Top 10 U.S. States with the Highest College Education Rates and Earning Potential

Socioeconomic factors often dictate access to education in the U.S. Tuition costs are on the rise, and systemic biases prevent students of color from being accepted to colleges. However, getting a bachelor’s degree still opens up many opportunities. Here are the 10 states that house the most college graduates.


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Massachusetts is well-known for its plethora of history, from the Mayflower to the Salem Witch Trials. In more recent history, though, they’ve become a state with an overwhelming percentage of citizens with bachelor’s degrees — over 45%!

New Hampshire

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Situated next door to Massachusetts, it’s unsurprising that New Hampshire comes close, with 40–44% of citizens obtaining bachelor’s degrees. 


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Vermont is another neighbor to Massachusetts with a high percentage of bachelor’s degrees. Known for its beauty, culture, and delicious organic fare, its 40–44% bachelor’s degree standing is also admirable.


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Connecticut is the final Massachusetts neighbor that also ranks high for bachelor’s degrees (40–44%). This isn’t shocking, considering it’s the home of Yale University.


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Colorado may be home to glorious mountains and a seemingly endless supply of streams, but it’s also home to an impressive percentage of people with bachelor’s degrees. The state comes in with 40–44%. 


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There are many reasons to be impressed by Virginia. It’s labeled the birthplace of the nation and the Mother of Presidents. It also boasts an impressive number of bachelor’s degrees — 40%–44% of the population.


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California has long been known as the state where you can go surfing and skiing in the same day. While that’s wildly impressive, so is its high percentage of bachelor’s degrees — between 35% and 39%.


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While Kansas is widely known for the “Wizard of Oz,” there is no witchcraft when it comes to its percentage of bachelor’s degrees. In fact, between 35% and 39% of residents of this agriculture-heavy state have a bachelor’s degree.


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Cold weather doesn’t stop Minnesotans from obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Its percentage currently comes in at 35% to 39%.


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Washington has mountainous landscapes, a bustling metropolitan area, and volcanoes. It also has a large population holding bachelor’s degrees, ranging between 35% and 39%.

Everyone Should Consider a Bachelor’s Degree

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One commenter shared some insight, saying, “Anyone planning on a career in corporate America should grab their Bachelor’s. We make HR software and there’s a recruiting module. Some 77% of the time per our analytics, recruiters using our suite filter applications to ‘Bachelor’s degree and above…’”

What About Associate’s Degrees?

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Another commenter made a good point: “I’d like to see this with an associates and above. There are a lot of well-educated people who are in great careers with a 2-year degree.”

Many States With High Percentages!

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Many states across the United States have impressive rankings in bachelor’s degrees per population. Massachusetts comes in first place, with neighboring states not far behind!


Author: Christopher Alarcon

Title: Journalist

Expertise: personal finance, side hustles, time management


Christopher Alarcon is a journalist with a deep passion for personal finance. He has contributed to major online publications, including MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Business Insider.