1. Massachusetts

Harvard
Jorge Salcedo / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 48%

Indisputably, Massachusetts is at the very top of the class.

The Bay State ranks first for both educational attainment and quality of education and also has the second-highest average university quality.

On top of that, Massachusetts has both the highest percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees (but no graduate degree) and the highest percentage with graduate degrees in the country.

The state is home to Harvard, the top-ranked school in the U.S. according to Forbes, as well as MIT, the fourth most highly rated school.

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2. Maryland

Maryland - Johns Hopkins University
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 42%

Claiming the No. 2 spot overall, Maryland ranks second for quality of education and third for educational attainment.

Maryland has the second-highest share of residents with a graduate degree in the country, and the third-highest share of residents with a bachelor’s degree (but not a graduate degree).

The Free State is home to Johns Hopkins University and the United States Naval Academy, both of which rank among the top 25 schools in the U.S.

3. Colorado

Colorado - United States Air Force Academy
Laura Gangi Pond / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 43%

Coloradans are clearly eager to learn: In terms of educational attainment, the state ranks second only to Massachusetts. It has the second-highest share of residents with a bachelor’s degree (but no graduate degree) in the country.

However, the quality of its education isn’t so hot — the Centennial State doesn’t even crack the top 20.

Three of Colorado’s colleges made the top 100 on Forbes’ list, with the United States Air Force Academy ranking the highest at No. 43.

4. Vermont

Vermont - Middlebury College
Middlebury College

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 40%

Vermont ranks fifth for educational attainment and eighth for quality of education.

The Green Mountain State makes sure the basics are covered. It’s tied with Alaska for the fifth-highest share of residents with high school diplomas in the country.

That thirst for knowledge seems to be paying off. In 2019, Vermont’s average unemployment rate was just 2.4% — the lowest in the country, alongside North Dakota.

The top-ranked school in the state is Middlebury College, which came in at No. 37 on Forbes’ list.

5. Connecticut

Connecticut - Yale University
f11photo / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 42%

Connecticut squeaks into the top five most educated states on the list, ranking fourth best for educational attainment but only ninth best for quality of education.

The Nutmeg State is home to Yale University — which Forbes’ ranked as America’s third-best school overall — and also has some of the largest shares of bachelor’s and graduate degree holders in the country.

Unfortunately, the state’s residents also carry some of the highest student debts, at an average of $38,546. If you owe more than $25,000 yourself, make sure you check out your options to pay it off faster.

6. Virginia

Virginia - University of Virginia
University of Virginia

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 42%

The Mother of Presidents and the Mother of States has also birthed an impressive number of graduates.

The Old Dominion’s scores for educational attainment and quality of education are both among the top 10 in the country. It also has the fourth-highest percentage of residents who hold a graduate degree.

Virginia’s three top-ranked schools — the University of Virginia, Washington and Lee, and the College of William & Mary — all made the top 50 on Forbes’ list.

7. Washington

Washington - University of Washington, Seattle
cpaulfell / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 38%

You won’t find much red ink staining the Evergreen State. It earns high marks on both key tests.

Washington is the ninth-best state for educational attainment and the 10th best for quality of education. Its top-rated schools are the University of Washington - Seattle and Whitman College, which Forbes rated as the 64th and 89th best in the country, respectively.

Despite these rankings, Washington’s average unemployment rate in 2019 was quite high at 4.3%, tied with Kentucky as the seventh highest in the country.

8. New Hampshire

New Hampshire - Dartmouth College
Bo Shen / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 38%

When it comes to diplomas and degrees, the Granite State rocks.

Only 6% of its adults haven’t made it through high school, helping New Hampshire become the sixth-best state for overall educational attainment.

However, New Hampshire’s score for quality of education was lower than any of the other schools in the top 10 on this list. WalletHub rated it as the 27th best.

On top of that, New Hampshire had the highest average student loan debt in the country at $39,410, as well as the highest percentage of postsecondary graduates in debt — a staggering 74%.

9. New Jersey

New Jersey - Princeton
ssguy / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 44%

Young minds are blooming in the Garden State.

New Jersey ranks as fifth best for quality of education and 10th best for educational attainment.

