MoneyRates Announces Best States for College Students in 2021 – Missouri Takes First Place
April 14, 2021

Massachusetts and Pennsylvania in top three for second consecutive year

Foster City, CA – April 14, 2021 – Where to attend college is more important than ever as student loan debt holds a tight grip on millions of young adults. With millions more applying to colleges across the country, is releasing its newest research to help them find the best place to study and acquire the job skills needed to compete in today's job market. The Best States for College Students shows the quest to avoid crushing student loan debt doesn’t just come down to which university you choose, but also which state that school is in.

10 Best States for College Students

1. Missouri
2. Massachusetts
3. Pennsylvania
4. (tie) Alaska
4. (tie) New York
6. Iowa
7. Wisconsin
8. (tie) Michigan
8. (tie) Washington
10. Nebraska

The MoneyRates study ranks four-year colleges in all 50 states based on average cost, retention rate, student-to-faculty ratio, graduation rate and breadth of choice. Missouri ranks as the best state for college students. Although it isn’t one of the 10 most populous states, it ranks in the top 10 for total number of colleges. The average student-to-faculty ratio of 12-to-1 is the third most favorable in the nation. New Mexico is last on the list; while the average cost is among the lowest, the state is in the bottom three for retention rate and graduation rate. It also ranks well below average for student/faculty ratio and breadth of college choices.

“College is a huge time and money investment. Parents or guardians have likely been saving for college for many years, so anyone considering higher education deserves to know as much as possible about the facts and potential pitfalls,” says Richard Barrington, author of the MoneyRates study. “It is important to consider all the factors related to the affordability and effectiveness of college programs.”

Major Differences Across States

  • The average graduation rate in Nevada is only 28%
  • Average annual cost of a four-year degree is 3x higher in Rhode Island than Wyoming
  • Students in Alaska and Vermont have the best student-to-teacher ratios
  • Arizona colleges have nearly twice as many students per teacher on average
  • California offers the widest range of choices with 259 four-year colleges in the state; Wyoming has just one
  • Rhode Island colleges rank first in student retention rate on average

A college could appear to make sense financially, perhaps minimizing student loan debt, but may not offer specific experiences or opportunities important to the student. If individual interactions with instructors are important, a school with a lower student to faculty ratio could be preferable to one with a high ratio.

“Every student has different needs and talents,” explains Barrington. “This study doesn’t aim to tell them where to go to college, it instead highlights statistics to consider before making a choice.”

About MoneyRates

MoneyRates is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (Nasdaq: QNST), a leader in providing performance marketplace technologies and services to the financial services and home services industries. QuinStreet is a pioneer in delivering online marketplace solutions to match searchers with brands in digital media. The company is committed to providing consumers with the information and tools they need to research, find, and select the products and brands that meet their needs. MoneyRates is a member of QuinStreet’s expert Research and Publishing Division.

Since 1998, MoneyRates has served as a personal finance resource designed to help readers make the most of their money. In addition to a variety of financial calculators, MoneyRates researches and tracks CD, savings, and money market rates offered from over 400 financial institutions across the country to offer expert advice on banking, investing and retirement planning.

Twitter: @MoneyRates

Media contact
Amy Eury
Public Relations Manager
Direct +1.412.532.9352


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