The best states—and the worst ones—for higher ed in 2018

Florida is the best state for higher education, according to a recent ranking by U.S. News & World Report.

The ranking came as part of U.S. News' annual Best States report, which ranks every state according to a variety of metrics grouped into seven categories. Each state's score on higher education factored into its score in a broader education category and ultimately into an overall ranking.

U.S. News partnered with McKinsey & Company to create the report. Researchers assigned each state a higher education score based on three- and six-year graduation rates, residents' educational attainment, graduates' student loan debt, and tuition costs.

According to U.S. News, the 10 best states for higher education are:

  1. Florida
  2. Utah
  3. Washington
  4. California
  5. Wyoming
  6. North Dakota
  7. Nebraska
  8. Iowa
  9. Colorado
  10. North Carolina

According to U.S. News, the 10 worst states for higher education are:

  1. Ohio
  2. Louisiana
  3. West Virginia
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Indiana
  7. Michigan
  8. South Carolina
  9. Alabama
  10. Pennsylvania

One common trend among top-ranked states: several have low tuition costs, which helped those states receive strong scores for both tuition and student debt. Wyoming has among the lowest in-state and out-of-state tuition in the United States, and in 2017 was named the state with the best college ROI by Student Loan Hero. Florida and Utah are also among the states with the lowest in-state tuition (U.S. News & World Report ranking, accessed 3/5; U.S. News & World Report methodology, accessed 3/5).

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