Education is a powerful tool for societal change, personal growth, and national progress. It’s a fundamental human right that reduces poverty, promotes peace, fosters equality, and improves employment opportunities.
In the U.S., education policy is state-determined, with compulsory education laws ensuring access to basic education for all children. A study by Scholaroo identified the states with the highest education levels based on graduation rates and institution quality. This revealed the states with the most educated populations and top educational institutions.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the ten most educated states in the U.S. Read on to learn more.
Massachusetts is the most highly educated state in the U.S., with a total score of 81. It ranks second in educational attainment and first in school quality. Home to MIT, Harvard, and other top institutions, Massachusetts has the highest college graduation rate and the highest share of master’s program graduates. It also ranks fifth in the percentage of doctoral program graduates.
Since Massachusetts ranks first as the most educated state in the U.S., with the highest percentage of Bachelor’s degree holders and graduate and professional degree holders, they have one of the highest median household incomes in the country.
Minnesota is the second most educated state in the U.S., with a score of 75, leading in educational attainment and ranking sixth in school quality. It has the highest percentage of doctoral program graduates and is second in master program graduates. Additionally, it ranks fourth in terms of the highest literacy rate.
The state is the headquarters for Fortune 500 companies like 3M, General Mills, Target, and United Health Group and hosts The Mayo Clinic, one of its largest employers.
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Crookston are the top two colleges in the state. The University of Minnesota, known as a Public Ivy, is the flagship university of the University of Minnesota System and has one of the largest student bodies in the U.S.
Connecticut, the third most educated state with a score of 72, holds the seventh position in educational attainment and the third in school quality.
Located in the heart of New England, this small state is known for its rich history, quaint towns, and robust academic culture. It houses a variety of esteemed public and prestigious private universities, providing diverse opportunities for students seeking higher education. Connecticut has several nationally ranked institutions like Yale University, Wesleyan University, Trinity College, and Connecticut College. The highest-ranked college in Connecticut is Yale University, and the top-rated public state college is the University of Connecticut.
Connecticut’s economy is driven by key industries such as digital media, bioscience, financial services, and insurance.
Virginia ranked as the fourth most educated state in the U.S. with a score of 68, holds the 12th position for educational attainment, and the fourth for school quality.
Top-notch institutions such as the University of Virginia, Washington and Lee University, the College of William & Mary, and Virginia Tech contribute to the state’s academic reputation.
With the highest concentration of tech workers nationwide, the tech industry heavily influences Virginia’s economy. Computer chips became the state’s primary export in 2006, outpacing traditional exports like tobacco and coal.
Pennsylvania, the fifth most educated state in the U.S. with a score of 67, is sixth in educational attainment and tenth in school quality.
It stands fourth in terms of the highest proportion of graduates from master’s and doctoral programs. Additionally, it ranks third for having the highest number of top-tier universities per state.
The state is home to various prestigious institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, and Carnegie Mellon University.
Vermont, with a score of 67, is the sixth most educated state in the U.S. It holds the eighth position in educational attainment and the ninth in school quality. It is the third-highest college graduation rate. The state also has the third-highest literacy rate in the U.S.
The University of Vermont is the oldest in Vermont and the fifth-oldest in New England. It is among the oldest in the United States.
Nebraska, holding the seventh position on the list of most educated U.S. states with a score of 67, ranks fourth in educational attainment and fifteenth in school quality.
College education in Nebraska is diverse and robust, with various institutions catering to different academic interests. The state’s public colleges and universities include Chadron State College, Peru State College, University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
In addition, Nebraska offers a wide range of programs and degrees, making it an attractive destination for students from all walks of life. The state’s commitment to education is reflected in its investment in quality faculty and facilities and its emphasis on research and practical learning experiences.
Missouri is the eighth most educated state in the U.S. with a score of 66, ranking third in educational attainment and 28th in school quality. It has the second-highest share of doctoral program graduates.
Forty-seven colleges and universities constitute the higher education landscape in Missouri. Many of these schools are known for their programs of study and value to students. Washington University in St. Louis, Webster University, and Fontbonne University are some of them.
Illinois ranked as the ninth most educated state in the U.S. with a score of 66, holds the 5th rank for educational attainment and the 17th for school quality. It has the fourth-highest share of master’s program graduates.
In 2022, about 22.5% of the people of Illinois in the age group of 25 and over held a Bachelor’s degree. About 25.2 percent of people in the state had a high school diploma (or equivalent) as their highest educational attainment.
Maryland, the tenth most educated state in the U.S. with a score of 65, is 11th in educational attainment and 7th in school quality.
Johns Hopkins University is leading the list for 2023 as the best overall college in Maryland. The top-rated public state college is the University of Maryland College Park.
These top ten educated states in the U.S. show a strong dedication to education. Their high rankings in educational attainment and school quality are a testament to their commitment to fostering academic excellence at all levels. These states exemplify how prioritizing education can lead to a well-educated populace, which is critical to economic growth and societal progress. If you’re inspired by the success of these top ten educated states, think about how you can make a difference.