The state is positively packed full of postsecondary graduates: It’s tied with Connecticut for the fourth highest share of residents with a bachelor’s degree.

New Jersey is home to Princeton, an Ivy League school that Forbes has ranked as the country’s fifth best.

In 2019, New Jersey’s average unemployment rate was slightly lower than the national average, at 3.6%.

10. Minnesota

Minnesota - Carleton College
Carleton College

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 40%

Rounding out the top 10 on our list is the North Star State, which deserves to shine as a guiding light to other areas of the country.

Minnesota is the eighth best in the country for educational attainment, though only the 18th best for quality of education.

And to its detriment, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is also the land of tens of thousands in student loan debt. About two thirds of graduates in the state are in debt, and they’re currently shouldering an average burden of $31,856 — the third-largest share in the U.S.

11. Utah

Utah - BYU
Stock Footage Inc / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35%

Utah comes in at No. 11 overall and coincidentally also ranks 11th for both educational attainment and quality of education in WalletHub’s findings.

While you might find better schooling elsewhere, it seems you won’t find it nearly as cheap.

The Beehive State has the lowest average student debt of any state at just $17,935, and only 40% of Utah’s graduates were in debt, which is the lowest share in the country. If you've got some extra cash to spare, here's how to invest it for free.

The top-rated school in Utah is Brigham-Young University, which came in at No. 95 on Forbes’ list.

12. Illinois

Illinois - University of Chicago
Vladislav Gajic / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 39%

Sure enough, the Land of Lincoln is also the land of learnin’.

Illinois has respectable ratings for educational attainment and quality of education, coming in at No. 17 in both categories.

Plus, two of Illinois’ top-rated schools, the University of Chicago and Northwestern, both made the top 20 on Forbes’ top colleges list.

Unfortunately, some graduates in the state may find it difficult to lock down a job. In 2019, the average unemployment rate in Illinois was well above the national average, at 4.0%.

13. New York

New York - Cornell University
Lewis Liu / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 40%

The Empire State doesn’t seem that impressive at first, ranking 18th in educational attainment and 16th in quality of education.

Yet New York is the only state that’s home to two Ivy League colleges, Columbia and Cornell, and all five of its top-rated schools made the top 50 on Forbes’ list.

Those impressive institutions help New York rank fifth best for average university quality. It also has the fifth highest share of graduate degree holders in the country.

14. Oregon

Oregon - Reed College
Reed College

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35%

Although the busy beavers of the Beaver State dutifully seek out higher education, when it comes to quality Oregon leaves something to be desired. It’s ranked 10th worst in the country.

None of Oregon’s highest-rated schools cracked the top 100 on Forbes’ list, although Reed College in Portland came the closest at No. 105.

The average statewide unemployment rate in 2019 was exactly the same as the national average, 3.7% of the total workforce.

15. Hawaii

Hawaii - University of Hawaii, Manoa
University of Hawaii

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34%

The Aloha State has solid stats for educational attainment, although the standard of its education isn’t anything to hula about.

The average quality of Hawaii’s universities is the fourth-lowest in the country. The only school to make Forbes’ list was the University of Hawaii - Manoa, way down at No. 385.

On the bright side, Hawaii has a low percentage of graduates who are still shouldering debt, 43%, which is the second lowest in the U.S. Even if you have a few dollars in extra income, free investing apps make it easy to start multiplying your wealth.

16. Wyoming

Wyoming - University of Wyoming
University of Wyoming

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 28%

Although Wyoming is tied with Indiana for the 10th-lowest share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree, it’s no haven for dropouts.

Wyoming is also tied with a couple other states for the smallest share of adults without a high school diploma.

Overall educational attainment in the Equality State is higher than the median, and the quality of education in Wyoming is quite good.

Plus, Wyoming has a comparatively low average student debt at $23,444 and has one of the lowest shares of graduates still shouldering debt at 46%.

17. Delaware

Delaware - University of Delaware
University of Delaware

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34%

The Diamond State is fairly mediocre when it comes to educational attainment but shines in its quality of education. WalletHub ranks it as the 12th best in the country.

