Does Increased Spending on Higher Education lead to Better State University Rankings?

Does Increased Spending on Higher Education lead to Better State University Rankings?

I thought you would find the rankings of state higher education spending and state university rankings useful.  Intuitively one would believe that states that spend more would have better ranked universities. Higher State spending does not mean it is a Best State for Education.  Lower State spending does not mean it is a Worst State for Education.  A closer look is warranted.

Utah spends the most of its state budget on higher education at 15.5%.  Its University of Utah is ranked 126 according to U.S. News 2009 College Ratings. New York spends the least of all states on higher education with only 5.4%  of its budget yet its highest rated public school SUNY-Binghamton is ranked higher than Utah at 80.   North Dakota is a close second in spending at 15.4% and its university’s state ranking in education is Tier III.  Tier III means it is ranked in the 50-75% of all national universities i.e. below average.  7 of the 10 lowest spending states on higher education have higher university rankings than high spending North Dakota.  North Dakota does not get much bang for its buck.

High Spending States on Higher Education and University Rankings


North Carolina is third highest ranked state on higher education spending at 14.2% and has the highest rated public university of the high spending states with a rank of 28.  This appears to be a positive spend to school rank association.  Yet neighboring Georgia with a spend of 7.6% has its Georgia Institute of Technology rated 35.   Georgia Institute of Technology is higher than every high spend state ranking other than North Carolina.

Alaska is the second lowest higher education spending ranked state at 6.1% and appears to get what it pays for. Its school is rated a bottom 25% Tier IV by U.S. News.   Florida is the third lowest state in spend at 6.3% and appears to get very good returns with the University of Florida rated 47, higher than every high spend state other than North Carolina.

States with the lowest spending on higher education
are primarily in the Northeast.  7 of the lowest 10 states are from the Northeast.  They are, in addition to New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Maine.  Yet 4 of the states, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have higher ranked schools than every high spend state other than North Carolina.

Low Spending States on Higher Education and University Rankings

Source: Tax Foundation

and US News and World Reports

We have reported previously on education spending and test results.  See Does Spending More on Education Work?

and Graduation Rates, SAT Scores and Educational Spending

A simple thesis that more spending on education leads to better results continues to be elusive.  Be wary of political leaders who say that they are managing your education system better by spending more money.  Check the results.

State SAT Scores 2009

The College Board released today the 2009 SAT Scores by State.  They strongly encourage people to look at the data stand alone yet it seems everyone wants to see the SAT Rankings by State. We picked them up from a variety of news sources and present them to you with caution.  Some states have low participation rates and arguably can tilt the field.  We will follow up with some analysis in a future post.  Also see our post Does Increased Spending on Higher Education lead to Better State University Rankings?

Top SAT State Scores include Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri.  These States primarily have their students take the ACT test so their numbers may not be representative of the entire state.

The Worst States for SAT Scores include Maine, Hawaii, South Carolina, Georgia and New YorkDC is also very low.
Here is the ranking of SAT Scores by State List:

2009 State Sat Scores

Rate Reading Math Writing Total
1 Iowa 3% 610 615 588 1813
2 Wisconsin 5% 594 608 582 1784
3 Minnesota 7% 595 609 578 1782
4 Missouri 5% 595 600 584 1779
5 Illinois 6% 588 604 583 1775
6 Michigan 5% 584 603 575 1762
7 South Dakota 3% 589 600 569 1758
8 Nebraska 4% 587 594 572 1753
9 North Dakota 3% 590 593 566 1749
10 Kansas 7% 581 589 564 1734
11 Kentucky 7% 573 573 561 1707
12 Oklahoma 5% 575 571 557 1703
13 Tennessee 10% 571 565 565 1701
14 Arkansas 5% 572 572 556 1700
15 Colorado 20% 568 575 555 1698
16 Wyoming 5% 567 568 550 1685
17 Mississippi 4% 567 554 559 1680
18 Louisiana 7% 563 558 555 1676
19 Alabama 7% 557 552 549 1658
20 Utah 6% 559 558 540 1657
21 New Mexico 11% 553 546 534 1633
22 Ohio 22% 537 546 523 1606
23 Montana 22% 541 542 519 1602
24 Idaho 18% 541 540 520 1601
25 Washington 53% 524 531 507 1563
26 New Hampshire 75% 523 523 510 1557
27 Massachusetts 84% 514 526 510 1551
28 Oregon 52% 523 525 499 1548
29 Vermont 64% 518 518 506 1543
30 Connecticut 83% 509 513 512 1535
31 Arizona 26% 516 521 497 1534
32 Alaska 46% 520 516 492 1528
33 Virginia 68% 511 512 498 1522
34 California 49% 500 513 498 1511
35 West Virginia 18% 511 501 499 1511
36 New Jersey 76% 496 513 496 1506
37 Maryland 69% 500 502 495 1498
38 Rhode Island 66% 498 496 494 1489
39 North Carolina 63% 495 511 480 1487
40 Nevada 42% 501 505 479 1485
41 Indiana 63% 496 507 480 1484
42 Delaware 71% 495 498 484 1478
43 Pennsylvania 71% 493 501 483 1478
44 Florida 59% 497 498 480 1476
45 Texas 51% 486 506 475 1468
46 New York 85% 485 502 478 1466
47 Georgia 71% 490 491 479 1461
48 South Carolina 67% 486 496 470 1453
49 Hawaii 58% 479 502 469 1451
50 Maine 90% 468 467 455 1391
51 DC 79% 466 451 461 1379
All Students 46% 501 515 493 1509

