12 U.S. Presidents Who Never Graduated From College


There are very few presidents without college degrees in American history. That’s not to say there haven’t been any, or that it’s impossible to work in politics without a college degree.

Legally, you can be elected president of the United States even if you didn’t go to college. The U.S. Constitution does not set forth any education requirements for presidents.

But it would be a pretty extraordinary achievement for a president without a college degree to be elected today.

But it wasn’t always common for presidents to have earned degrees or even attended college. In fact, educational attainment wasn’t a prime consideration among voters.

Education of Early Presidents

Fewer than half of the nation’s first 24 presidents held college degrees; they just didn’t need to.

“For much of the nation’s history a college education was a perquisite for the rich, well-connected or both; of the first 24 men who became president, 11 had not graduated from college at all (though three of those had attended some college without earning a degree),” wrote Drew DeSilver, a senior writer at the Pew Research Center.

The most recent president without a college degree was Harry S. Truman, who served until 1953. The 33rd president of the United States, Truman attended business college and law school but graduated from neither.

Here’s a list of the 11 presidents without college degrees:

1. George Washington


The nation’s first president never took college courses but did earn a surveyor’s certificate.


2. James Monroe

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The nation’s fifth president attended William & Mary College but didn’t graduate.


3. Andrew Jackson

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The seventh president did not attend college.


4. Martin Van Buren


The nation’s eighth president did not attend college.


5. William Henry Harrison


The ninth president of the United States attended both Hampden-Sydney College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; he didn’t graduate from either.


6. Zachary Taylor


The nation’s 12th president did not attend college.


7. Millard Fillmore


The 13th president did not attend college.


8. Abraham Lincoln


The 16th president did not attend college.


9. Andrew Johnson


The 17th president did not attend college.


10. Grover Cleveland


The 22nd president did not attend college.


11. William McKinley


The 25th president took courses at both Allegheny College and Albany Law School but did not graduate from either.


12. Harry S. Truman

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The 33rd president took courses at Spalding’s Commercial College  and the University of Kansas City School of Law but didn’t earn degrees from either.

This article originally appeared on About.


Bree is a recent college graduate from NYC who excels in writing, social media, music-listening, and pizza pie-eating.