A new study ranks the best states for higher education, based on average net price, graduation rate, in-state attendance rate, student-faculty ratios, and 20-year return on investment.
While five of the bottom 10 states in the ranking are in the South, Virginia was found to be the number one state in the nation for higher education. The average college in the Commonwealth has a student-to-faculty ratio of 11 to 1, the second-best in the U.S. For ROI, Virginia schools rank fifth, per SmartAsset. All of the schools in the top 10 for 2018 are in the top 10 again in 2019, though not in the same order.
A college degree is pricey and getting increasingly expensive: From 2006 to 2016, the cost of college tuition and fees increased by 63 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That may leave would-be undergraduates with sticker shock that deters them from matriculating. But forgoing a college education can limit your earning potential. From 1979 to 2017, real incomes for men with just a high school degree dropped by 18 percent while incomes for women in the same group rose, but only by 5 percent.