other colleges.

The institution has a graduation rate of 42% and an average debt per student of $24,692, though their graduates earn a median starting income of $41,000 after a few years of employment. Nonetheless, the return on investment is still low as it is estimated at -$28,100.

  • Location: South Carolina
  • Year founded: 1961
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 3,223
  • Graduation rate: 42%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $18,526 and out-of-state; $28,900
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $24,692

23. Florida Memorial University

State: Florida

(Image Source)

With an average student debt of $30,169, Florida Memorial University makes the list of worst colleges in America in 2020. The private historically black university (HBCU) was founded in Miami Gardens, Florida in 1879 and has a total number of 1,800 students, with 1,669 being undergraduate students. Its annual cost of attendance is stated as $22,270 while the graduation rate is 38%.

Even with a median starting income of $36,600 for graduates of the university, the return on investment is very poor at – $64,000; and apparently, this scares students away from the university.

  • Location: Florida
  • Year founded: 1879
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 1,669
  • Graduation rate: 38%
  • Cost of attendance: $22,270
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $30,169

22. Grambling State University

State: Louisiana

(Image Source)

One of the popularly known historically black public universities, Grambling State University was established in 1901. The number of undergraduate students in the school is stated as over 4,000 and about 41% are likely to graduate with a degree. The total annual cost of attending the university is $24,703 for in-state students while out of state pay $33,726. Following the average student loan debt of $25,732, the annual cost of attendance has proved to be quite expensive for some of the students.

Despite the median starting income for graduates of the school estimated at $43,800, about 16.1% default on repaying their loans. The return on investment is a bit encouraging, it’s $61,100.

  • Location: Louisiana
  • Year founded: 1901
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: over 4,000
  • Graduation rate: $41%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $24,703 and out-of-state; $33,726
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $25,732

21. Saint Augustine’s University

State: North Carolina

Worst Colleges in America
(Image Source)

Saint Augustine’s University was established by Episcopal clergy in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1867. It is a private historically black college with a total number of 974 students. It has a graduation rate of 26% and students who were able to graduate from the institution accumulate an average loan debt of $22,500. The cost of attendance for in-state students is $7,692 while out-of-state students pay $17,890. The alumni of the university earn a median starting salary of $21,500.

  • Location: North Carolina
  • Year founded:1867
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: below 974
  • Graduation rate: 26%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $7,692 and out-of-state; $17,890
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $22,500

20. Nazarene Bible College

State: Colorado

(Image Source)

With a graduation rate of 16.4% and a default loan rate of 12.9%, Nazarene Bible College makes the list of worst colleges in America. The private institution was founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the year 1964 and 1400 students are enrolled in the college. It has students to faculty ratio of 7:1 and the total annual cost of attendance is $26,860. This is seemingly expensive as the average loan debt per student is very high at $42,340.

Most of the students attending the college are on part-time programs and some of the graduates made an average starting salary of about $29,700 after six years of graduation. Putting into consideration the low graduation rate, as well as the poor starting income after graduation, students are advised against attending this private institution.

  • Location: Colorado
  • Year founded: 1964
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: below 1,400
  • Graduation rate: 16.4%
  • Cost of attendance: $26,860
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $42,340

19. Stratford University

State: Virginia

(Image Source)

Like Nazarene Bible College, the majority of the students attending Stratford University are on part-time programs. The university was established in Northern Virginia in 1976. It has a total of 2,096 students with 1,817 being undergraduates and the annual cost of attendance is $28,435. Students who get to graduate with a degree are only 30% and they earn a starting salary of $35,500 during the first few years of employment. The institution has an average loan debt of $10,834 per student which is somewhat low.

  • Location: Virginia
  • Year founded: 1976
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 1,817
  • Graduation rate: 30%
  • Cost of attendance: $28,435
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $10,834

18. University of the District of Columbia

State: Washington, D.C.

(Image Source)

University of the District of Columbia is another historically black university that was founded in Washington, D. C. in 1851. As the only public university situated in the city, the institution has an undergraduate population of 3,900 with a graduation rate of 18%. This has made it a school that high school graduates do not regard as ideal, despite being situated at the heart of Washington, D. C.

