The 10 Worst Colleges in America

With the summer nearly over, students are getting ready to head to or back to college in the fall. Throughout the United States, there are over 4,000 universities and colleges to choose from. What makes a college bad? High school graduates consider many factors before deciding on their future college.

Over the years, studies have determined certain factors as criteria to categorize the best and worst colleges in America. These factors include high annual cost, debt levels, student loan default rates, low graduation rate, and starting income.

If any of these numbers look suspicious, they are, in fact, alarming.

Seeking a higher education should not land you in one of the worst colleges in America. Don't make hasty decisions. Here is our list of the schools to avoid, in no particular order.

Florida Memorial University

State: Florida

Florida Memorial University is one of the top worst colleges due to many factors. The most prevalent is having the highest average amount of student debt — $30,169. This historically black university (HBCU) was founded in 1879 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Attendance costs about $25,152 annually, while the graduation rate is 38%. This rate alone should be enough to scare away any student. While grants and scholarships are available to help with the cost, the amounts aren’t very high to offset the tuition.

Grambling State University

State: Louisiana

Grambling State University was established in 1901 as a known black public university. About 41% of students are likely to graduate with a degree. The total cost of attendance for in-state students is $24,703, while out-of-state students will pay $33,726. The average student loan debt for this college is $25,732. And the cost of this university will most likely increase for the fall and spring semesters.

Saint Augustine’s University

State: North Carolina

Saint Augustine’s University, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a private historically black Christian College. Episcopal clergy founded it in 1867 for the education of formerly enslaved people. In April 2014, it was characterized as having “significant turmoil” with financial problems stemming from a loss in enrollment and revenue. As a result, the college’s board of trustees fired university president Dianne Boardley Suber just one month before her retirement.

The college has a total of 974 students and has a graduation rate of 26%. The cost of attendance for in-state students is $7,692, while out-of-state students pay a whopping $17,890. The average debt for this college is $22,500. When the average debt is more than the price of the cost to attend, you have to question why anyone would even consider attending the school.

Nazarene Bible College

State: Colorado

Founded in 1964 and chartered in 1967, this college was only approved by the Colorado Department of Education to grant degrees in 1970. This college is a baccalaureate institution affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene.

The private institution was founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With an undergraduate rate of below 1,400, it costs $26,860 to attend this college. The average starting salary after graduation is about $29,700. The average student loan debt for this school is $42,340. This college holds a graduation rate of 16.4% with a default loan rate of 12.9% and isn’t looking promising.

Lindsey Wilson College

State: Kentucky

Lindsey Wilson College is a private United Methodist-associated college in Columbia, Kentucky, established in 1903. They offer Associate's, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral programs and have an undergraduate population of 2,144 students. The graduation rate is 33%, and the average loan debt per student is $21,000. The cost to attend this university is $34,323. Graduates of Lindsey Wilson College can expect an average starting salary of $38,500. The only good thing about this college is that 85% of students find jobs within two years after graduating.

Morris College

State: South Carolina

Morris College, established in 1908, is a private Baptist historically black college in Sumter, South Carolina. It was founded and operated by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina.

This college has about 1200 undergraduate students and costs $27,170 to attend. We think this is pricey since the average loan debt is $26,000. Another factor is the medium starting income for graduates is $32,300. Only 20% of students graduate from this college each year.

Western International College

State: Arizona

Western International College in Arizona made the list due to its graduate rate being only 15%. This for-profit institution was established in 1978 and had about 1,300 undergraduate students. The cost to attend this school is only $11,186, and it has average student debt of 21,228. It is also known that 6.2% of students defer loan repayment after three years of graduation. The student debt is nearly twice the cost of attending this school.

Coppin State University

State: Maryland

Established in 1900, Coppin State University is a public historically black university in Baltimore, Maryland. It is part of the University System of Maryland and a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

This college has a low graduation rate of 20% and costs $23,805 for in-state students, while out-of-state students pay $30,202. Upon graduation, the average student loan debt is $23,936. The median starting salary alumni earn after six years of employment is $38,100.

Wesley College, Delaware

State: Delaware

Founded in 1873, Wesley College was a private liberal arts college in Dover, Delaware. In 2021, it was acquired by Delaware State University and is now the DSU Downtown campus. Prior to the merger, attending Wesley College cost a high price of $43,620 annually. The average student loan debt is $31,084, and this college had a 17% graduation rate.

Under the new administration, things are definitely looking up.

Devry University

State: Illinois

DeVry University was founded in 1931 as a private for-profit university with its headquarters in Naperville, Illinois. There are campuses throughout the United States. Herman A. DeVry initially founded the college, and the Higher Learning Commission accredits the school.

The DeForest Training School was initially renamed DeVry University in 2002.

The school has an undergraduate enrollment of 14,163 and costs $23,769 to attend. Its graduation is surprisingly at 29%, considering its student population. This is one of the worst schools to attend because their students graduate with a debt of about $43,000.

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