When it comes to higher education, not all institutions are created equal. Although many corners of the United States are home to prestigious universities that rank among the world’s best, others unfortunately fall short. These so-called “worst colleges in America” have earned their dubious distinction due to various factors, including high tuition rates, low graduation rates, and poor return on investment.
In the following sections, we’ll delve into the intricate details of some of the lowest-ranking colleges in America, drawing on comprehensive data from various sources. This investigation is intended to guide prospective students and their families in making informed decisions about their educational future. As we traverse the country, we’ll uncover the specific shortcomings of these institutions, highlighting key areas of concern.
Before we begin, remember that attending college is a deeply personal decision, and what may be a poor fit for one individual might be a perfect match for another. Therefore, while this list provides an analytical perspective on the worst colleges in America, it is ultimately up to each student to determine the best course for their own academic journey.
The Criteria for Evaluating the Worst Colleges
When assessing the worst colleges in America, we considered several factors:
Student Satisfaction: This includes factors such as the quality of education, faculty support, campus facilities, and student life.
Campus Safety: Safety on campus is an essential factor for many students. We looked at crime rates and safety measures in place at these institutions.
Post-Graduation Income: We considered the average salary of graduates six years after completing their degree.
Student Debt: This is the average amount of debt students typically carry upon graduation.
Tuition and Fees: High tuition costs can deter prospective students and burden graduates with hefty student loan debt.
Graduation Rate: This refers to the percentage of students who complete their degree program within the expected time frame.
Now, let’s delve into our analysis of the worst colleges in America.
The Worst Colleges in America
Alabama State University
Alabama State University, known for its high acceptance rate, has earned its place on this list due to its low graduation rate and high student debt. The university’s graduation rate stands at a meager 21%, while the average student debt hovers around $32,637. Furthermore, the median earnings for students six years post-graduation are significantly lower than the national average.
University of Alaska Anchorage
The University of Alaska Anchorage, despite being the largest institution within the University of Alaska system, struggles with low graduation rates and increasing tuition costs. The university’s graduation rate is a dismal 31%, and students often complain about poor facilities and lack of financial aid options.
Arizona: Western International University
Western International University in Arizona was a for-profit institution that lost its accreditation in 2019 and subsequently closed. Before its closure, students reported a subpar education system, exorbitant tuition fees, and difficulty transferring credits earned at the university.
Philander Smith College
Despite its affordability, Philander Smith College in Arkansas has a low graduation rate of 40%. Additionally, students often complain about the lack of responsiveness to reported issues and dormitories infested with mold.
California College San Diego
California College San Diego is a for-profit institution known for its high tuition costs and limited financial aid options. With a low graduation rate of 30% and an average student debt of $23,896, it’s no surprise this college has made it onto our list.
Nazarene Bible College
Nazarene Bible College in Colorado is notorious for its high tuition costs and low graduation rate. Students often leave with a significant student loan burden of over $42,340, while the graduation rate is a mere 16.4%.
Mitchell College in Connecticut, despite a good location and a wide range of course offerings, struggles with a low graduation rate of 41.5%. Students often complain about the poor Wi-Fi connectivity, expensive meal plans, and unsupportive staff members.
Wesley College in Delaware, despite its rich history, has been criticized for its high tuition costs and low graduation rate of 32%. Students often complain about the lack of support from the financial aid office and its average dormitories.
Florida Memorial University
Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens is a historically black university that struggles with a low graduation rate of 32% and high student debt. The university has received criticism for its high tuition fees and subpar academic programs.
The Art Institute of Atlanta
The Art Institute of Atlanta is another for-profit institution that has earned a spot on our list. Despite offering a wide range of arts programs, the institute suffers from a low graduation rate of 14%. Moreover, students often complain about the institute’s high tuition fees and lack of job placement assistance after graduation.
Chaminade University of Honolulu
Chaminade University of Honolulu, despite its beautiful location, has failed to live up to academic expectations. With a graduation rate of 59.1% and high tuition fees, students often leave with significant loan debt. The university’s lack of job placement assistance and career services further contributes to its placement on our list.
Lewis-Clark State College
Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho, despite having a high acceptance rate, struggles with a low graduation rate and high student debt. The college’s graduation rate stands at 36%, and students are often burdened with an average student debt of over $19,948.
We’ve already mentioned DeVry University, but it’s worth repeating. This for-profit institution, despite its friendly online classes, has a low graduation rate of 22%. The university’s high tuition cost and poor job placement record make it one of the worst colleges in America.
Many consider it the worst college for higher education in the United States.
Indiana University – Northwest
Indiana University – Northwest has a graduation rate of just 28%, well below the national average. Students often complain about the lack of campus life, poor housing conditions, and limited financial aid options.
Waldorf University in Iowa, despite its affiliation with Columbia Southern University, struggles with a low graduation rate and high tuition fees. The university’s graduation rate is a dismal 31.4%, and students often complain about the lack of financial aid options and poor campus facilities.
Sterling College in Kansas, despite being a Christian college, has a low graduation rate and high tuition costs. The college’s graduation rate stands at 42%, and students often leave with an average student loan debt of over $24,892.
Lindsey Wilson College
Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky, despite being affiliated with the United Methodist Church, has a low graduation rate and high tuition fee.
Founded in Sumter, South Carolina in 1908, this college is also among the worst in the US. Affiliated with the Baptist Church, the college has an undergraduate enrolment of 1,200. But the problem is the school is outdated in the use of technology.
The annual cost of attendance is just under $20,000. Similar to DeVry, it has a low graduation rate of only 29%.
Coppin State University
This university has a very low graduation rate of only 20 percent. Set up in Baltimore, Maryland in 1900, it has an acceptance rate of 38%.
The college has a total cost of $30,202 for out-of-state students and $23,805 for in-state students. Following graduation, any student has an average student loan debt of $29,936.
The only good news is that six years upon employment, students reach a median starting salary of $38,100.
Founded as a private institution in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1865, Shaw University is a smaller school. They have only 1,500 undergraduate students. What puts them on the list of worst universities in the US is their low graduation rate of only 23 percent.
And students leave this institution with average student loan debt of $28,000. It is one of the top 10 worst choices for education.
University of the Southwest
Established in Hobbs, New Mexico in 1962, this one is a rather new education institution. The total number of students is more than 1,000 with about 441 undergraduates. They have a relatively average acceptance rate of 45%. Graduation rate is even worse at only 20 percent.
Pupils leave the school with a loan debt of $23,112.
Located in Fairfax, Virginia, this is a school institution many students attend on a part-time basis. It makes it difficult to get a true assessment of scores.
Yet, it has been ranked low because it has a 30% graduation rate. Students who graduate from Stratford take longer to do it. And the longer it takes, the lower is the likelihood of graduation.
You might be surprised why Georgetown is on this list. Well, it has nothing to do with graduation and academic prowess. It is all because of their political stance.
Georgetown stopped students from campaigning for Bernie Sanders when he was a presidential candidate. And they have a reputation and history for ignoring their own free speech policy.
California State University at Long Beach
It is the sister institution of the Los Angeles Cal State University. This college refuses to allow artistic expressions when the mention of race is involved.
Students trying to make a statement against racism are not allowed to do so. They are also trying to shut down free speech as Georgetown.
Located in California, Mt Sierra College it is one of the worst universities in America. It is all because of its low graduation rate. Founded in 1990, it is a relatively new school. They have lots of courses in business and technology. But they have the worst graduation rate on this list at a pitiful 6.2%. Students do not hang around to complete their degrees.