Virginia tops the 2018 list of best states for a higher education, according to a new ranking from SmartAsset, which analyzes U.S. public institutions to determine which offer the best value based on a variety of metrics.

The analysis compares states using five factors:

Undergraduate graduation rate: Data comes from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Data is for the 2015-2016 school year.

Average net price: This metric considers the average yearly price for first-time, full-time undergraduate students. Data comes from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and is for the 2015-2016 school year.

Student-faculty ratio: This metric also comes from the IPEDS data center. It’s from the 2016-2017 school year.

Twenty-year return on investment: This is the difference between 20 years of median pay for a graduate with a bachelor’s degree minus the costs for attending the higher education institution for four years and 24 years of median pay for a high school graduate. Data comes from Payscale.

In-state attendance rate: This is the percentage of students who graduated from high school in 2015 who went on to attend an in-state college. Data comes from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

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 http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura


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