The most popular safety school in every state

Posted on April 9th, 2014

‘Safety schools,’ or colleges considered back-ups to students’ top choices, get a bad rap.

But as many students have found, attending a college that isn’t your first choice can be a great way to save money and avoid student loan debt.

College prestige doesn’t matter

While some students might worry that their employment chances and/or earnings might be lower if they don’t go to a big-name college, that’s usually not the case. In spite of conventional wisdom, college prestige isn’t as important as you think.

In fact, studies have shown that students who get into Ivy League schools but choose to attend a lower-ranked school do just as well in the job market as their Ivy League peers.

Executives at many Fortune 500 companies and government officials can also attest to the fact that college prestige matters little. The CEOs of Bank of America, AT&T, Ford Motor Company, Hewlett Packard, AIG, and Wells Fargo, along with about half of all U.S. Senators, graduated from state colleges.

Choosing a safety school

When applying to college, it’s important to apply to some less competitive and more affordable schools just in case you don’t get into your other choices or they don’t offer enough financial aid.

State colleges have lower sticker prices than their private counterparts, and lower-ranked private colleges tend to offer more scholarship money, making these ‘safeties’ more affordable for a prospective college student.

If you’re looking for a safety school in your state, check out the chart below from Niche.

The graphic shows the most popular safety school in every state, based on three key factors: acceptance rate, yield, and in-state percentage.  A higher acceptance rate and in-state percentage, along with a lower yield, indicated that the college was more likely to be a ‘safety’ than a top choice for most students in that state.


Tips on affording college

For some students and families, a college that starts out as a ‘safety school’ might end up being the best deal of the bunch.

By all means, you should still apply to your top choice college because you’ll never know how much financial aid you’ll receive unless you apply. Be be sure to give yourself some options in case the costs don’t work out in your favor.

Student loan debt is a huge problem, and most colleges and degrees are not worth going into significant debt for. Remember, college is what you make of it–what you do with the degree is much more important than where you got it from.

For more help finding affordable colleges and applying for financial aid, check out our tips, call us at 1-888-234-3907, or send us a message.

Category: Choosing a College

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