Best States for College Students in 2024

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In this article

Your college years are full of excitement, learning, and a lot of growth. Everyone has a unique experience, and that experience can be heavily determined by where you attend college.

Every state has different offerings when it comes to being a college student and we wanted to find out which were the best! We looked at factors that heavily impact students, including the cost of tuition, living expenses, graduation rates, and the number of college students in each state. See which states are the best (and the worst) for college students to live in.

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Interesting Findings

  • Florida is the overall best state for college students—and this has nothing to do with spring break! It has the best overall ranking for cost, graduation rate, and the number of college students in the state.
  • Vermont is the overall worst state for college students. Although it ranked well for graduation rates, it came in dead last for the number of students and has the highest cost for tuition and living expenses, making it more difficult to be a college student.
  • Massachusetts has the best college graduation rate in the nation, with 44% of students graduating from their post-secondary studies.
  • California has more than 116 times as many students as Alaska. California, the state with the most college students enrolled, has 2.7 million college students, and Alaska, the state with the fewest college students, has just over 23,000.
  • It costs more than twice as much to be a student in Vermont than in Wyoming. The cost difference between being a college student in Vermont (the most expensive state) and Wyoming (the most affordable) is $16,405 per academic year.

Methodology

To rank each state, we analyzed the following state data sets surrounding the size of student communities, average graduation rate, and average cost of tuition and living expenses during the nine-month academic school year period.

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  1. EducationData.org - College Enrollment & Student Demographic Statistics
  2. EducationData.org - Average Cost of College by State
  3. World Population Review - College Graduation Rates by State
  4. Urban Institute - Understanding College Affordability: Pricing and Expenses
  5. Move.org - The Average Cost of Food in the US

State

Rank

Students Enrolled

Graduation Rate

Average Tuition & Fees

Average Housing Cost

Average Groceries Cost

Florida

1

1,066,783

30%

$4,463.00

$5,861.63

$3,278.25

Texas

2

1,657,691

30%

$8,598.00

$5,188.98

$2,579.76

Utah

3

381,283

34%

$6,700.00

$3,435.64

$2,540.07

North Carolina

4

568,563

31%

$7,228.00

$5,408.86

$3,069.90

Colorado

5

368,123

41%

$9,144.00

$4,993.60

$2,942.28

Georgia

6

553,755

31%

$7,457.00

$6,174.53

$3,581.73

California

7

2,715,085

34%

$8,192.00

$7,841.22

$3,338.64

Washington

8

363,019

36%

$7,168.00

$6,625.72

$3,618.72

New York

9

1,235,812

37%

$8,467.00

$9,010.48

$4,345.83

Wisconsin

10

332,856

30%

$8,764.00

$4,699.18

$3,473.73

Indiana

11

422,906

27%

$9,268.00

$5,847.91

$2,862.27

Maryland

11

354,913

40%

$9,714.00

$6,250.30

$3,093.03

Kansas

12

208,538

33%

$9,088.00

$4,948.85

$2,352.15

Ohio

13

656,445

28%

$9,902.00

$6,658.64

$3,073.32

Arizona

14

609,144

30%

$11,072.00

$6,735.58

$2,725.20

Virginia

14

557,063

39%

$13,655.00

$5,907.36

$2,682.09

Idaho

15

121,964

28%

$7,518.00

$3,423.85

$2,530.08

Illinois

15

718,504

35%

$14,455.00

$6,479.00

$2,945.79

Minnesota

15

402,729

36%

$11,748.00

$5,175.73

$3,558.51

Missouri

16

362,908

29%

$8,992.00

$6,372.15

$2,813.67

Massachusetts

17

492,497

44%

$13,729.00

$7,509.16

$3,655.89

Oklahoma

17

192,656

26%

$8,009.00

$4,589.40

$3,119.94

Michigan

18

525,491

29%

$13,315.00

$4,970.90

$2,944.08

New Mexico

18

121,816

27%

$7,152.00

$4,501.93

$2,770.11

Tennessee

18

323,086

27%