Vermont is renowned for its natural beauty, maple syrup, and progressive politics. However, the state is also home to colleges that struggle to perform well in various rankings and assessments. Among these institutions is Johnson State College, a public liberal arts school that has earned the dubious title of the worst college in Vermont, according to Facts Verse.
Low Graduation Rate and High Loan Default Rate
A significant factor contributing to Johnson State College’s unfortunate reputation is its underwhelming graduation rate and the alarming rate at which students default on their loans.
According to Facts Verse, the college boasts a graduation rate of a mere 36.7 percent, meaning that less than half of its students complete their degrees within the typical six-year period. This falls considerably below the national average of 62 percent for public four-year colleges.
Moreover, the institution grapples with a high loan default rate of 9.6 percent. This figure implies that nearly one in ten students who borrowed funds to attend Johnson State College are unable to repay their loans within three years of leaving the institution.
This figure surpasses the national average of 7.1 percent for public four-year colleges. Such a high loan default rate typically indicates shortcomings in the provision of financial aid, career services, and academic support to students.
High Cost and Low Return on Investment
Another factor contributing to Johnson State College’s unenviable status is its cost and the unsatisfactory return on investment. As reported by Facts Verse, the institution charges approximately $18,842 annually for in-state students, encompassing tuition, fees, room, and board. This price tag is not particularly competitive when compared to other public colleges in Vermont, such as Castleton University ($18,254) or Lyndon State College ($17,880).
Furthermore, graduates of Johnson State College don’t enjoy a favorable return on investment. According to PayScale, alumni from this institution earn an average annual salary of $38,100, which is lower than the national median of $44,000 for individuals with bachelor’s degrees.
The 20-year net return on investment for Johnson State College graduates stands at a discouraging -$25,900, signifying that they experience financial losses over two decades instead of reaping rewards. This places the college among the institutions offering one of the worst returns on investment across the United States.
Poor Reputation and Quality
The college’s poor reputation and quality further contribute to its unenviable standing as the worst college in Vermont. Johnson State College has faced criticism for its policies regarding free speech, with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to safeguarding civil liberties on campus, ranking the college among the worst for free speech. Accusations of censoring student newspapers, restricting controversial speakers, and infringing upon due process rights have marred the institution’s image.
Moreover, students and alumni have voiced their discontent on platforms like Niche and College Factual, rating the college poorly in categories such as academics, diversity, value, safety, and campus life. Common grievances revolve around outdated facilities, insufficiently qualified professors, resource limitations, and limited opportunities.
Johnson State College, a public liberal arts institution in Vermont, has gained notoriety as the state’s worst college, according to Facts Verse. Its challenges include low graduation rates, high loan defaults, exorbitant costs, minimal returns on investment, and a questionable reputation. Prospective students are advised to seek alternative educational opportunities in Vermont or elsewhere for a more promising future.