Source: College Board and various news services Rate: Student Population Rate as reported by www.collegeboard.com

Does Spending More on Education Work? State Rankings of Education Spending.

Many States Spend More and Get Less from their Educational Dollars.

Editors Note: 

For the latest 2009 State SAT Rankings go to  State SAT Scores List 2009
For the latest Best States for Jobs see Best States for Job Openings September 2009  and Best States to Find a Job

Also see the States Ranked by Unemployment Increases: Will Jobs improve in 2010?

EPE Research this past week published a state ranking of education spending per student.

While the quality of education may be influenced by the amount of money spent, spending more money does not insure that students actually learn more.  We found it interesting to note how money spent and SAT scores were associated.

The highest spending state, Vermont, is rated 30th in SAT scores nationwide.  The lowest spending state, Utah, gets higher SAT scores from their students and is ranked 20th above Vermont.  Far less money, higher score.  The Best State (highest) SAT score comes from Iowa yet their spending of $9,977 per student is right in the middle at 25th and right at the national average of spending.  The Worst State Sat score comes from Maine yet it spends the 5th most money in the nation.

With all the spending coming out of Congress, we might want to ask for more accountability on results.  The various state legislatures, that are making spending decisions, clearly can not show that more money leads to better results.  Check out our previous post on Best and Worst State SAT Scores

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The data is regionally adjusted so it takes into consideration relative cost.  While SAT scores are only one performance measurement it is an important and consistent test metric across the entire nation.
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Graduation Rates, SAT Scores and Educational Spending. Who is the Best and Worst?

Does increased spending on Education lead to higher performance?

*******Go to 2009 State SAT Scores List  for the latest SAT results.*********

This question was raised in prior posts.

I thought you might find these 2 charts interesting.  Best and Worst States For Education Spending ranks all states by spending and shows the SAT Score Rank of its students. I also have attached a Chart from  Heritage that shows that the best funded cities do not have the highest graduation rates.

The more money spent clearly does not show up in higher SAT scores or graduation rates. 

New Jersey spends the most money.  Its SAT score rank is 33 .  New York, at 2nd on the money spend, ranks 44th on SAT scores.  The “Worst” State for Education Spending is Utah yet its students rank 20th on the SAT score list above NY and New Jersey. Utah spends about 1/3 the dollars of NY and New Jersey.  Its students do better than all of the Top 10 spenders on Education.  Utah may be considered a Best State for Education considering its bang for the dollar.

Arizona
is the next lowest spend state yet ranks 29th on the SAT Scores list.  Arizona students perform better than the top 6 spenders.  Mesa, AZ which is at the bottom of the Heritage list of city spends has a graduation rate of 77.1%.  Mesa spends only 40% of Boston which has a much lower graduation rate of 57%.

Clearly money is not the only factor that impacts educational performance.  You may want to consider carefully your state’s approach to education.  It appears more dollars on education does not lead to better results.  Tell your political leaders you want accountability for results not just money spent.

