Affordable Colleges With Highest Return on Investment

Earning a college degree requires a significant investment of both time and money. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013-2014 school year was $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

The reason for making an investment in a college education is, of course, the expected return. According to a Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce study, bachelor’s degree holders can expect median lifetime earnings approaching $2.3 million, nearly twice as much as workers with only a high school diploma. Clearly, the investment in a college education will pay off in the long run. How much it pays off, however, depends on how smart the investment was in the first place. Finding affordable schools with quality education programs that translate to real career potential is the critical first step.

With student loan debt reaching a record high of $1.2 trillion, according to NBC News, students and families are understandably concerned about the cost of a college education. Skyrocketing tuition rates have also lead many to question whether a degree is even worth it. Research has shown, however, that a degree does pay off, as long as it leads to a well-paying career and not just a job at the local coffee shop post graduation.

The harsh reality is that some colleges and degrees pay for themselves, while others don’t, and in today’s job market that’s something all students need to seriously think about before enrolling in any college and degree program.

What is ROI?

ROI, or return on investment, is a term that many have probably heard before. It’s a performance or value metric that can be applied to all sorts of purchases to determine if something is worth one’s money. If the benefits—or return—outweigh the investment, that’s a good sign that the purchase will be worth it. In terms of higher education, ROI refers to the cost of attending college (investment) versus the graduate’s future earnings (return). Because college students will be spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on education, it’s important to determine a college’s ROI before making any commitments. ROI, however, can be very subjective, and there is no one-size-fits-all calculation. An important factor to one student may not be as important to another. For example student A may decide that she needs the personalized attention only found in a small classroom in order to do well, while student B can thrive in a small or large environment.

Although ROI can be very personal, below are important factors that all students should consider:

The Investment: Total Cost of College

To calculate a college’s ROI, the first step is to determine the total cost of college. While tuition and fees are amounts that most students look at, some tend to overlook other important expenses that can affect total cost. Examples of other expenses to consider include:

  • Additional fees, such as technology, assessment, laboratory and health insurance fees
  • Room and board
  • Textbooks and supplies
  • Personal living expenses

In addition to these expenses and fees, also consider the financial aid received, such as grants and scholarships. In recent years, the federal government has pushed for increased transparency when it comes to college prices so many schools now provide online calculators to help students and families estimate the total net costs.

Calculating Potential Debt

The potential debt that students accrue can greatly affect ROI. For example, if one’s student loan debt at graduation is more than one’s annual starting salary, that will be a problem. Ideally, a graduate should earn enough to meet all agreed repayment terms and conditions that came with the loan. This is when scholarships and grants will be beneficial. The more free money you can get, the less you’ll have to borrow and eventually pay back.

The Return: Expected Future Income

How much a graduate will earn is key to calculate college ROI, as well as making smart decisions about student loans. Even if you’re not sure of the amount, an educated guess will still be helpful as it’ll be difficult to determine if you’ll be able to earn back the money you invested in your degree without an idea of future income. The Bureau of Labor Statistics posts median wages for several industries and occupations. Sites such as salary.com are also useful for researching potential wages.

On a related note, one’s major or field can greatly influence future salary. It’s no surprise that an engineering degree will lead to a lucrative career, whereas a liberal arts degree will be much more varied, with some occupations even leading to little or no return at all. Therefore, when considering colleges, be sure to also think about your field of study and eventual career. If you’re passion is in a field that doesn’t pay well, it may be wise to consider a lower-cost college to maximize ROI.

According to salary.com, below are five majors that are a wise investment:

  • Information Technology
  • Human Resources
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Marketing

Other “Returns”

For many students, the primary concern is what they’ll earn after graduating. Although definitely important, some students may also consider other subjective, qualitative returns such as personal development and enrichment, life experience, passion, and socialization. These may not translate directly into financial benefits, but considering the fact that you’ll be committing a year, at the very least, of your life to being a student, they may help to keep you motivated and happy throughout the journey and can also positively affect you long after earning your cap and gown.

How Long Will it Take to Graduate?

Just because you’re pursuing a four-year degree, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll actually finish in four years. In fact, according to the Institute of Education Sciences, in 2012, 59 percent of first-time, full-time undergraduate students completed their degrees in six years. That’s two more years of tuition, fees, and student expenses that most likely weren’t factored in at the beginning.

Time to graduation is particularly important for adult learners to consider. Because many adult students work part- or full-time while in school, it may take them longer than expected to complete a degree program. This extra time can also result in missed income opportunities. For example, if you’re currently working full-time in marketing, but decide to go back to school for two years to earn an MBA, not only are you paying for an expensive degree, but you’re most likely losing out on income by going to part-time employment or giving up your job entirely. One way to bypass this is to attend an online college, which offers more flexibility so you can work towards your degree and still earn that full-time paycheck.

There are a number of free online tools and websites that students and families can use to estimate various college costs, including ROI. Below is a list of resources to help you make the most of your college investment:

College Reality Check

Produced by The Chronicle of Higher Education and backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this website provides information on graduation rates, net price, potential earnings, and how long it will take for students to pay off loans so that students and families have all the facts and information they need to make smart decisions about higher education.

The College Board

The College Board offers several tools and calculators as well as other information on paying for college to help students and families better prepare for the financial commitment of higher education.

Fidelity

Fidelity has compiled helpful information on various 529 savings plans as well as tools to estimate expected contributions and college costs.

LearnVest – Grad School Calculator

For those interested in going back to school to earn a master’s degree, LearnVest has created a tool to help prospective students determine whether grad school is actually worth it.

U.S. News & World Report – Net Price Calculators

Most colleges and universities now have online net price calculators available on their websites, but sometimes they can still be hard to find. U.S. News has compiled a list of net price calculators for 300 top National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges.

College Affordability and Transparency Center

In an effort to make college costs more transparent, the U.S. Department of Education launched the College Affordability and Transparency Center. Here, prospective students can find various information on colleges, including scorecards, net price calculators, and more.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

FINRA’s overall mission is to protect the public from fraud and bad practices and to promote fair financial markets. The organization has put together a whole section on smart saving for college, including a college savings calculator to figure out the annual amount you should be investing in order to have enough money to pay for all college costs.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB offers all kinds of information on paying for college, financial aid, and repaying student debt.

