The Best States for College Students in 2022

Boca Raton, FL – The college years are full of excitement, learning, and lots 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.

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.

  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 2022
  4. Urban Institute – Understanding College Affordability: Pricing and Expenses
  5. Move.org – The Average Cost of Food in the US
StateRankStudents EnrolledGraduation RateAverage Tuition & FeesAverage Housing CostAverage Groceries Cost
Florida11,066,78330%$4,463.00$5,861.63$3,278.25
Texas21,657,69130%$8,598.00$5,188.98$2,579.76
Utah3381,28334%$6,700.00$3,435.64$2,540.07
North Carolina4568,56331%$7,228.00$5,408.86$3,069.90
Colorado5368,12341%$9,144.00$4,993.60$2,942.28
Georgia6553,75531%$7,457.00$6,174.53$3,581.73
California72,715,08534%$8,192.00$7,841.22$3,338.64
Washington8363,01936%$7,168.00$6,625.72$3,618.72
New York91,235,81237%$8,467.00$9,010.48$4,345.83
Wisconsin10332,85630%$8,764.00$4,699.18$3,473.73
Indiana11422,90627%$9,268.00$5,847.91$2,862.27
Maryland11354,91340%$9,714.00$6,250.30$3,093.03
Kansas12208,53833%$9,088.00$4,948.85$2,352.15
Ohio13656,44528%$9,902.00$6,658.64$3,073.32
Arizona14609,14430%$11,072.00$6,735.58$2,725.20
Virginia14557,06339%$13,655.00$5,907.36$2,682.09
Idaho15121,96428%$7,518.00$3,423.85$2,530.08
Illinois15718,50435%$14,455.00$6,479.00$2,945.79
Minnesota15402,72936%$11,748.00$5,175.73$3,558.51
Missouri16362,90829%$8,992.00$6,372.15$2,813.67
Massachusetts17492,49744%$13,729.00$7,509.16$3,655.89
Oklahoma17192,65626%$8,009.00$4,589.40$3,119.94
Michigan18525,49129%$13,315.00$4,970.90$2,944.08
New Mexico18121,81627%$7,152.00$4,501.93$2,770.11
Tennessee18323,08627%$10,164.00$4,827.88$3,117.33
Iowa19218,03329%$9,373.00$5,236.18$3,123.45
Montana2048,06632%$6,967.00$3,769.71$2,915.19
Nevada20119,77125%$6,023.00$5,706.41$2,640.87
New Jersey21413,17540%$14,360.00$8,004.13$3,093.93
Nebraska22135,50932%$8,582.00$5,631.05$3,032.10
Pennsylvania22696,34031%$15,565.00$6,551.69$3,609.18
North Dakota2352,35430%$8,628.00$3,236.60$2,939.94
Wyoming2332,37327%$4,747.00$4,493.00$3,110.58
Arkansas24158,58723%$8,689.00$5,145.26$2,542.14
Alabama25303,03026%$10,323.00$5,423.30$3,576.51
Louisiana25243,75024%$9,571.00$5,754.31$2,926.71
South Dakota2551,94129%$8,978.00$3,762.74$2,576.07
Oregon26225,71634%$10,813.00$7,203.29$3,378.69
Kentucky27266,50724%$10,888.00$5,791.25$2,836.80
Connecticut28193,68639%$13,886.00$6,558.50$3,089.70
Mississippi28166,96922%$8,604.00$5,538.63$3,809.97
West Virginia28139,15921%$8,195.00$5,283.52$3,844.71
Maine2971,65832%$10,103.00$4,937.30$3,349.89
South Carolina30241,57228%$12,497.00$5,823.40$3,701.61
New Hampshire31169,33837%$16,679.00$6,837.95$1,647.00
Hawaii3260,43433%$10,109.00$5,756.42$5,010.84
Alaska3323,35330%$8,297.00$5,830.02$4,349.16
Delaware3459,98332%$11,091.00$7,258.79$3,423.51
Rhode Island3580,07734%$13,105.00$7,352.35$3,511.71
Vermont3641,18638%$17,083.00$7,195.90$4,476.69

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