However, Delaware only has one school on Forbes’ 2019 top colleges list: the University of Delaware, which came in at No. 147.

Delaware also has the fifth-highest average student debt in the U.S. at $37,447, and in 2019 the statewide unemployment rate was above the national average, at 3.8%.

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18. Maine

Maine - Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34%

The Pine Tree State gets a fair grade for its number of degrees and diplomas, but when it comes to quality, Mainers are pining for better.

That said, its top schools are among the best nationwide. Maine’s three highest-ranked colleges — Bowdoin, Bates and Colby — all made the top 100 on Forbes’ list.

Studying here can be pricey, though, and the state is tied with West Virginia for the third-highest share of graduates carrying student loan debt, at 67%.

19. Montana

Montana - Carroll College
Carroll College

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35%

According to WalletHub’s findings, Big Sky Country is not so big on quality.

Montana ranks as the 11th worst in the country for the standard of its education, and the average quality of its universities is the absolute worst of any state in the union. The Treasure State’s highest-rated institutions barely cracked the top 400 on Forbes’ list.

However, in terms of educational attainment, Montana fares quite well, and it’s tied for the lowest share of high school dropouts in the U.S.

20. North Dakota

North Dakota - North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 32%

North Dakota has decent ratings for both attainment and quality, but it seems like its highest-achieving students don’t stick around. It has the lowest percentage of graduate degree holders in the country.

Neither of North Dakota’s two schools that made Forbes’ top colleges list cracked the top 350.

However, that doesn’t mean North Dakotans are struggling to find work. The state was tied with Vermont for the lowest unemployment in the U.S. at just 2.4% of the total workforce in 2019.

21. Wisconsin

Wisconsin - University of Wisconsin - Madison
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34%

The Badger State is burrowed deep in the rankings for educational attainment, but its schools certainly earn their stripes.

WalletHub says it has the 13th-best overall quality of education, and the average quality of its universities comes in at No. 4.

The top-rated school in America’s Dairyland is the University of Wisconsin - Madison, which was ranked 69th in the country on Forbes’ top colleges list.

The job prospects for graduates in Wisconsin are also encouraging. In 2019, the average unemployment rate was below the national average, at 3.3%.

22. Rhode Island

Rhode Island - Brown University
Brown University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 37%

Although Rhode Island is home to Brown University, an Ivy League school that’s ranked seventh-best in the country, the state’s overall attainment and quality are merely average.

None of the other colleges in the Ocean State cracked the top 100 on Forbes’ top colleges list, with the Rhode Island School of Design coming in second at No. 112.

Little Rhody is notable for the gargantuan size of its residents’ student debt, which is the nation’s fourth highest at an average of $37,614.

23. Nebraska

Nebraska - Creighton University
Creighton University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 36%

Nebraska looks pretty good on the outside, with a better-than-average share of diplomas and degrees. It also had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country in 2019, at just 3.0%.

But once you peel back the surface, you’ll find the Cornhusker State is 38th when it comes to the quality of its education.

Nebraska’s top-rated school, Creighton University, came in at 194 on Forbes’ top colleges list, and only two of the state’s other colleges cracked the top 500.

24. Kansas

Kansas - University of Kansas
University of Kansas

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35%

Although the Sunflower State stands tall at No. 13 for educational attainment, the quality of its book learning is extremely low: the third-worst in the country.

The top-rated school in the state is the University of Kansas, which ranked at No. 260 on Forbes’ list.

Fortunately, the seeds of knowledge planted in Kansas’ so-so schools seem decent enough for graduates to find work. In 2019, the average statewide unemployment rate was well below the national average, at 3.2%.

25. California

California - Stanford University
Stanford University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 36%

The Golden State gets a gold star for quality of education. It’s the third best in the country overall and also has the highest average university quality of all 50 states.

The five highest-ranked schools in California all made the top 25 on Forbes’ list.

However, when it comes to the number of people accessing that stellar education, California comes up short. It has the highest share of adults without a high school diploma in the country at 15%.

26. Alaska

Alaska - University of Alaska - Fairbanks
University of Alaska - Fairbanks

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 30%

Alaskans bring home plenty of diplomas and degrees, but employers might give them the cold shoulder. The quality of the state’s education is the fifth lowest in the country.