Federal Student Aid

Increasing college ROI often requires lots of careful budgeting. The DOE’s Federal Student Aid Office offers the following financial tips.

Lumina Foundation – College Costs, Prices and the Great Recession

The organization recently released a paper on college costs, prices and the Great Recession. Read the report to get a better understanding of the big picture.

Finding an affordable college to attend just got a little bit easier. At Affordable Colleges Online we’re dedicated to helping you find the most affordable colleges in the fields you desire. We know how important a college degree is in today’s job market so we’ve analyzed the data and come up with this list of the most affordable colleges with the biggest return on investment. Check out the results and visit the university websites to find out which college is right for you. To find out how these colleges made our top-50 list, be sure to read our selection methodology.

1
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
30 Year Net ROI: $836,000 4 Year Tuition: $26,704 Enrollment: 23,017 State: GA

Ranked #1, The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world’s premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report’s top public universities, the Institute enrolls over 21,000 students within its 6 colleges. Georgia Tech is the nation’s leading producer of engineers as well as female and minority engineering Ph.D. graduates. Holding more than 848 patents and receiving approximately $689 million in research and development expenditures, Georgia Tech ranks among the nation’s top ten universities (without a medical school) in research expenditures.

2
State University of New York at New Paltz
30 Year Net ROI: $644,500 4 Year Tuition: $21,080 Enrollment: 9,137 State: NY

Top-ranked SUNY New Paltz provides one of the nation’s most open, diverse, and artistic environments in order to prepare students to excel in rapidly changing times. The tradition of intellectual discovery is enhanced by a location of stunning natural beauty, in a dynamic college town, with easy access to New York City. The unusually wide array of professional and liberal arts majors fosters a rich academic milieu in which 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students, selected through a competitive admissions process, can develop to their highest potential. New Paltz has been recognized as a “green” school with environmentally-friendly buildings and campus-wide recycling programs. With award-winning faculty members, SUNY New Paltz has been recognized for its value.

3
University of Virginia-Main Campus
30 Year Net ROI: $620,900 4 Year Tuition: $36,960 Enrollment: 30,731 State: VA

Named the No. 2 best public university by U.S. News and World Report, University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. The school’s suburban campus features bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in health professions, engineering, education, psychology, social sciences, and more.

4
Texas A & M University-College Station
30 Year Net ROI: $568,900 4 Year Tuition: $21,188 Enrollment: 51,417 State: TX

Texas A&M is the nation’s sixth-largest university, with more than 50,000 students enrolled in more than 120 undergraduate degree programs. However, it has the “feel” of a much smaller campus, thanks to the friendliness personified by the entire Aggie community in College Station. Its high-achieving students are challenged by a rigorous curriculum that is complemented by numerous study-abroad, internship and undergraduate research opportunities. With more than 800 student organizations on campus, they also are given a host of opportunities to develop leadership skills that serve them well after graduation. Home to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the campus also features entertainment venues, landmarks, a visitor’s center, and more.

5
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
30 Year Net ROI: $551,600 4 Year Tuition: $35,408 Enrollment: 33,248 State: VA

Through its missions of learning, discovery, and engagement and dedication to the university motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on approach to education. Virginia Tech offers over 70 undergraduate degree programs and 150 master’s and doctoral degree programs to more than 30,000 students while managing a research portfolio of more than $450 million. Through a combination of competitive tuition and fee rates and increased funding for student financial aid Virginia Tech is consistently named a ‘best value’ on several national rankings.

6
College of William and Mary
30 Year Net ROI: $544,800 4 Year Tuition: $33,080 Enrollment: 9,117 State: VA

Considered a “Public Ivy” and one of the world’s great liberal arts universities, the College of William & Mary blends the intimacy of a liberal arts college with the reach of a research university. Founded by Royal Charter in 1693, it is the second oldest college and the first university in the country. W&M offers 30 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs in arts & sciences, business, education, law, and marine science and its programs regularly place near the top of college rankings. Today, enrollment stands at just over 8,000 full-time (graduate and undergraduate) students with a 12:1 student/faculty ratio, among the lowest of public universities.

7
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
30 Year Net ROI: $542,700 4 Year Tuition: $21,888 Enrollment: 19,077 State: CA

Named the West’s best public master’s-level university for two decades by U.S. News and World Report, Cal Poly is a comprehensive polytechnic campus of about 18,000 students on California’s Central Coast. One of the California State University’s 23 campuses, Cal Poly provides a renowned Learn by Doing education aimed at producing innovative professionals and future industry leaders literate in science and technology as well as the liberal arts. With graduates who hold a 97% employment rate, Cal Poly is a nationally-ranked university located on California’s Central Coast. Admissions are highly competitive with rates below 10% for the freshman class.

8
Massachusetts Maritime Academy
30 Year Net ROI: $542,600 4 Year Tuition: $5,580 Enrollment: 1,417 State: MA

Massachusetts Maritime Academy was made for sea-loving students. Graduates go on to serve the maritime industry after a physically rigorous and mentally challenging academic program. Graduate programs, continuing education, and maritime training are also available.

9
University of Maryland-College Park
30 Year Net ROI: $518,000 4 Year Tuition: $27,864 Enrollment: 43,316 State: MD

The University of Maryland is home to more than 90 majors, 800 clubs and organizations, 20 NCAA Division I teams, and 25 programs ranked in the top 10 nationally. The suburban campus offers students numerous opportunities including internships at the White House, the Smithsonian Institution, and NASA.

10
Missouri University of Science and Technology
30 Year Net ROI: $510,800 4 Year Tuition: $31,392 Enrollment: 8,086 State: MO

Often referred to as Missouri S&T, Missouri University of Science and Technology is a public, state-sponsored college situated in Rolla. Offering more than 65 degree programs, S&T is one of the nation’s leading technological research universities. Students may choose from engineering, business, sciences, the humanities and liberal arts, as well as pre-professional advising. Numerous athletic teams compete in NCAA Division II programs and non-athletes can participate in ROTC or countless other clubs and organizations. Missouri S&T has received numerous national accolades for being a “best investment” college, as well as a premier technological institution.

11
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
30 Year Net ROI: $471,400 4 Year Tuition: $38,984 Enrollment: 49,554 State: WA

Located in the heart of Seattle, UW is one the top research universities in the country. Colleges in arts and sciences, education, environment, nursing, engineering, public affairs and more give students a wide variety of programs from which to choose. A large undergraduate research program encourages students to conduct their own studies and experiments, and to work closely with faculty in creating new knowledge.

