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This Is the Worst State in America for Graduate Degrees and Pay Raises

Sad college grad sitting on a bench in park

Sad college grad sitting on a bench in park Graduate degrees don’t always pay off. | iStock.com/Ljupco

You’re probably aware a graduate degree will increase your salary. But did you know where you live could devalue it?

In fact, a new Student Loan Hero study revealed that not all states are friendly to seasoned scholars. You might expect a 42% raise after earning your graduate degree in California, for example, but only a 21% jump in Louisiana.

After looking at the top 10 states for graduate degree holders, let’s examine the bottom 10.

To identify the states where a graduate degree is most valuable, our study compares the difference in wages between workers with a bachelor’s degree and those with a graduate degree, in real dollars and as a percentage.

The two factors are equally weighted for every state in the union, plus the District of Columbia.

Six of the lowest ranking 10 states are in one region. The Midwest is also represented twice. Let’s take a quick look at the 10 states where going to college has a weaker return on investment for grad school alumni.

10. Arizona

  • Median graduate degree salary: $62,737
  • Pay raise for earning a graduate degree: 25.79%

Arizona was the lowest-ranking Western state in our complete rankings. The state’s graduate school alumni could expect a salary that’s more than 10% lower than the national median ($69,240). This median income is adjusted for inflation since the U.S. Census Bureau reported it in 2015.

If you’re just beginning your secondary education tenure, consider that Arizona offers the country’s sixth best value on community college. The state saves students an average of $16,698 on a four-year degree if they start out at a two-year school.

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