Of the two schools in the state that made Forbes’ top colleges list, the one with the highest ranking — University of Alaska - Fairbanks — came in at No. 574.

Alaska also had the highest average unemployment rate in 2019, at 6.1% of the state’s total workforce. If you're having trouble finding a decent full-time job, check out our top tips for thriving in the gig economy.

27. Florida

Florida - University of Florida
University of Florida

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31%

Although the number of graduates in the Sunshine State is nothing to beam about, those that do attend have a bright future.

The overall quality of education in Florida is fourth best in the country.

Narrow your view to the state’s universities, and things look even better: They’re the third best in the U.S.

Its two top-rated schools, the University of Florida and the University of Miami, both made the top 100 on Forbes’ list, as well.

28. Michigan

Michigan - University of Michigan
University of Michigan

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 32%

You aren’t guaranteed a great education in the Great Lake State. It ranks 35 out of 50 for overall quality.

However, a respectable number of residents do finish high school and pick up a degree.

Although Michigan’s highest-rated school, the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, was ranked No. 20 on Forbes’ list, no other schools in the state cracked the top 150.

And job prospects for graduates in Michigan aren’t so hot. In 2019, the average unemployment rate was higher than the national average, at 4.1%.

29. Iowa

Iowa - Grinnell College
Grinnell College

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 32%

In both achievement and quality, Iowa ranks slightly below the halfway mark nationwide.

Its top-rated school, Grinnell College, came in at No. 80 on Forbes’ list, while the next highest entry, the University of Iowa, ranked 160th.

But if you take a close look, you’ll notice the Hawkeye State isn’t hurting for jobs.

Iowa had an average unemployment rate of just 2.7% back in 2019. That was the fourth-lowest rate in the country, tied with Hawaii.

30. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania - University of Pennsylvania
f11photo / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 35%

You can still get a solid education in Pennsylvania, which ranks slightly below the median for attainment and slightly above for quality.

Eight of the Keystone State’s highest-ranked schools made the top 100 on Forbes’ list, including the University of Pennsylvania, which came in at No. 6.

Unfortunately, you’re not guaranteed to unlock a great job that will pay the bills. Pennsylvania has the second-highest average student debt in the county at $39,027, and the average unemployment rate in 2019 was quite high.

31. North Carolina

North Carolina - Duke University
Duke University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34%

The Tar Heel State doesn’t have an easy pitch. Its quality of education falls just below the median, while it ranks 32nd for educational attainment.

That said, there’s still a few good reasons to study there.

North Carolina’s three highest-rated schools all made the top 50 on Forbes’ list, and its top-ranked school, Duke University, even made the top 10.

On top of that, its average student debt is fairly low, as is the share of graduates still shouldering debt.

32. Missouri

Missouri - Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 32%

The Show Me State doesn’t have much to show off; it’s ranked in the bottom 20 for both attainment and quality.

Missouri’s highest-rated school, Washington University in St. Louis, came in at No. 31 on Forbes’ list, but it was the only college in the state to crack the top 150.

Regardless, Missourians are having little trouble finding jobs. The unemployment rate in 2019 was lower than the national average, at 3.3% of the state’s total workforce.

33. Ohio

Ohio - Kenyon College
Kenyon College

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31%

Ohio is at the middle of the pack when it comes to the quality of its education.

However, residents of the Buckeye State aren’t snapping up degrees in great numbers, even though the three highest-rated schools in Ohio all fared reasonably well on Forbes’ list.

The average student loan debt in Ohio is under $30,000, but the share of graduates who still have debt is fairly high at 60%.

The state’s unemployment rate in 2019 was also significantly higher than the national average.

34. Georgia

Georgia - Emory University
Emory University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 34%

The Peach State can offer a decent education, but its attainment score isn’t exactly peachy. It falls far below WalletHub’s median ranking.

Those who choose to pursue higher education have plenty of strong options.

The three highest-rated colleges in Georgia all made the top 100 on Forbes’ list, with Emory University taking the state’s top spot at No. 55, and the Georgia Institute of Technology coming in second at No. 65.