12
Brigham Young University-Provo
30 Year Net ROI: $468,200 4 Year Tuition: $18,240 Enrollment: 40,203 State: UT

Brigham Young University was established in 1875 to provide higher education under the principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bachelor’s degrees are available in 193 programs with an additional 62 and 26 master’s and doctoral degrees, respectively. BYU is home to numerous libraries, museums, theatres and concert halls.

13
Stony Brook University
30 Year Net ROI: $466,400 4 Year Tuition: $21,080 Enrollment: 29,576 State: NY

Stony Brook University is a dynamic public university on the North Shore of Long Island in New York State. Placed in the top 1% of universities worldwide by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Stony Brook is a smart choice for your future. The school offers first-rate opportunities for undergraduate research and more than 200 majors, minors and combined-degree programs.

14
The University of Texas at Austin
30 Year Net ROI: $464,200 4 Year Tuition: $39,176 Enrollment: 55,620 State: TX

What starts at The University of Texas at Austin changes the world. UT Austin is among the top public research universities in the nation, awarding approximately 12,000 degrees each year while charging lower tuition than most of our peer schools and continually innovating the classroom experience. The faculty and students are at the heart of game-changing research in the sciences and humanities and students receive a top-tier education in a city regarded as one of the coolest places to live.

15
Purdue University-Main Campus
30 Year Net ROI: $420,400 4 Year Tuition: $35,572 Enrollment: 44,644 State: IN

Located in West Lafayette, Purdue also has several regional campuses from which to choose. Purdue offers more than 200 majors and programs and gives first-year students the opportunity to join a Learning Community to share in the college experience together.

16
SUNY at Binghamton
30 Year Net ROI: $416,700 4 Year Tuition: $21,080 Enrollment: 16,203 State: NY

A world-class institution, Binghamton University offers students a broad, interdisciplinary education with an international perspective and one of the most vibrant research programs in the nation. Ranked among the elite public universities in the country, Binghamton challenges students academically, not financially, in its unique, best-of-both-worlds environment. The students, both undergraduate and graduate, work one-on-one with an exceptional faculty and groundbreaking scholars. They take advantage of special academic opportunities like combined degrees, foreign language study groups and an unparalleled international education program.

17
University of Connecticut
30 Year Net ROI: $401,800 4 Year Tuition: $33,024 Enrollment: 27,648 State: CT

Students at the University of Connecticut can choose form 102 undergraduate majors, 88 graduate fields of study, and five professional degree programs. Located in a beautiful rural setting, there are more than 500 clubs and organizations in which students may be involved.

18
University of Wisconsin-Madison
30 Year Net ROI: $390,400 4 Year Tuition: $34,368 Enrollment: 46,756 State: WI

Located on the shore of Lake Mendota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is home to numerous parks and more than 150 miles of trails for runners, bikers, and hikers. Degrees are available in genetics, dairy science, wildlife ecology, international business, numerous concentrations in education and engineering, plus various certificate programs. Extracurricular activities are available for nearly every interest.

19
University of Massachusetts Amherst
30 Year Net ROI: $366,900 4 Year Tuition: $6,856 Enrollment: 31,417 State: MA

At Umass Amherst, students may choose from a wide range of academic programs and unique concentrations or design their own major through the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration program. Students are involved in programs that impact day-to-day student life, such as the Student Government Association and Student Leadership Council.

20
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide
30 Year Net ROI: $364,800 4 Year Tuition: $27,840 Enrollment: 24,928 State: FL

This private university has small class sizes and degrees that focus on aviation, engineering, and business. Embry-Riddle’s main campus is located at Daytona Beach, Florida with a residential campus in Prescott, Arizona and has more than 130 satellite campuses worldwide designed to meet the needs of civilian and military working adults.

21
University of Colorado Boulder
30 Year Net ROI: $361,600 4 Year Tuition: $30,688 Enrollment: 36,946 State: CO

CU-Boulder was founded in 1877 and is the flagship university of the state. The college embraces diversity and offers a wide range of resources for every student and interest. More than 150 areas of study are available to CU-Boulder’s nearly 30,000 students.

22
James Madison University
30 Year Net ROI: $360,500 4 Year Tuition: $18,568 Enrollment: 22,093 State: VA

JMU is frequently recognized as one of the top universities in the country. With degree opportunities in communications, intelligence analysis, justice studies, education, quantitative finance, and more, students have a broad range of choices. Located between farmlands and mountain ranges in the Shenandoah Valley approximately two hours from Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va., JMU is a unique geographic location to live and work.

23
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
30 Year Net ROI: $360,400 4 Year Tuition: $21,888 Enrollment: 22,770 State: CA

One of only two polytechnic universities in California, Cal Poly Pomona embraces a learn-by-doing philosophy, turning theory to practice in every academic discipline. The university recognizes that students who solve classroom challenges today have an advantage as professionals solving real-world problems tomorrow. Cal Poly Pomona, nestled in 1,438 rolling acres is located about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and enjoys a suburban setting with all the luxuries of a major metropolitan area.

24
George Mason University
30 Year Net ROI: $356,500 4 Year Tuition: $27,008 Enrollment: 45,933 State: VA

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. George Mason University—Where Innovation Is Tradition.

25
University of Florida
30 Year Net ROI: $351,000 4 Year Tuition: $16,240 Enrollment: 58,082 State: FL

The University of Florida is one of the nation’s most academically diverse public universities with 16 colleges, more than 100 undergraduate majors, and almost 200 graduate programs. Through its new January-through-August Innovation Academy, it offers a minor in innovation. In the coming year, UF Online will offer full four-year online bachelor’s degree programs. UF is located in Gainesville.

26
The College of New Jersey
30 Year Net ROI: $350,100 4 Year Tuition: $39,040 Enrollment: 8,486 State: NJ

The College of New Jersey is ranked as one of the most competitive schools in the country and has earned national recognition for the excellence it displays through its students, faculty, and academic programs. Students are encouraged to broaden their horizons through TCNJ’s 150+ extracurricular organizations. An award-winning First-Year Experience and freshman orientation program ensures that students are successful.