The total cost of attending the university for in-state students is $23,071 while out-of-state students pay $29,600. Students leave the school with an average loan debt of $22,000 and the alumni have earned an impressive median starting income of $51,300.

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Year founded: 1851
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 3,900
  • Graduation rate: 18%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $23,071 and out-of-state; $29,600
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $22,000

17. Shaw University

State: North Carolina

(Image Source)

Shaw University is one of the worst colleges to attend in America due to its low graduation rate of 18%. The historically black university was established in Raleigh, North Carolina in December 1865. It has a total of 1,660 students, with an undergraduate enrollment of 1,546. The total cost of attending the university is $29,734 while the average student loan debt upon graduation is $28,144.

This results in a negative return on investment estimated at – $ 93,600 after twenty years as most of the graduates earned $29,600 as average starting salary after a few years of employment. Analyses have shown that only a few of the alumni earned a higher salary than an individual with a high school certificate after the first few years of graduation and this contributes to the university’s default loan repayment rate of 19.6%.

  • Location: North Carolina
  • Year founded: 1865
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 1,546
  • Graduation rate: 18%
  • Cost of attendance: $29,734
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $28,144

16. Fayetteville State University

State: North Carolina

Worst Colleges in America
(Image Source)

Fayetteville University is another historically black university situated in North Carolina. It was founded in 1867 and the number of undergraduate enrollment is below 5,400 which is the total number of students in the school. Despite the large population, about 57% of its students get to leave the university with a degree which is not so bad compared to the graduation rates of other schools on the list. The total cost of attendance is $17,521 for in-state students while out-of-state pay $29,129 and this leaves students with an average loan debt of $21,000 upon graduation.

With a median starting income for graduates of the school estimated at $38,000, the return-on-investment after twenty years is $29,500.

  • Location: North Carolina
  • Year founded: 1867
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: below 5,400
  • Graduation rate: 57%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $17,521 and out-of-state; $29,129
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $21,000

15. Lindsey Wilson College

State: Kentucky

(Image Source)

This private Methodist university was established in Columbia, Kentucky in 1903. It has an undergraduate population of 2,144 and postgraduates enrollment of 446, making it a total of 2,590 students. The average cost of attending the university is $34,232 and the average loan debt per student is estimated at $21,000. The institution has a low graduation rate of 33%, thus, making it hard for students to attend.

Graduates of Lindsey Wilson College earn an average starting salary of $38,500 and the return-on-investment after twenty years is on the negative side at – $160, 800; hence, the average default loan rate is 9.6%. The only good thing about the institution is that 85% of its students get employed two years after graduation which is a little higher when compared to the national average of 83%.

  • Location: Kentucky
  • Year founded: 1903
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 2,144
  • Graduation rate: 33%
  • Cost of attendance: $34,232
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $21,000
READ   A Complete List of Jay Z's Discography, Career Successes and How He Spends His Money

14. Morris College

State: South Carolina

(Image Source)

Founded in 1908, Morris College is a private university operated by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina. The historically black college has about 1200 undergraduate students and 20% of them get to graduate from the school annually. Despite running the institution on outdated technology, the cost of attendance is a bit high at $27,170.

The average student loan debt is $26,000 while the median starting income for their graduates is $32,300.

  • Location: South Carolina
  • Year founded: 1908
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 1200
  • Graduation rate: 20%
  • Cost of attendance: $27,170
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $26,000

13. Western International University

State: Arizona

(Image Source)

Western International University made the list of worst colleges in America because of its graduation rate of 15%. The for-profit private institution was established in Arizona in 1978 and has an undergraduate population of about 1,300. The total number of students attending the university is over 2,000 and their students to faculty ratio is 340:1. The total cost of attendance is $6,000. Nonetheless, about 6.2% of students defer on loan repayment after three years of graduation, as the average student loan debt is $21,228.