And graduates can expect to find jobs waiting for them. In 2019, the statewide unemployment rate in Georgia was below the national average, at 3.4% of the total workforce.

35. South Dakota

South Dakota - Augustana University
Augustana University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31%

The Mount Rushmore State has some challenges to face. It falls a little short of the mark for attainment, then takes a big tumble on quality.

The average quality of South Dakota’s universities is the third-lowest in the country, and its highest-rated school, Augustana University, barely squeezed into the top 400 on Forbes’ list.

South Dakota is also tied with New Hampshire for the highest percentage of graduates still struggling with student loan debt, at 74%.

36. Idaho

Idaho - Brigham Young University Idaho
Brigham Young University Idaho

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 29%

While the Gem State’s collection of degrees and diplomas is lackluster, it’s the quality of its education that could use a serious polish. Idaho falls into the bottom five in that category.

None of Idaho’s highest-rated schools made the top 400 on Forbes’ list, although Brigham Young University - Idaho came close at No. 413.

Idahoans are managing to keep busy, though. In 2019, the average unemployment rate was just 2.9%, tied with Massachusetts for the sixth-lowest in the country.

37. Indiana

Indiana - University of Notre Dame
carroteater / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 28%

The quality of education in Indiana is extremely high — seventh-best in the country — but the Hoosier State’s poor levels of educational attainment drag it way down on our list.

Indiana has one of the lowest rates of higher education in the U.S., despite being home to five of the country’s 150 best schools, including the University of Notre Dame, which Forbes ranked at No. 18.

Thankfully, the jobs market is strong. Unemployment in Indiana is lower than average — only 3.3% of the state’s total workforce were jobless in 2019.

38. Arizona

Arizona - Arizona State University
Arizona State University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 30%

The Grand Canyon State falls deep, deep in the rankings for the quality of its education — 44 out of 50 — and its rating for educational attainment isn’t very inspiring, either.

None of Arizona’s highest-rated schools hit the top 150 on Forbes’ list. The best, Arizona State University - Tempe, came in at No. 186.

Arizona also had one of the highest average unemployment rates in the country in 2019, at 4.7% of the total workforce.

39. Texas

Texas - Rice University
Rice University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 32%

If WalletHub used a different grading system, Texas would receive a lone star for educational attainment. Only one other state fares worse at encouraging its students to finish high school.

That seems to have little to do with Texas’ quality of education, which is quite respectable at 15 out of 50. Its three highest-rated schools all made the top 100 on Forbes’ list.

The statewide unemployment rate in 2019 was also below the national average.

40. Oklahoma

Oklahoma - University of Oklahoma
Brad Remy / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 27%

Considering Oklahoma’s decent quality of education — WalletHub ranks it as the 23rd best — residents of the Sooner State may have expected to see it pop up sooner on this list.

Alas, poor numbers in the halls of higher learning cement its spot as the 11th-least educated state in the union.

Oklahomans can take some solace in the fact that their average student loan debt is one of the lowest in the country at $25,793. Less than half the state’s graduates are still paying off debt from their college days.

41. Tennessee

Tennessee - Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 31%

Few students in the Volunteer State are taking the initiative to continue their education, leading to a ranking of 41 out of 50 for attainment.

The quality of education in Tennessee fares a bit better, although it’s still nothing to brag about — WalletHub places it in the 31st position.

Vanderbilt University is the state’s highest-rated school, coming in at No. 27 on Forbes’ list, but it’s the only college in Tennessee to make the top 100.

42. New Mexico

New Mexico - New Mexico Tech
New Mexico Tech

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 27%

New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment, but residents are likely disillusioned about the quality of education in their state. It’s ranked fourth worst in the country.

It also has a higher share of adults without a high school diploma than most other states, and none of New Mexico’s highest-rated schools managed to sneak into the top 400 on Forbes’ list.

Thankfully, that education comes at a bargain price. New Mexico has the second-lowest student debt in the country at $20,991 and the third-lowest percentage of graduates in debt at 45%.

43. Nevada

Nevada - University of Nevada Reno
University of Nevada Reno

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 25%

Studying in Nevada can be a bit of a gamble. It ranks 30th for quality of education, and none of Nevada’s highest-rated schools entered the top 300 on Forbes’ list.