27
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
30 Year Net ROI: $329,700 4 Year Tuition: $20,612 Enrollment: 40,165 State: NC

Located in the heart of Raleigh, North Carolina, NC State offers research opportunities to its undergraduate population, helping to put their studies to practice and allowing them to be more competitive in the job market and when applying to graduate school. More than 34,000 students attend this globally-recognized university.

28
Texas Tech University
30 Year Net ROI: $328,000 4 Year Tuition: $18,796 Enrollment: 35,105 State: TX

A major research university, Texas Tech is proud to maintain the feel of a smaller institution. Graduate and undergraduate enrollments are at record levels. The faculty and students are winning international acclaim and they are recruiting and hiring top-flight faculty in a variety of disciplines. The goal at Texas Tech is simple: become one of the nation’s great research universities.

29
University of Delaware
30 Year Net ROI: $303,700 4 Year Tuition: $38,680 Enrollment: 23,239 State: DE

Started as a small private academy in 1743, the University of Delaware has grown to serve more than 20,000 graduate and undergraduate students with associate, bachelor, master, doctoral, and dual graduate programs. UD has state-of-the-art academic and public facilities and offers 21 intercollegiate athletics programs as well as 300 student organizations. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has identified UD as a research university with very high research activity, making UD one of the premier research institutions in the nation.

30
Auburn University
30 Year Net ROI: $302,900 4 Year Tuition: $29,184 Enrollment: 26,840 State: AL

Auburn is one of the few universities to hold land, sea, and space grants and is among the largest universities in the South. Auburn’s 25,000 students can choose form 140 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in architecture, forestry, veterinary science, interior design, and more. New and continuing students benefit from the college’s academic coaching and counseling and Study Smart program.

31
San Jose State University
30 Year Net ROI: $294,800 4 Year Tuition: $21,888 Enrollment: 31,575 State: CA

SJSU’s beginnings were as a normal school, training teachers to educate the children of the new frontier. Now, the university offers students 134 bachelor’s and master’s degrees with 110 concentrations. Located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, students enjoy SJSU’s varied athletics, recreation, entertainment, arts, culture, and student activities.

32
Washington State University
30 Year Net ROI: $285,300 4 Year Tuition: $37,496 Enrollment: 29,962 State: WA

WSU has earned national recognition for many of its programs, including its community engagement, research activity, and awards for many of its specific academic colleges. In addition to the main Pullman campus, WSU’s 26,000 students also attend classes in Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, and globally through eLearning, online degrees, and additional opportunities.

33
Iowa State University
30 Year Net ROI: $284,200 4 Year Tuition: $25,632 Enrollment: 31,501 State: IA

With 100 majors and more than 800 student organizations, students are certain to find coursework and activities of interest here. Iowa State is located in the scenic town of Ames and serves more than 30,000 students. The university’s learning communities, a nationally-rated program that assists students through their first years of college life, boast a 70% new student participation.

34
Oregon State University
30 Year Net ROI: $279,000 4 Year Tuition: $24,912 Enrollment: 28,188 State: OR

Oregon State University is Oregon’s leading public research university, with more than 26,000 students in 13 colleges and nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Oregon State attracts more top students than any other university in Oregon, with more than 2,000 undergraduates participating in research projects every year. The median income of Oregon State alumni is 50 percent greater than the median income of college graduates nationwide.

35
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
30 Year Net ROI: $276,700 4 Year Tuition: $13,720 Enrollment: 2,721 State: SD

Since 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has been a national leader in preparing world-class engineers and scientists. Award-winning undergraduate education is enhanced by graduate education and research and development in areas of critical need to South Dakota, the nation, and the world. Our graduates design, construct, and operate the most modern technology to meet today’s complex challenges and are held in the highest regard by their fellow leaders in industry, consulting, government, health, research, and education.

36
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
30 Year Net ROI: $270,200 4 Year Tuition: $20,512 Enrollment: 32,426 State: NC

UNC was the nation’s first public university, opening its doors in 1795. Located in the college town of Chapel Hill, UNC is nationally-ranked for its research and offers its 29,000 students a wide range of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs. Campus recreation helps to round out students’ education with art galleries, an outdoor education center, intramural sports, and more.

37
University of Rhode Island
30 Year Net ROI: $268,600 4 Year Tuition: $39,296 Enrollment: 19,185 State: RI

The University of Rhode Island (URI) is the largest university in the nation’s smallest state. That means offers the cutting-edge research, discovery, and experiences typically found at much larger institutions, alongside the friendly, student-centered atmosphere of smaller institutions. In 2009 and 2011, The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine ranked URI top in New England for “best return on investment.” In 2013, the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges name URI onto fate national’s most eco-friendly campuses for the fourth consecutive year. And in 2008, URI was listed in The Princeton Review’s Colleges with a Conscience: 81 Great Schools with Outstanding Community Involvement.” With more than 100 degrees, interdisciplinary programs, and leading problem solvers, URI inspires its students to provide a constant flow of big ideas to respond to the world’s changing needs.

38
University of Maryland-Baltimore County
30 Year Net ROI: $266,600 4 Year Tuition: $27,516 Enrollment: 14,756 State: MD

UMBC is a public honors university with about 10,000 students choosing from 42 undergraduate majors, 37 master’s programs, and 24 doctoral programs. Located 15 minutes from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and 30 minutes from Washington, D.C., UMBC offers a long list of clubs and activities to help round out students’ education.

39
California State University-Fullerton
30 Year Net ROI: $265,000 4 Year Tuition: $21,888 Enrollment: 39,521 State: CA

With an aim to become a model comprehensive university, Cal State Fullerton offers students educational experiences both in and outside of the classroom. Located in Orange County, the university has partnerships with public and private organizations to provide its 37,000 students the best degree programs possible. Services are available for freshmen as well as students needing additional assistance to make the most of their college experience.

40
Ohio State University-Main Campus
30 Year Net ROI: $263,500 4 Year Tuition: $35,424 Enrollment: 64,425 State: OH

Established in 1870, The Ohio State University has been ranked among the top public universities in the U.S. With 175 undergraduate majors and a total enrollment of nearly 65,000, OSU offers a wide range of learning and extracurricular activities to its students. The university’s athletic program is the largest self-supporting athletics program in the country.