  • Location: Arizona
  • Year founded: 1978
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 1,300
  • Graduation rate: 15%
  • Cost of attendance: $11,186
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $21,228

12. Philander Smith College

State: Arkansas

(Image Source)

A historically black college, Philander Smith College was established as Walden Seminary in 1877 and adopted its present name in 1882. The private institution has a total of 760 students and the average cost of attendance is $26,007. About 39% of the students get to graduate from the college annually with an average loan debt of $26,616. With the starting salary of alumni stated as $24,400, approximately 20.1% find it difficult to repay their loans after three years of graduation.

  • Location: Arkansas
  • Year founded: 1877
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: below 760
  • Graduation rate: 39%
  • Cost of attendance: $26,007
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $26,616

11. The Art Institute of Atlanta

State: Georgia

(Image Source)

The Art Institute of Atlanta was founded in Dunwoody, Georgia in 1949. It is a for-profit art school with a graduation rate of 16% and undergraduate enrollment of below 1,246 of which only 11% get to graduate on time. The average loan debt per student is $31,656 while the average cost of attending this college is $21,000. After ten years of graduation, its alumni’s median starting income is estimated at $35,300 and this contributes to the school’s default loan rate of 18.8%.

  • Location: Georgia
  • Year founded: 1949
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: below 1,246
  • Graduation rate: 16%
  • Cost of attendance: $21,000
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $31,656

10. Waldorf University

State: Iowa

(Image Source)

With an average student loan debt of $27,804, Waldorf University is considered one of the worst colleges to attend in America. The private for-profit university was established in Forest City, Iowa in 1903. It has a total number of 4,500 students and over 2,600 students attend the undergraduate programs as the institution has an acceptance rate of 75%.

READ   A Complete List of Jay Z's Discography, Career Successes and How He Spends His Money

The annual cost of attendance is approximately $21,000 and the graduation rate is 23%, with only 26% of the students graduating on time. Even though graduates of the institution earn a median starting income of $37,800, about 9.7% default on their loan repayment.

  • Location: Iowa
  • Year founded: 1903
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: over 2,600
  • Graduation rate: 23%
  • Cost of attendance: approximately $21,000
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $27,804

9. University of the Southwest

State: New Mexico

Worst Colleges in America
(Image Source)

The University of the South West was founded in 1962 in Hobbs, New Mexico as a private Christian university. About 441 undergraduates have enrolled in the school and the total number of students is a little over 1000. This is not surprising as the school doesn’t accept many students. It has an acceptance rate of 45%. The cost of attendance is $27,626 and the graduation rate is 20%.

Students normally leave the school with an average loan debt of $23,112 and end up earning $36,200 as salary after six years of graduation. About 8.6% defer on repaying their loans.

  • Location: New Mexico
  • Year founded: 1962
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 441
  • Graduation rate: 20%
  • Cost of attendance: $27,626
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $23,112

8. Mayville State University

State: North Dakota

(Image Source”)

Mayville State University is listed as one of the worst colleges in America as a result of its graduation rate of 31%. The public university was established in Mayville, North Dakota in 1889 and has a total of 1,184 students. The average cost of attendance for in-state students is $19,164 and out-of-state students pay $22,061. As such, the average student loan debt is $28,418.

The good news about the university is that 91% of their graduates get employed two years after leaving school and they end up earning an average starting salary of $39,300 after six years of employment. The default loan rate of their student is 11.4%.

  • Location: North Dakota
  • Year founded: 1889
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: below 1,184
  • Graduation rate: 31%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $19,164 and out-of-state; $22,061
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $28,418

7. Black Hill State University

State: South Dakota

(Image Source)

This public university was founded in Spearfish, South Dakota in 1883. It has an undergraduate enrollment of 3,858 and about only 13% get to graduate on time as the graduation rate of the institution is 38%. Students leave the school with an average loan debt of $25,400 as the total cost of attendance is $21,851 for in-state students and $24,997 for out-of-state students.

This seemingly contributes to a negative return-on-investment estimated at -$24,000 after twenty years. The good thing about Black Hill State University is that it has a high employment rate of 93% as their graduates often get employed within two years of graduation.

