The latest Higher Education Research Institute freshmen study shows that 82 percent of incoming students selected being “very well off financially” as essential or very important to their college choice — and it had better be, as the national student default rate rose to 11.3 percent.
In today’s job market, a college education is an almost mandatory investment. It’s not a particularly risky one, and in most cases it pays off — but just as not all schools are equal in how much of a return they provide, some schools are particularly risky choices.
And while a college’s median salaries and employment rates serve as excellent benchmarks for success, just as important is the darker side — the probability that graduates will fail and be stuck with an enormous burden… one that weighs about four years and $150,000, on average.
To help showcase some of these educational AAA investments, in addition to the map at the top of this article, we at Zippia have put together a list of the best educational investments by state.
If you were wondering about the least safe investments in your future we’ve got that too — but here are the ten Most Financially Secure Colleges, with the full list at the bottom of this page:
Looking at a college education as an investment, we used several factors to come up with a ranking index: how much each school costs, what the risk is, and how easy it is to pay it back.
We used Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to determine how much the schools cost to attend — which is the cost of the investment. To approximate the risk of taking out loans to finance this venture, we took Department of Education data on school default rates.
And finally, we used CollegeScoreCard data to gauge the median salary at six years — this is the most critical payment success period. We assigned values to these metrics to select the Most Financially Risky Colleges in each state. Then we ranked each state’s school according to their rating.
College: Bellin College
City: Bellevue, WI
Default Rate: 0 percent
Bellin College was founded as Deaconess Sanitarium Training School for Nurses and that’s what they do: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences
Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
College: University of Baltimore
City: Baltimore, MD
Default Rate: .8 percent
College: Rice University
City: Houston, Texas
Default Rate: .3 percent
Shaving cream thing
College: Kettering University
City: Flint, MI
Default Rate: 1.9 percent
College: Allen College
City: Waterloo, IA
Default Rate: 1 percent
Not Allen University, all about health care
Maybe it shouldn’t.
City: Terre Haute, IN
Default Rate: .4 percent
Yay, you beat Notre Dame at something.
College: Harvard University
City: Boston, MA
Default Rate: .8 percent
Broadview University was founded in 1977, began offering bachelor’s degrees in 2005 before losing its accreditor was de-recognized by the Department of Education accreditation in 2016. So, there’s that.
College: The College of William and Mary
City: Williamsburg, VA
Default Rate: .8 percent
One of the country’s few royal colleges, second oldest after harvard.
College: Yale University
City: New Haven, CT
Default Rate: .6 percent
College: Bob Jones University
City: Greenville, SC
Default Rate: 1.3 percent
Bunch of Billy Grahams
The Department of Education began tracking individual schools loan default rates in an effort to measure quality outcomes of federal loan programs.
And these institutions care about Big Brother watching, because if a school has a cohort default rate over 30 percent for three years or 40 percent for one year, it loses eligibility to participate in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), Direct Loan, and Federal Pell Grant Programs for the year.
One of the most important things to today’s college freshmen is that the college they choose will help them get a good job — but the most important thing is that the college experience will at least not leave them crushed by a mountain of debt and bad credit — check graduation rates and accreditation.
As a note, the University of Wyoming is in this list by default… there are so few colleges in Wyoming that it’s also the most financially insecure bachelor’s-granting college as well.
|Rank||State||College||Loan Default Rate|
|2||MD||University of Baltimore||0.80%|
|8||VA||William and Mary||0.80%|
|14||NY||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||0.09%|
|16||PA||Carnegie Mellon University||0.60%|
|17||OH||Case Western Reserve University||1.10%|
|19||CO||Colorado School of Mines||2.10%|
|21||DE||University of Delaware||1.90%|
|22||OR||University of Portland||1.10%|
|23||IL||University of Chicago||0.90%|
|26||MN||College of Saint Benedict||0.90%|
|28||ND||North Dakota State at Fargo||3.20%|
|30||WY||University of Wyoming||4.20%|
|33||FL||University of Miami||1.90%|
|34||NM||New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology||5.30%|
|35||HI||Hawaii Pacific University||4.40%|
|36||AR||John Brown University||3.90%|
|39||KY||University of Kentucky||4.40%|
|41||OK||University of Tulsa||2.90%|
|43||NV||University of Nevada at Reno||5.20%|
|46||AK||Alaska Pacific University||5.00%|
|48||ID||Northwest Nazarene University||3.60%|
|49||AZ||University of Arizona||5.60%|