41
University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
30 Year Net ROI: $261,200 4 Year Tuition: $15,396 Enrollment: 30,642 State: OK

At OU, undergraduate students have the unique opportunity to work alongside professors and industry leaders to conduct research projects. Small class sizes add to students’ educational experience, in addition to the more than 450 clubs and organizations available. Located in small-town Norman, the university population still enjoys all the benefits of a big city with a 20-minute drive to Oklahoma City.

42
University of Alabama at Huntsville
30 Year Net ROI: $249,100 4 Year Tuition: $32,376 Enrollment: 8,976 State: AL

UAHuntsville serves about 7,700 students, offering 71 degree programs ranging from bachelor’s degrees to Ph.D. programs. With a student/faculty ratio of 16:1, students enjoy a close relationship with their professors. The university also offers professional and continuing education courses for working professionals looking to improve their marketability in the workforce.

43
San Diego State University
30 Year Net ROI: $248,900 4 Year Tuition: $21,888 Enrollment: 34,999 State: CA

San Diego State University, the region’s largest university, is a major public research institution offering bachelor’s degrees in 89 areas, master’s degrees in 78 areas and doctorates in 21 areas. With nearly $130 million in annual research funding, a commitment to excellence in diversity and a nationally recognized veterans’ program, the university provides opportunities for transformative educational experiences including undergraduate research, internships and study abroad. Within minutes of downtown San Diego and the Pacific Ocean, SDSU enjoys a scenic location.

44
University of Mary Washington
30 Year Net ROI: $246,600 4 Year Tuition: $17,848 Enrollment: 6,049 State: VA

The University of Mary Washington is a premier, selective public liberal arts and sciences university in Virginia, highly respected for its commitment to academic excellence, strong undergraduate liberal arts and sciences program, and dedication to life-long learning. The university, with a total enrollment of more than 5,000, features colleges of business, education and arts and sciences, and three campuses, including a residential campus in Fredericksburg, Va., a second one in nearby Stafford and a third in Dahlgren, Va., which serves as a center of development of educational and research partnerships between the Navy, higher education institutions and the region’s employers.

45
University of Georgia
30 Year Net ROI: $246,100 4 Year Tuition: $26,704 Enrollment: 38,822 State: GA

Located 60 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, UGA was founded in 1785. It serves about 35,000 students, including those attending extended campuses. More than 600 student organizations are available to students and athletes compete in the NCAA Division I program.

46
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
30 Year Net ROI: $245,200 4 Year Tuition: $18,232 Enrollment: 32,013 State: LA

LSU is home to numerous nationally-ranked programs. With degree programs in agriculture, veterinary medicine, mass communication, education, engineering, business, and more, students are certain to find a program of interest. Students can enjoy the many museums, music venues, theatres, student organizations, and recreational activities in and around the university.

47
Oregon Institute of Technology
30 Year Net ROI: $244,700 4 Year Tuition: $25,508 Enrollment: 4,987 State: OR

Oregon Tech, the only public institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest, provides a rigorous, practical education while using cutting-edge application for real-world solutions. To foster student and graduate success, the university provides an intimate, hands-on learning environment, focusing on application of theory to practice. Oregon Tech offers degree programs in engineering, health technologies, management, and the arts and sciences. When you graduate, you won’t just find a job, you’ll launch your career.

48
University of Iowa
30 Year Net ROI: $238,600 4 Year Tuition: $25,744 Enrollment: 33,952 State: IA

A major national research university, Iowa educates more than 30,000 students. A Big Ten athletic school, more than a million visitors flock to the university each year to attend athletic events, participate in conferences and educational programs, or to enjoy cultural and art exhibitions. Students choose from more than 100 areas of study including seven professional degrees.

49
University at Buffalo
30 Year Net ROI: $225,100 4 Year Tuition: $21,080 Enrollment: 32,412 State: NY

UB was founded in 1846 and is a flagship institution in the State University of New York system. The student body consists of nearly 30,000 students studying more than 100 undergraduate degrees, 205 master’s degrees, 84 doctoral degrees, and 10 professional degrees. At this research-intensive public university, students may also choose from a wide range of extracurricular activities.

50
Ramapo College of New Jersey
30 Year Net ROI: $224,300 4 Year Tuition: $32,748 Enrollment: 7,016 State: NJ

Consistently ranked a good value, Ramapo College of New Jersey offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include nursing and social work. In addition, Ramapo College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels and six graduate programs. Undergraduates choose to concentrate their studies in one of five schools with more than 700 course offerings and 40 academic programs. Ramapo College boasts an average student/faculty ratio of 18:1 and average class size of 23, affording students the opportunity to develop close ties to the College’s exceptional faculty.

SEE MORE +

Attending a public college is a great way to get a world-class education at a lower cost than through a private school, and larger schools mean more opportunity for academic exploration. The schools below educate thousands of students by offering robust programs ranging from physics to business administration and fine art, and are found all across the United States. See which large public colleges make the grade in 2015.

1
Arizona State University
Tuition and fees: $9,208 Enrollment: 97,865 Website: www.asu.edu/

Arizona State University is a school located in Tempe, Arizona. The school has a variety of high quality accredited academic programs. The school features a number of campuses focusing on different specialties throughout the Tempe and Phoenix area. The school offers classes in a variety of different areas including anthropology, physics, philosophy and sociology.

2
Auburn University
Tuition and fees: $7,296 Enrollment: 32,491 Website: www.auburn.edu

Enrollment at Auburn University is more than 25,000, and students who are at the school are able to choose from more than 140 different degree options. They have programs for undergraduates, graduates, and even professional degrees at the school. Students will find majors in agriculture, education, business, nursing, liberal arts, and more at this university in Auburn, Alabama.

3
Ball State University
Tuition and fees: $7,912 Enrollment: 27,302 Website: www.bsu.edu

In Muncie, Indiana, Ball State University is offering 180 undergraduate majors, as well as 100 master’s degree programs and doctoral degree programs. The school is able to offer education in a variety of different areas including nursing, education, and telecommunications. Campus life is fun and full of activities for those who attend the school.