Educational attainment is considerably worse, at 44 out of 50. Only a quarter of Nevada’s adults have a bachelor’s or graduate degree, and an alarming 14% haven’t graduated high school.

The one area where the Silver State shines is student loan debt. It has the third-lowest average debt in the country, at $21,254.

44. South Carolina

South Carolina - Furman University
Furman University

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 30%

Many of South Carolina’s students are choosing not to continue their studies, and perhaps for good reason.

The quality of its education is considered the second worst in the country. The highest-ranked school in South Carolina on Forbes’ list is Furman University, which came in at No. 127.

Regardless, people aren’t struggling to find jobs in the Palmetto State. Its average unemployment rate in 2019 was an encouraging 2.8%, tied with Virginia and Colorado as the fifth-lowest in the country.

45. Kentucky

Kentucky - Centre College
Centre College

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 26%

The quality of education in the Bluegrass State is only a bit below the median, but its attainment score hits a sour note.

Kentucky has a substantial rate of high school dropouts, and over half of its adults haven’t achieved anything greater than a diploma.

On top of that, Kentucky has the fourth lowest share of adults with a bachelor’s degree in the country.

None of its highest-rated schools made it into the top 200 on Forbes’ list, with Centre College taking the state’s top spot at No. 209.

46. Alabama

Alabama - Auburn University
Rob Hainer / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 27%

Hopefully Alabama’s famous cotton can cushion this blow. The state ranks extremely low in both educational attainment and quality of education: sixth worst and eighth worst, respectively.

None of Alabama’s highest-rated schools made the top 150 on Forbes’ list, with Auburn University coming closest at No. 166.

That said, Alabama manages to keep more of its residents employed than some of the other states at the bottom of this list. In 2019, the average unemployment rate in Alabama was 3.0%, which was tied with Maine and Nebraska for the seventh-lowest in the country.

47. Arkansas

Arkansas - University of Arkansas
University of Arkansas

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 24%

The Natural State has an unnaturally low number of degrees. Nationwide, it has the third-lowest percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree, as well as the third-lowest share of graduate degree holders.

Unfortunately, WalletHub suggests the quality of an Arkansas education isn’t great, either.

It has the fifth-lowest average university quality in the country. None of its highest-rated schools reach the top 250 of Forbes’ list, with the University of Arkansas taking the top spot at No. 271.

48. Louisiana

Louisiana - Tulane University
Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 26%

It seems student life’s not so sweet in the Sugar State. Its overall educational attainment is the third worst in the country, and the quality of its education is ninth worst.

Louisiana also has one of the highest rates of adults without a high school diploma and is tied with Kentucky for the fifth-lowest share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree.

To top it off, in 2019 Louisiana had the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country, at 4.8% of the total workforce.

49. West Virginia

West Virginia - West Virginia University
Studio Zoom / Shutterstock

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 22%

The Mountain State has a mountain of work to do when it comes to encouraging students. It’s ranked dead last in the country for educational attainment.

West Virginia also has the second-lowest percentage of residents with a graduate degree.

The quality of a West Virginia education isn’t so bad — but once you have it, paying off your student debt will be a daunting task. Two-thirds of the state’s graduates are still shouldering some financial burden from their college loans.

50. Mississippi

Mississippi - University of Mississippi
University of Mississippi

Share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree: 22%

The label of least-educated state in the U.S. goes to Mississippi, which the WalletHub study calls dead last in quality of education and second-to-last in both educational attainment and average university quality.

Mississippi is tied with West Virginia as the state with the lowest share of residents that hold at least a bachelor’s degree. It has a significant number of high school dropouts, and more than half of its adult residents haven’t achieved more than a high school diploma.

Worst of all, it’s clear people aren’t skipping their schooling because jobs are so abundant. In 2019, Mississippi had the second-highest average unemployment rate in the country, at 5.4%.

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About the Author

Shane Murphy

Shane Murphy

Reporter

Shane is a reporter for MoneyWise. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from Western University and is a graduate of the Algonquin College Scriptwriting program.

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