  • Location: South Dakota
  • Year founded: 1883
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 3,887
  • Graduation rate: 38%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $21,851 and out-of-state; $24,997
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $25,400

6. New England College

State: New Hampshire

(Image Source)

This is a private liberal arts college established in 1946 in Henniker, New Hampshire. High school graduates are often advised against attending New England College because of its average loan debt of $34,536 per student. Approximately 2,800 students enroll in their undergraduate and graduate programs with 1,200 being undergraduate students. It has a 100% acceptance rate which means that the institution accepts as many students that apply but its graduation rate of 38% would likely scare them away.

The annual cost of attendance is quite expensive at $57,585. About 12.2% of students defer on the repayment of their loans and after six years of graduation, the alumni earn an average starting salary of $37,900.

  • Location: New Hampshire
  • Year founded: 1946
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 1,200
  • Graduation rate: 38%
  • Cost of attendance: $57,585
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $34,536

5. Alabama State University

State: Alabama

(Image Source)

This historically black university was founded in Montgomery, Alabama in 1867. The undergraduate enrollment is 5,116 as the university has a 98% acceptance rate. It has a poor graduation rate of 21% and the total cost for in-state students is $22,119 and $30,438 for out-of-state students. The average loan debt per student upon graduation is $32,637 while the median starting income after six years of leaving the school is only $27,700. This plays a part in the university’s high default loan rate of about 21%.

  • Location: Alabama
  • Year founded:1867
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 5,116
  • Graduation rate: 21%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $22,119 and out-of-state; $30,438
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $32,637

4. Wesley College

State: Delaware

(Image Source)

Wesley College has an average student loan debt of $31,084 and the cost of attending the college is $43,620 which is high compared to other schools on the list. It was established in Dover, Delaware as a private liberal arts college in 1873. Its total number of students is 2,320 and about 17% leave the institution with a degree. They end up earning an impressive average starting salary of $42,900 after six years of graduation.

  • Location: Delaware
  • Year founded: 1873
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: below 2,320
  • Graduation rate: 17%
  • Cost of attendance: $43,620
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $31,084

3. The University of Maine at Augusta

State: Maine

Worst Colleges in America
(Image Source)

The University of Maine at Augusta has a total of 6,000 students, however, about 30% get to graduate from the public institution annually. It was established in Augusta, Maine in 1965 and the annual cost of attendance for out-of-state students is $32,138 while in-state students pay $20,968.

Students graduate with an average loan debt of $23,896 and with the median starting income of their alumni estimated at $27,700, about 17% defer on repaying their loans. The good news is that 80% of the graduates get employed after two years of graduation.

  • Location: Maine
  • Year founded: 1965
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: below 6,000
  • Graduation rate: 30%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $20,968 and out-of-state; $32,138
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $23,896

2. Coppin State University

State: Maryland

(Image Source)

With a low graduation rate of 20%, Coppin State University is ranked among the worst colleges in America. It is a public historically black university established in Baltimore, Maryland in 1900. The number of undergraduate students attending the school is 2,383 while the acceptance rate is 38%.

The total cost of attending Coppin State University is $23,805 for in-state students and $30,202 for out-of-state students and this contributes to the average student loan debt of $23,936 upon graduation. However, the median starting salary earned by the alumni after six years of employment is $38,100.

  • Location: Maryland
  • Year founded: 1900
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 2,383
  • Graduation rate: 20%
  • Cost of attendance: in-state; $23,805 and out-of-state; $30,202
  • Average graduation student loan debt: $23,936

1. DeVry University

State: Illinois

(Image Source)

DeVry University was established in Naperville, Illinois in 1931 as DeForest Training School and was renamed to DeVry University in 2002. It has an undergraduate enrollment of 14,163 and a total of 18,195 students. The institution is usually ranked as one of the worst colleges in the United States because their students graduate with a loan debt of approximately $43,000. In addition to that, its graduation rate (29%) is quite low when compared to the student population.

