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Top 21 Worst Colleges in America 2023 Ranked By State

Nowadays, where getting a quality education is hard to come by without accruing student loan debt, it’s hard to believe there are some worst colleges in America. Some of these are diploma mills and overpriced institutions that don’t care about their students.

This article was published to help prospective students avoid making bad choices regarding higher education. When creating this list, we focused on things most students complain about, the school’s graduation rates, tuition, and fees, housing, average student debt, ROI, etc.

Without further ado, let’s get to it.

The Worst Colleges in America 2023

We selected some of the worst universities in the US. We highlighted why they are on this list and things that can be improved.

1. DeVry University

devry university

Devry University is a private for-profit university with small campuses in about 16 states in the US. While they have friendly online classes, all they want is your money.

Ever wondered why the institution has a 50% acceptance rate? Devry admits almost anyone. Also, it has a meager graduation rate of 22%. Most students drop out of this school due to one reason or the other.

While it does not seem to be a degree mill, Devry University is overpriced, with a tuition cost per credit hour of $514 for undergraduates and $776 for graduate degree programs. Don’t fall for this scheme if you don’t want a degree that can’t get you a job or debts you can’t pay off.

2. Bob Jones University

bob jones university

Bob Jones University is a private Christian University located in South Carolina. Unlike Devry, Bob Jones is affordable and has a pretty good graduation rate. The school only started admitting black students about 44 years after its establishment.

While it’s a popular religious school in the nation, it has some weird rules that most Christians don’t like. For example, couples are not allowed to socialize, movies rated above PG-13 cannot be watched on campus, Rock, Pop, Country, Jazz, Electronic/Techno, and Rap/Hip Hop music is banned, and students must shave their faces every morning if they are under 25 years old, etc.

The only bad thing about this college is it is too strict. Breaking any of its rules may get you socialled (you can’t talk or interact with the opposite gender) or shipped out.

3. Morris College

morris uni

Founded in 1908, Morris College is a private HBCU college in South Carolina. Like Devry University, it admits almost everyone, with an acceptance rate of 79.4%, and enrolls about 600 students annually.

While getting into this college may be a piece of cake, the school has a low graduation rate of 30%. Most students also complain about their dorms and the food served at the cafeteria.

4. Western International University

Western International University is one of the worst colleges in America. It was a for-profit private institution in Arizona and affiliated with the University of Phoenix.

It stopped enrolling students in 2017 and lost its accreditation in February 2019. Before it closed, students complained about the poor education system, expensive tuition, and inability to transfer credits earned from this college.

5. Lindsey Wilson College

lindsey wilson college

Lindsey Wilson College is a private college in Kentucky affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It has more than 2500 students.

Most students complain about the faculty members, bad food, and mold-filled dorms. The school has a 37% graduation rate.

6. South College

south college

South College is a private for-profit College in Knoxville offering more than 60 degree programs. With its 100% acceptance rate, it admits almost anyone.

Students complain about its lack of advocacy for students, bad professors, and little to no social life on campus. The school has a 40% graduation rate.

7. Fayetteville State University

FSU worst college

FSU is a public HBCU college in North Carolina with a 36% graduation rate. While affordable, it has one of the nation’s worst 30-year returns on investment.

Also, the school is located in a dangerous area and has not addressed the safety issues across the campus. Students also complain about its average dorms and lazy staff members.

8. Shaw University

shaw university

Shaw University is a private HBCU college affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, USA. About 32% of its students transfer to other colleges, and it has a low graduation rate of 17%.

Students complain about the campus being too small, the bad food in the cafeteria, and some professors being unsupportive.

9. The University of Alaska Anchorage

university of alaska anchorage

The University of Alaska Anchorage is a public university in Alaska and the largest in the University of Alaska System. Its low graduation rate is due to losing accreditation for some of its programs.

This school made it to this list of worst colleges in America due to its rising cost of attendance annually and bad academic advisors. Also, the food on the residential campus is not good enough.

10. Texas College

Texas College is a private college affiliated with the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. It has a low graduation rate of 12.4% and a 46% retention rate.

Most students complain about the lackadaisical attitude of the financial aid office and its housing. Also, the 6-year median salary for graduates is $23,400, and students have an average debt of $21,620.

11. University of the District of Columbia


University of the District of Columbia is a public HBCU university in Washington, DC. It offers about 81 degree programs as well as other non-academic educational programs.

The school is poorly funded, its financial aid office is unorganized, and students complain about some professors not coming to class. Also, it has a below-average graduation rate of 10%, making it one of the worst colleges in the US.

12. Mitchell College

mitchell college

Mitchell College is a private college in Connecticut affiliated with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The school has a 41.5% graduation rate.

Students complain about its bad Wi-Fi, expensive meal plans, and unsupportive staff members. Also, its academic model doesn’t give a place for a college experience.

13. Yeshivas Novominsk

Yeshivas Novominsk is a small private Jewish college in Brooklyn. Established in 1988, it is one of the cheapest ways to get a Talmudical Yeshiva education in the US.

However, there’s a problem with this school. Most students transfer to other colleges, making it one of the colleges with the lowest graduation rate in the nation.