4
Boise State University
Tuition and fees: $3,724 Enrollment: 33,475 Website: www.boisestate.edu

Boise State University is a public university located in the heart of metropolitan Boise, Idaho. The school has an enrollment of more than 22,000 students, which help to make Boise State a culturally diverse campus. Students will be able to choose from a number of different majors and areas of study at the school including everything from accounting to visual arts

5
California State University-Fullerton
Tuition and fees: $5,472 Enrollment: 47,546 Website: www.fullerton.edu

Cal State Fullerton is one of the top teaching and research universities in the nation today, and they are able to offer affordable programs for undergraduates and graduates. Located in the city of Fullerton in Orange County, this California State University offers a great campus, plenty of activities for students, and many different areas of study.

6
California State University-Long Beach
Tuition and fees: $5,472 Enrollment: 44,155 Website: www.csulb.edu

Driven by research, great professors and staff, and a body of students ready to learn, California State University at Long Beach remains one of the best schools in the West. Great weather, a great location, and many academic programs help to make the university a top choice. Some of the popular programs include business, engineering, and education.

7
Central Michigan University
Tuition and fees: $9,716 Enrollment: 34,211 Website: go.cmich.edu

Central Michigan University, founded in 1892, is in the town of Mount Pleasant. While the school was originally for teachers and business education, it has grown to become the fourth largest Michigan institution and one of the 100 largest universities in the country. The school offers programs in business admin, fine arts, medicine, graduate studies, and more.

8
Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Tuition and fees: $6,307 Enrollment: 38,010 Website: www.colostate.edu

Colorado State University in Fort Collins has a beautiful campus and a great community. The school offers many activities on-site and in the area that students can enjoy, and they will have a rich academics program as well. The school offers more than 250 different programs for undergraduates and graduate students.

9
CUNY Hunter College
Tuition and fees: $5,130 Enrollment: 27,372 Website: www.hunter.cuny.edu

Students who want to live and go to school in one of the largest and busiest cities in the world may want to attend Hunter College, located right in the heart of Manhattan. Founded in 1870, CUNY Hunter College features a range of academic programs that cover everything from nursing to women’s studies.

10
CUNY Queens College
Tuition and fees: $5,130 Enrollment: 28,704 Website: www.qc.cuny.edu

CUNY Queens College is located in Queens, New York, and it offers plenty for students to love. The school, founded back in 1937, is a part of the City University of New York system and offers research opportunities as well as great educational opportunities. Some of the academic choices at the campus include general education, social sciences, and math and natural sciences.

11
East Carolina University
Tuition and fees: $3,348 Enrollment: 33,569 Website: www.ecu.edu

Greenville, North Carolina is the home of East Carolina University, a school that has a wonderful athletics program as well as strong academic programs. Students will find many areas of study from which they can choose including business, health sciences, and art. They have programs for bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees.

12
Eastern Michigan University
Tuition and fees: $7,409 Enrollment: 31,326 Website: www.emich.edu

Eastern Michigan University serves more than 23,000 students in their undergrad, graduate, specialist, doctoral, and certificate programs. They have study areas that cover arts, science, business, and much more. The school, located in Ypsilanti, features a wonderfully diverse student body, as well as many campus activities and organizations for the students.

13
Florida International University
Tuition and fees: $3,580 Enrollment: 70,698 Website: www.fiu.edu

Florida International University, located in sunny, beautiful, and vibrant Miami is the only public research university in the city that can offer bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees. Some of the courses of study from which students will be able to choose include business, architecture, health sciences, arts, journalism and law.

14
Florida State University
Tuition and fees: $3,100 Enrollment: 52,841 Website: www.fsu.edu

Students who are seeking a great campus and who want to have the perfect undergraduate experience in a state with wonderful weather would do well to consider Florida State University. The school, located in Tallahassee, features a many great programs for medicine, arts and sciences, communications, criminology, education, and many other fields.

15
George Mason University
Tuition and fees: $9,620 Enrollment: 47,563 Website: www.gmu.edu

Fairfax, Virginia is home to a very popular university that has programs and training for graduates and undergrads in a variety of different fields. Students will be able to take courses for accounting, anthropology, criminology, economics, history, and much more. George Mason University has a great location in VA, and is only a short distance from Washington, D.C.

16
Georgia State University
Tuition and fees: $5,826 Enrollment: 40,026 Website: www.gsu.edu

Georgia State University is one of the top 100 public universities for doctoral degrees, and is a leader in research. The school has more than 250 different degree programs and 100 fields of study. The school, in Atlanta, GA, was founded in 1913. The school currently has nearly 32,000 students enrolled.

17
Grand Valley State University
Tuition and fees: $9,716 Enrollment: 33,516 Website: www.gvsu.edu

Grand Valley State, University is a school located in Allendale, MI. The school has many different avenues of study for students. Some of the most popular options for those students include archeology, accounting, criminal justice, education, engineering and finance. In all, they have more than 200 areas of study at the school.

18
Indiana University-Bloomington
Tuition and fees: $8,433 Enrollment: 51,833 Website: www.iub.edu

Indiana University, in Bloomington IN, has been around since 1820, and has a long and storied history. They are one of the top schools in the country and have a beautiful campus on nearly 2,000 acres. They offer educational programs for journalism, library and information science, technology, nursing, music, business, and more.

19
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
Tuition and fees: $7,437 Enrollment: 39,420 Website: www.iupui.edu

Indianapolis, Indiana is the home of Indiana University-Purdue University-Indiana. Named one of the best colleges in the Midwest, the school features more than 200 different programs from which students will be able to choose. The location, right in the heart of the downtown area, is convenient for students and faculty.

20
Iowa State University
Tuition and fees: $6,408 Enrollment: 41,432 Website: www.iastate.edu

In the heart of Ames, Iowa sites Iowa State University. The school started as an agricultural college in 1858, but now includes a diverse range of academic programs from which students can choose. The university offers 100 bachelor’s degree programs, 112 master’s degree programs, and 83 doctoral degrees. They also offer a professional degree in veterinary medicine.

21
Kansas State University
Tuition and fees: $6,936 Enrollment: 32,755 Website: www.k-state.edu

K-State, founded in 1863, was one of the first land grant colleges in the United States. The school is one of the top research universities in the country, and it is working to become even more prominent. Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS features undergraduate study programs, as well as graduate study programs. They have more than 24,000 students from all around the world.

22
Kennesaw State University
Tuition and fees: $3,494 Enrollment: 37,768 Website: www.kennesaw.edu

The students who attend Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA will find that they have a great campus with student activities and on-site services, as well as a great number of choices when it comes to their academics. The school is able to offer graduate and undergraduate courses of study in many different areas including the arts, business, and science.

