This project was an attempt to analyze the states of the US on how well they are doing at
providing top-tier educational opportunities to college-aged kids from their own states. The
result was two interesting maps of the states relative to the high-quality educational
opportunities they provide, based on a number of factors, including the strength of the
institutions, the size of the state budget, the state population, and more.
Since there are almost 2500 universities in the United States, I had to limit my scope and
only focus on the cream of the crop - US News/World Report's top 50, from University of
California - Berkeley to the University of Tennessee. The first map shows the locations of the
universities I used - higher bars and redder colors represent higher rankings.
My goal was to determine which states provide the best educational opportunities for their
students. However, a large, well-resourced state like California with its 171 billion dollar
budget will push more universities into the top 50 than, say, Delaware, with its budget of
just 4 billion dollars. If Delaware converted its budget to quarters and California converted
its budget to $100 bills, California would still have more pounds of money. However, budget
size isn't the only thing I considered as a weighting factor. Other determinants such as the
number of students at the school, the percentage of them that live in-state, and related
values were also used.
Second is a map of the states with the redder colors representing a higher educational
'score' and the whiter colors representing a lower one. The states that are completely white
have no public universities within the top 50.
The full spreadsheet of data can be found
for those interested, or in plain text format