Did you click this with a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach because you’re pretty sure you’re about to see your college on here? Well I’ll tell you right now that if you go to a large public state school you can put your fears to rest. Why? Because most state schools, while some are clearly better than others, are typically at least “okay” across the board. Granted, there are some STOOPID people that manage to slip through the admissions cracks, but for the most part kids at these schools manage to graduate, not be $500,000 in debt and have a decent chance at landing a job at some point.
But the kids who had shit grades throughout high school and got stuck picking amongst the ridiculously expensive dropout factories because no one else would take them? Yeah, they’re pretty much screwed from the start. Sure you could go to community college, but who gets up in the morning and says “Hooray, COMMUNITY COLLEGE”? In your little 17/18-year-old mind, blowing wads of cash and going to a shit school is better than paying no money and sticking it out at a community college for a couple of years.
But how do you decide which schools are America’s WORST colleges? Washington Monthly came up with four different ways of ranking the worst colleges in the United States, the first being that these schools charge
… students large amounts of money, probably financed by debt they cannot afford, to receive an education so terrible that most students drop out before graduation. Translated in the parlance of federal statistics, that means a high “net price” (tuition minus grants and scholarships), high average student debt, a high “cohort default rate” (a federal measure that tracks the percentage of each college’s freshman class that defaults on their student loans within three years of beginning to repay them), and a low graduation rate.
America’s worst colleges…have you found your school on here yet?
The second way that America’s worst colleges were ranked was by considering what percentage of students manage to complete a degree, specifically
the bachelor’s degree graduation rate and the number of degrees awarded for every 100 full-time equivalent students… It’s also important to examine how many students borrow to finance their bad educations. Ranking #2 considers a college’s borrowing rate and gives it equal weight to the cohort default rate, median borrowing amount, and net price.
Washginton Monthly’s third ranking takes into account the fact that a school where 70% of students take out loans and most default is very different from a school where 5% of students take out loans and most default, although the percentage of students who took out loans and defaulted could be the same. Additionally, both full-time and part-time degree-seeking students were included when determining the graduation rate, as opposed to the previous lists where part-time students were excluded.
And as for the last ranking, Washington Monthly factored in student demographics in order to credit
…colleges that do a better-than-average job of recruiting and graduating lower-income students (as measured by the percentage of Pell Grants)—students who, because they typically come to college less prepared, tend to graduate at lower rates. For Ranking #4 we added in this calculation plus the net price of attendance for Pell Grant recipients. We also factored in the share of students who are black or Hispanic, to credit institutions that serve diverse student bodies, and the graduation rate for those students.
Just from skimming over all four rankings, the one school that appears on ¾ of the lists is DeVry University…but does that really surprise anyone? They advertise themselves on television during daytime soap operas. What, you couldn’t spring for a primetime slot? Regardless, it’s safe to say that going to any of these schools ranked as America’s worst colleges is probably a recipe for debt, disaster and dropouts.