Virginia tops a new ranking that analyzes the best states for higher education. The state took the No. 1 spot based on its ability to educate its residents and high graduation rates.

The annual list, from financial technology company SmartAsset, compares four-year public colleges and universities using various metrics such as undergraduate graduation rates, average net price, 20-year return on investment (ROI), and the student-faculty ratio.

Virginia consistently appears in the annual ranking’s top states. It has one of the highest average graduation rates in the study (70 percent); and the average 20-year ROI for graduates is $442,660–the fourth-highest ROI in the study. For 2017, both the University of Virginia and the College of William & Mary rank among the top 10 public universities in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Rounding out the top 5 are:

California: The state’s average graduation rate is 63 percent–the eighth-highest in the country. Plus, the state of California has the second-highest ROI in that U.S. Graduates earn an average ROI of $459,656 over the course of 20 years.

(Next page: How the rest of the states stacked up)

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura

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