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Three Arizona colleges among worst in America

Choosing where to go to college is one of the toughest decisions any young adult has to make. Whether the decision boils down to a major state university or a private for-profit institution, students are forced to choose from a litany of options with little information about the differences.

While lists of best colleges to attend are quite prevalent, finding out which colleges to avoid is much tougher.

That’s why Washington Monthly created four different lists of worst colleges in America based on different sets of criteria.

The simplest way to define a bad college is as a place that charges students large amounts of money, probably financed by debt they cannot afford, to receive an education so terrible that most students drop out before graduation.

The top 20 worst rankings are based on four factors: net price, average student debt, default rate and graduation rate.

The first set of rankings weigh all four factors equally. Coming in at No. 1 is New England Institute of Art in Massachusetts.

One Arizona school made the list. Tempe’s University of Advancing Technology, a private for-profit institution, ranked No. 10.

When graduation rate was given more impact in the rankings, North Carolina’s St. Augustine’s University topped (or bottomed) the list. No Arizona schools appeared.

Arizona was once again not listed when the rankings included degrees awarded to part-time and transfer students. Benedict College in South Carolina was ranked the worst.

However, a pair of Arizona institutions were among the worst when graduation rate was adjusted for percentage of minority and low-income students and for net price charged to low-income students.

University of Advancing Technology (No. 10) and Prescott College (No. 12) each made the list. Shimer College in Illinois ranked the worst.