State Ed Spend SAT Rank
1 New Jersey 15,033 36
2 New York 14,593 44
3 DC 14,214 50
4 Connecticut 13,059 31
5 Vermont 12,749 30
6 Rhode Island 12,425 41
7 Massachusetts 12,398 29
8 Delaware 11,619 43
9 Alaska 11,551 33
10 Maine 11,014 51
11 Pennsylvania 10,900 45
12 Wyoming 10,852 16
13 Maryland 10,682 37
14 New Hampshire 10,405 26
15 Wisconsin 10,388 6
16 Michigan 9,947 13
17 Ohio 9,936 23
18 West Virginia 9,609 32
19 Hawaii 9,581 48
20 Indiana 9,498 38
21 Illinois 9,473 2
22 Virginia 9,463 34
23 Nebraska 9,365 9
24 Minnesota 9,284 3
25 Montana 8,661 22
26 Oregon 8,595 27
27 Georgia 8,589 46
28 Iowa 8,479 1
29 Kansas 8,440 7
30 California 8,418 35
31 Missouri 8,368 4
32 New Mexico 8,342 21
33 North Dakota 8,337 7
34 Colorado 8,334 18
35 Washington 8,218 25
36 Louisiana 8,167 14
37 Arkansas 8,156 11
38 South Carolina 8,039 49
39 South Dakota 7,949 5
40 Texas 7,716 42
41 Florida 7,683 47
42 Kentucky 7,595 15
43 Alabama 7,532 19
44 North Carolina 7,352 41
45 Tennessee 7,295 10
46 Nevada 7,246 41
47 Oklahoma 7,039 12
48 Mississippi 6,973 17
49 Idaho 6,729 24
50 Arizona 6,586 29
51 Utah 5,555 20


Sources:  Dept of Education.  Spending not regionally adjusted.  College Board.

http://www.heritage.org/research/Education/images/b2179_chart5.gif
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Best and Worst States for Smart Drivers, Kansas Best, New Jersey Worst

GMAC does an annual study of state rankings for the Best and Worst States for driver knowledge.

Kansas drivers are rated the most knowledgeable. Wyoming, Nebraska, Idaho and Minnesota round out the top 5 Best States respectively. New Jersey is Worst State for knowledgeable drivers.  DC, New York, Massachusetts and Georgia are rated along with New Jersey as the 5 Worst States.

The study was done by administering a 20 question to test to 5,524 licensed drivers and ranking the results by state.  The Midwest has
the most knowledgeable drivers while the Northeast had the lowest scores and highest exam failure rates.  For more detail go to

We will take a look in another post whether state insurance rates are associated with driver knowledge.

Best and Worst States for Knowledgeable Drivers 2008

1          Kansas
2          Wyoming
3          Nebraska
4          Idaho
5          Minnesota
6          Arkansas
6          South Dakota
8          Oregon
9          Iowa
9          Washington
11        Indiana
12        Wisconsin
13        Utah
14        Missouri
15        Alabama
15        Colorado
15        Montana
18        Michigan
18        Texas
18        Vermont
21        North Dakota
22        Arkansas
22        North Carolina
22        New Mexico
22        Oklahoma
26        Delaware
26        Ohio
28        Florida
29        Kentucky
30        New Hampshire
31        Maine
32        Illinois
33        California
33        Connecticut
33        Tennessee
36        Arizona
36        Nevada
36        Pennsylvania
39        South Carolina
40        Vermont
41        Rhode Island
42        Maryland
43        West Virginia
44        Louisiana
45        Hawaii
46        Mississippi
47        Georgia
48        Massachusetts
49        New York
50        District of Columbia
51        New Jersey

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Best and Worst States for SAT Scores

Student SAT scores are an important indicator of college preparedness.  Where a child grows up and gets educated can dramatically alter his or her performance and opportunities in life.  Here are the Best and Worst States for SAT Scores for 2008.

Editors Note:  For the latest 2009 State Sat Scores got to State SAT Scores 2009

For the latest in Best States for Jobs 2009 go to Best States for Job Openings September 2009


According to the CollegeBoard SAT 2008 College-Bound Seniors State SAT reports the Best and Worst States for SAT scores are:

Best States for SAT Scores

Rank    State                 R      M       W         Total
1.    Iowa                       608    613    586    1807
2.    Illinois                     594    611    588    1793
3.    Minnesota               596    603    577    1776
4.    Missouri                  594    594    587    1775
5.    South Dakota          598    602    567    1767

Worst States for SAT Scores

Rank    State                  R       M       W       Total
51.    Maine                     466    465    457    1388
50.    Dist of Columbia      478    462    471    1411
49.    South Carolina        488    496    475    1459
48.    Hawaii                    484    506    473    1463
47.    Florida                    497    496    476    1469
46.    Georgia                   494    495    483    1472
R- Critical Reading   M-Mathematics   W-Writing

It is also interesting to see where some of our most populated states are ranked.
California is ranked 35, New York  44 and Texas is 41. Employers may also want to take note of these rankings.