CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – West Virginia is not known for its high-quality education system. In fact, a recent study ranked West Virginia last in education in the country. So is West Virginia just neglecting to invest in education?

According to a ranking by Leaner, West Virginia spends an average of $25,407 per student on education from Kindergarten up through college. In the U.S., 43 other states spend more than West Virginia on each student.

Most of West Virginia’s funding for education, over 89%, comes from state funding, with federal funding covering almost 11%. According to Leaner, approximately .9% of West Virginia taxpayers’ salaries go to education in the state.

By comparison, 1.4% of taxpayer income goes to education in Alaska where the state spends $53,124 per student on education, and only .5% of taxpayer income goes to education in Washington, D.C.

K-12 vs Higher Education

For those who are wondering how West Virginia spends almost $25K on students who go to public primary school, it doesn’t. The majority of West Virginia’s education spending is on post-secondary education or college. Only $11,757 goes toward each student up through high school. On the other hand, $13,650 is spent on the average West Virginia college kid.

Programs like the West Virginia Promise Scholarship may account for a good amount of this spending as qualifying students can get almost $5,000 per year from the state.

West Virginia isn’t alone in spending more on college than K-12 education. Only seven states and Washington D.C. spend more money on education up through high school than they do on college/university: Connecticut, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C.

But maybe the extra spending on K-12 pays off since these states were generally ranked near the top in the best states for education ranking.

The most any state spends on education through high school is $25,520 per student in New York, and the least that any state spends on education through high school is $7,478 per student in Utah.

What are the top and bottom states?

States that spend the most on education are:

  1. Alaska – $53,124 per student
  2. Michigan – $46,887 per student
  3. Hawaii – $46,363 per student
  4. New Mexico – $45,717 per student
  5. Oregon – $44,506 per student

States that spend the least on education are:

  1. Idaho – $19,661 per student
  2. Arizona – $20,494 per student
  3. Florida – $22,852 per student
  4. Tennessee – $24,226 per student
  5. Washinton, D.C. – $24,573 per student

This ranking does not take into account what the monies are used for within the schools or the cost of living within each state or area. To see the full ranking and methodology, check out the full study on Leaner.