23
Kent State University at Kent
Tuition and fees: $9,346 Enrollment: 36,421 Website: www.kent.edu

Since 1910, Kent State University in Kent, Ohio has been providing high quality education for students. The school features a large and diverse student body as well as a number of academic programs, which will help the students to pursue their dreams. Popular programs include the arts, digital science, and architecture.

24
Louisiana State University & Agricultural Mechanical College
Tuition and fees: $4,558 Enrollment: 38,242 Website: www.lsu.edu

LSU, or Louisiana State University, is one of the most popular schools in the country with some of the best academic programs available. Students will be able to take courses in art and design, engineering, science, humanities, and more. The LSU campus is located in the city of Baton Rouge.

25
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Tuition and fees: $3,809 Enrollment: 42,949 Website: www.msudenver.edu/

Metropolitan State University in Denver offers many different types of bachelor and master’s degree programs. The campus is in the downtown area and it very convenient for students and faculty. Founded in 1965, the university now enrolls close to 23,000 students. The campus has real cultural diversity and it offers many areas of study including 55 majors, 90 minors, and 40 certificate programs.

26
Michigan State University
Tuition and fees: $12,769 Enrollment: 59,693 Website: www.msu.edu

Michigan State University has been operating for more than 150 years, providing students with many different types of opportunities in various fields of study. Some of the options for study include agriculture, accounting, anthropology, forensic science and nursing. The beautiful and historic campus of MSU is located in East Lansing, MI.

27
Middle Tennessee State University
Tuition and fees: $5,256 Enrollment: 39,827 Website: www.mtsu.edu

Founded back in 1911, Middle Tennessee State University started as one of three state normal schools for training teachers. Today, the school has a great campus in Murfreesboro, TN and offers academic programs in a number of different fields including liberal arts, communication, business, education, and much more. They offer bachelor’s degrees, as well as master’s degrees, and doctorates.

28
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Tuition and fees: $5,153 Enrollment: 45,255 Website: www.ncsu.edu

North Carolina State University at Raleigh has more than 34,000 students today, and they are pursuing a wide range of academic programs including social sciences, design, veterinary medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and more. The Raleigh campus offers plenty of recreational and cultural activities for the students to engage with as well.

29
Northern Arizona University
Tuition and fees: $6,514 Enrollment: 32,547 Website: nau.edu/

In Flagstaff, Arizona, Northern Arizona University remains one of the strongest schools in the state. They offer undergraduate, graduate, and master’s degree programs, and it is possible to find courses of study for business, management, education, the social sciences, and more. The school also offers doctoral programs, not to mention a recreation center and plenty of campus activities.

30
Northern Illinois University
Tuition and fees: $7,605 Enrollment: 28,247 Website: www.niu.edu

Chartered in 1895, the university educated its first students in 1899. At that time, it was the Northern Illinois University was actually a State Normal School for teachers. Now, the university offers programs for undergraduates, graduates, and doctoral candidates in a number of areas. Some popular majors include kinesiology, journalism, and communications

31
Ohio State University-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $10,037 Enrollment: 73,945 Website: www.osu.edu

The main campus for The Ohio State University is found in Columbus, and the school offers a wide variety of different classes and courses of study. Some of the popular options include health, chemistry, and linguistics, arts & sciences, and engineering. Students will have many options when they go to school at Ohio State.

32
Ohio University-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $9,936 Enrollment: 37,080 Website: www.ohio.edu

Ohio University’s main campus is in Athens, OH, and features a number of organizations and programs for student enrichment. The diverse campus is also the home to many different academic programs including business, fine arts, education, communication, and more. The school offers studies for undergraduates as well as for graduates.

33
Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $4,303 Enrollment: 32,164 Website: www.okstate.edu/

Situated in Stillwater, OK, Oklahoma State University features a great campus with plenty of activities and organizations for students to enjoy. The school has great educational opportunities as well. Some of the prominent fields for study include arts and sciences, engineering, human sciences, and agricultural sciences. They have graduate study programs as well.

34
Old Dominion University
Tuition and fees: $4,027 Enrollment: 32,164 Website: www.odu.edu

Norfolk, VA is home to Old Dominion University, one of the most popular schools in the state. ODU was founded in 1930 as a division of William and Mary, but became an independent university in 1962. The school has a number of courses for undergraduate study and it is one of the top 100 universities for graduate schools in education.

35
Oregon State University
Tuition and fees: $6,228 Enrollment: 36,752 Website: oregonstate.edu

OSU, or Oregon State University, is one of the top research universities in the northwest, and it only about 90 miles south of Portland. The school is on a 400-acre main campus in the city of Corvallis, and it offers a number of fields of study for those who attend. Some popular options include agricultural science, engineering, forestry, and liberal arts

36
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $15,124 Enrollment: 64,204 Website: www.psu.edu/

Pennsylvania State University’s main campus is in University Park, PA and offers a robust athletics and education program on a great campus. Founded all the way back in 1855, the university offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in a variety of different fields including arts and architecture, nursing, engineering and education.

37
Portland State University
Tuition and fees: $6,156 Enrollment: 44,117 Website: www.pdx.edu

The 50-acre campus of Portland State University is in downtown Portland, OR. The school has a beautiful campus and a great location, both of which help to foster learning. PSU offers more than 220 undergraduate, master’s programs and doctoral degree choices for students to pursue. It is the largest and most diverse university in Oregon.

38
Purdue University-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $8,893 Enrollment: 53,683 Website: www.purdue.edu

The main campus of Purdue University is in West Lafayette, Indiana, and it has been in existence since 1869. The school offer nearly 200 different majors, and it is possible to pursue careers in engineering, healthcare, business, law, visual arts and design, writing and communication, and more. The Big Ten university has more than 30,000 undergraduate students.

39
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Tuition and fees: $10,104 Enrollment: 53,070 Website: www.rutgers.edu/

As one of the oldest schools in the nation, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ still provides students with the best in education. The school features more than 100 undergraduate programs of study, and they provide a great emphasis on science and the arts. The school also features a number of graduate programs.

40
San Diego State University
Tuition and fees: $5,472 Enrollment: 39,221 Website: www.sdsu.edu

Situated just outside one of the most vibrant cities in the country, San Diego State University features a wide range of different programs on a beautiful campus. The school has programs for undergrads and graduates who are pursuing many different areas of study. Some of the popular programs include aerospace engineering, physics, television, film and new media, and sociology.