Although the annual cost of attending the school is $23,769, their graduates earn $44,100 as the average starting salary after six years.

Another factor that dents the image of the university in addition to their high student loan debt upon graduation is the Federal Trade Commission lawsuit against the school for divulging misleading information to students on their chance of getting employed in the field after graduation.

  • Location: Illinois
  • Year founded: 1931
  • Undergraduate enrollment number: 14,163
  • Graduation rate: 29%
  • Cost of attendance: $23,769
  • Average graduation student loan debt: approximately $43,000
Chioma Uchenwoke
Chioma Uchenwoke
Apart from content writing in the area of entertainment, personal finance and celebrity net worth, Chioma’s main interests are movies, football, music and books. She has been writing professionally for about 2 years in these fields

Recommended

The Game Net Worth And How He Made A Fortune From Rap Music

The Game is an American rapper, producer and entrepreneur who has been widely credited for relaunching the West coast rap into the mainstream. He...

Miranda Cosgrove’s Net Worth: How the iCarly Star’s Wealth Has Accrued

When Nickelodeon is mentioned, what comes to mind is a bunch of kids playing around and having fun. The truth however is that these...

Larry David – Net Worth, Wife, and Relationship With Bernie Sanders

Larry David, born Lawrence Gene David on July 2, 1947, in Brooklyn, New York is a comedian, writer, actor and TV producer.  Let's take...

Kevin James Net Worth: How Much Money the Comedy Actor Is Worth Now

Throughout his comedy career that has spanned over three decades, Kevin James has dazzled millions of fans with his uncanny improv skills. From featuring...

Eric Andre Net Worth: How Much Money the Comedian Has Made

Eric Andre started his career with random stand-up comedy jobs and later diverted to commercial gigs. Before becoming a big name in the entertainment...

The 25 Richest Twitch Streamers and their Net Worth

Not long past, playing video games was a hobby that was guaranteed to fetch kids much scorn from their parents if they spend too...

Matt Groening: A Look At His Net Worth, Best Movies & TV Shows

Matthew Abram Groening is an American animator and a cartoonist who is best known for being the creator of popular cartoon series “Simpsons” which...

What is MrBeast’s Net Worth and How Much Money Does He Make on YouTube? 

For creators, YouTube is as much as a means of creative expression as it is a means to make money, and for Jimmy Donaldson,...

Joji Net Worth: How Much Money Filthy Frank Has Made In His Career

Be it comedy or music, Japanese-born sensation, Joji, has proven that he has an abundance of talent and has accumulated a net worth of...

Dame Dash’s Full Net Worth in 2020, Wife & Family Details

What is Dame Dash's net worth? Dame Dash, also known as Damon Dash is a record producer, entrepreneur, and actor. He is well-known as the...

An Inside Look at Taraji P Henson’s Net Worth, Son, and Boyfriend

Taraji P Henson is an American actress and singer. Widely popular for her role as Cookie Lyon in the FOX hit musical series Empire,...

A Look at Daymond John’s Biggest Achievements, Net Worth And Marriages

Daymond John may as well be popular as one of the impeccably dressed stars but as regards his reputation, he is preferably described as...

Featured Today

Kimberly Sustad – Biography, Age And Husband

If you are making a list of women who exemplify what it means to be both beautiful and unique in their looks and talents;...

Adam Lambert Net Worth: How Much Money the Former American Idol Finalist Has Now

There is no gainsaying the fact that Adam Lambert is one of the most successful products in the annals of American Idol. Since he...

Joel Osteen – Divorce Rumours, Wife & Net Worth in 2020

Over 7 million viewers weekly and more than 20 million monthly in over 100 countries across the globe tune in to listen to American...

What Is Wrong With Barron Trump, Is He Really Autistic? Where Is He Now?

Autism is prevalent and can affect people of all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups. The disorder, which limits a person's ability to relate and...

Who is Zack Snyder’s Daughter Autumn Snyder and Why Did She Commit Suicide?

It could be hard to understand why someone would ever take their own life; leaving their family and loved ones to suffer in a...

Related Stories