U.S. News and World Report ranks AL 47th in nation for higher education

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University of West Alabama graduation
University of West Alabama graduation [Photo via University of West Alabama on Facebook]

It’s no secret that Alabama has had its share of poor rankings when it comes to our education system. This week, U.S. News and World Report added an updated failing grade to that list. We currently rank 47th in the nation for higher education according to their unique criteria. The only states worse than Alabama are Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Rhode Island.  

This study shows how far the state has to go in improvement. It follows another recent one that says Alabama’s K-12 school system is the 8th worst in the nation.

More on the top colleges in the state can be found here

Here’s our rankings based on the following criteria via their website. 

Ranked: 33rd in the nation

2-Year College Graduation Rate

This measure tracks the share of students attending public institutions who complete a two-year degree program within three years, or 150 percent of the normal time. Degrees can include certificate programs or the equivalent, and data is collected from the National Center for Education Statistics for the 2013 cohort.

Ranked: 31st in the nation

4-Year College Graduation Rate

This measure tracks the share of undergraduate students at public institutions who receive a bachelor’s degree or equivalent four-year college degree within six years, or 150 percent of the normal time of study. The national average was about 60%.The data on timely completion comes from the National Center for Education Statistics for the 2011 cohort.

Ranked: 42nd in the nation

Low Debt at Graduation

The debt that college graduates carry with them is a measure of how much financial support, both public and private, is available for students pursuing higher education. In this case, the lesser the debt that graduates of four-year colleges carry, the higher the state ranks. Data is based on average debt for students from the class of 2017, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

Ranked: 43rd in the nation

Educational Attainment

The achievement of college degrees in any state is a measure of how well the educational system has prepared its citizenry for advanced study beyond high school and enabled students to succeed. This metric, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey, measures the share of people 25 and older in a state who have an associate degree or higher.

Ranked: 32nd in the nation

Tuition and Fees

This is a measure of the average college tuition and fees required of in-state students at public four-year institutions according to U.S. Department of Education Statistics from the 2016-2017 school year. The lower the cost of a state-sponsored college education, the higher the state ranks.