14. Grambling State University

Grambling state university

Grambling State University is a public HBCU college in Louisiana offering about 56 degree programs. While it has some notable alumni like Ronnie Coleman, an 8-time Mr. Olympia Winner, it must improve.

Students complain about the rising tuition costs, and the school is in a dangerous area. Also, it lacks diversity and does not help new graduates with job placement.

15. Florida Memorial University

florida memorial university

Florida Memorial University is a private HBCU university affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA in Miami Gardens. It is one of the oldest higher institutions in the state.

Students complain about its expensive cost of attendance, infrastructure, housing, and not-so-good cafeteria food. The school has a 32% graduation rate.

16. University of Montevallo

montevallo university

Founded in 1896, the University of Montevallo is a public university in Alabama. It has a 49% graduation.

Commuters complain about its parking for students being limited and too far from buildings. Also, it does not have a lot of financial aid options, and the food in the cafeteria is nothing to write home about.

Another thing Montevallo students complain about is its brick roads. Although old bricks are regularly replaced, you don’t want to twist your ankle while walking on them.

17. Philander Smith College

philander smith worst college

Philander Smith College is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church in Arkansas. It has less than a thousand students and is among the cheapest colleges in the state.

The school does not pay attention to problems reported by the students, and its dorms are filled with mold. Philander Smith has a 40% graduation rate.

18. Waldorf University

waldorf university worst

Waldorf University is a private for-profit university in Forest City, Iowa. It is affiliated with Columbia Southern University.

Waldorf used to be a non-profit college before it was sold in 2010. The school is overpriced, does not provide enough financial aid, and the food served is average.

19. Sterling College

sterling college

Sterling College is a 4-year private Christian college in Kansas. It was formerly called Cooper Memorial College before it changed its name in 1920.

The school has one of the worst freshman retention rates in the nation. Also, its average student debt is about $25,000.

20. Mt. Sierra College

mt sierra worst college

One of the worst colleges in the US is Mt. Sierra College, a private for-profit university in Monrovia. In 2018 the school was placed on a warning by its accrediting commission.

It was too expensive, with few financial aid programs available for students. Also, their BA degree was not recognized at other colleges, and there were insufficient tutors.

In 2019, Mt. Sierra College had severe financial difficulties and was closed.

21. Salem University

salem university

Last but not least on this list of worst colleges in America is Salem University, a Private for-profit university in West Virginia. The Seventh Day Baptist Church established it.

In 2005, the school was purchased by Salem Education LLC. Students complain about the food, unresponsive advisors, and some professors not attending online classes.

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Worst Colleges in the US Ranked by State

Below are some of the worst colleges in the USA categorized by state.

AlabamaAlabama State University
AlaskaThe University of Alaska Anchorage
ArizonaWestern International University
ArkansasPhilander Smith College
CaliforniaCalifornia College San Diego
ColoradoNazarene Bible College
ConnecticutMitchell College
DelawareWesley College
FloridaEdward Waters College
GeorgiaThe Art Institute of Atlanta
HawaiiChaminade University of Honolulu
IdahoLewis-Clark State College
IllinoisDeVry University
IndianaIndiana University – Northwest
IowaWaldorf University
KansasSterling College
KentuckyLindsey Wilson College
LouisianaGrambling State University
MaineThe University of Maine at Augusta
MarylandCoppin State University
MassachusettsNew England Institute of Art
MichiganBaker College in Flint
MinnesotaCrown College
MississippiMississippi Valley State University
MissouriHarris-Stowe State University
MontanaMontana State University Billings
NebraskaPeru State College
NevadaNevada State College
New HampshireNew England College
New JerseyBloomfield College
New MexicoUniversity of the Southwest
New YorkCollege of New Rochelle
North CarolinaShaw University
North DakotaMayville State University
OhioCentral State University
OklahomaBacone College
OregonPacific Northwest College of Art
PennsylvaniaStrayer University
Rhode IslandRhode Island College
South CarolinaBenedict College
South DakotaBlack Hills State University
TennesseeLe Moyne-Owen College
TexasTexas College
UtahStevens Henager College – Ogden
VermontJohnson State College
VirginiaVirginia Union University
WashingtonHeritage University
West VirginiaWest Virginia State University
WisconsinHerzing University – Madison
WyomingLaramie County Community College

Please note that the above list is subjective and is based on factors like graduation rates, loan default rates, student-faculty ratio, and post-graduate earnings, among other things. The quality of a college also depends on individual experiences, the degree program pursued, and personal fit. 


In summary, some of the worst universities in the USA in 2023 are but are not limited to:

  • Devry University
  • Bob Jones University
  • Morris College
  • Western International University
  • Lindsey Wilson College
  • South College
  • Fayetteville State University
  • Shaw University
  • The University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Texas College
  • University of the District of Columbia
  • Mitchell College
  • Yeshivas Novominsk
  • Grambling State University
  • Florida Memorial University
  • University of Montevallo
  • Philander Smith College
  • Waldorf University
  • Sterling College
  • Mt. Sierra College
  • Salem University

If you think a school is not supposed to be on this list or you know any institution that’s worse than these, let us know in the comments section.

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