41
San Francisco State University
Tuition and fees: $5,472 Enrollment: 39,915 Website: www.sfsu.edu

San Francisco State University began in 1899 as a two-year teacher training college, but today, they offer a wide range of different degrees and areas of study including fine arts, music, science, and public health. The campus offers a great location so students will be able to enjoy all of the arts and culture the city has to offer.

42
San Jose State University
Tuition and fees: $5,472 Enrollment: 39,313 Website: www.sjsu.edu

Situated on 154 acres in the downtown area of San Jose, the San Jose State University has a wonderful campus and a convenient location. The university offers more than 134 different bachelor’s degrees, as well as 110 master’s degrees. Popular programs include the behavioral sciences program, computer engineering, and creative arts.

43
Stony Brook University
Tuition and fees: $5,270 Enrollment: 28,624 Website: www.stonybrook.edu

Stony Brook University is recognized for its innovative programs, groundbreaking discoveries and integration of research with undergraduate education. Sitting on 1,039 acres on the beautiful North Shore of Long Island, 60 miles east of Manhattan, the school is home to more than 24,000 culturally diverse students.

44
Temple University
Tuition and fees: $13,006 Enrollment: 45,743 Website: WWW.TEMPLE.EDU

Temple University features more than 100 undergraduate programs amongst their nine different campuses. They also feature graduate and professional degrees. Temple University has a great main campus that embraces art and culture, and students will always have plenty of activities from which to choose. The campus is located in Philadelphia, PA

45
Texas A&M University-College Station
Tuition and fees: $5,297 Enrollment: 64,165 Website: www.tamu.edu

Located in College Station, Texas, the famed Texas A&M University is able to offer students a number of benefits. The school is the sixth largest in the country and is home to more than 50,000 students. Some of the popular programs at the university include architecture, liberal arts, business, and science. They have great graduate programs as well

46
Texas State University-San Marcos
Tuition and fees: $5,226 Enrollment: 46,146 Website: www.txstate.edu

When it comes to athletics and academics, it is hard to surpass Texas State University in San Marcos. The school offers a great campus and plenty of opportunities for recreation and study. The university features some wonderful academic programs including agriculture, criminal justice, economics, health and wellness, psychology, and much more.

47
Texas Tech University
Tuition and fees: $4,699 Enrollment: 44,155 Website: www.ttu.edu

More than 30,000 students are enrolled at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. The school has a wonderful faculty as well as some of the best academic programs, including more than 150 undergraduate programs. Some of the areas of study at the school include education, business communication, humanities and cultures, and natural resources.

48
The University of Alabama
Tuition and fees: $8,600 Enrollment: 42,205 Website: www.ua.edu/

Home of the Crimson Tide, the University of Alabama has more to offer than just athletics. The school has been a fixture in the state since its founding in 1831 as the first public collect in the state. Located in Tuscaloosa, the school offers a number of different majors from art and biology to marketing and religious studies.

49
The University of Tennessee
Tuition and fees: $7,224 Enrollment: 34,806 Website: www.tennessee.edu

The University of Tennessee features a main campus in Knoxville, but it has others in Chattanooga and Martin, as well as the Health Science Center. UT is one of the top public universities in the country, and it is the largest research institution in the state. The school has eleven colleges and provides more than 300 programs for graduate, undergrad, and professional degrees.

50
The University of Texas at Arlington
Tuition and fees: $8,878 Enrollment: 49,085 Website: WWW.UTA.EDU

With enrollment at more than 33,000, the University of Texas at Arlington remains one of the most popular public universities in the state of Texas. The school has a reputation as being one of the premier research universities in the country. They have programs for undergrads and graduates in engineering, business, art, and much more.

51
The University of Texas at Austin
Tuition and fees: $9,794 Enrollment: 61,913 Website: www.utexas.edu

With a total weighted rank score that puts them at #8 on our list, The University of Texas at Austin is one of the top educational facilities in Texas. The school has a long and storied history, founded all the way back in 1883. Those who are going to the school will be able to achieve a variety of different graduate and undergraduate degrees, as well as law degrees

52
The University of Texas at San Antonio
Tuition and fees: $4,626 Enrollment: 44,756 Website: www.utsa.edu/

UTSA, or the University of Texas – San Antonio, features a great campus near the heart of the city. It sites on 725 beautiful acres. The school has more than 30,000 students in a variety of different programs. Some of the popular academic areas for students include architecture, business, engineering, and science.

53
University at Buffalo
Tuition and fees: $5,270 Enrollment: 33,204 Website: www.buffalo.edu

Students will find more than 400 different degree programs at the University of Buffalo in New York. The can study in many different areas including geological sciences, history, civil engineering, music, nursing, and much more. The campus offers student organizations and activities and allows students to express and appreciate their diversity.

54
University of Akron Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $8,004 Enrollment: 40,180 Website: www.uakron.edu

Students are going to be able to choose from more than 300 different degree programs at the University of Akron. The school’s main campus in Akron, OH provides students with a safe place to learn and more than 200 student organizations to explore. Choose from many fields including accounting, biology, and business management.

55
University of Arizona
Tuition and fees: $8,364 Enrollment: 49,046 Website: www.arizona.edu

Students who choose to go to the University of Arizona will be able to choose from some of the best academic programs in the country. They have more than 300 undergrad programs from which they can choose. The campus is in Tucson, and offers plenty of options for rest, recreation, and study.

56
University of California-Berkeley
Tuition and fees: $11,220 Enrollment: 42,398 Website: www.berkeley.edu

The University of California at Berkeley has a wonderful reputation and as many of the top doctoral programs in the country. They have a variety of areas of study for undergraduates and graduates, and have a beautiful campus located in the town of Berkeley. Students who attend will be able to partake in all of the school’s extracurricular offerings as well.

57
University of California-Davis
Tuition and fees: $11,220 Enrollment: 39,459 Website: www.ucdavis.edu

Ranked number 8 amongst the top public research universities in the country, University of California – Davis is one of the best schools in the state of CA. The public university has a great reputation and is able to provide a number of academic programs for their students. Some of the most popular majors at the school include chemistry, applied physics, and design

58
University of California-Irvine
Tuition and fees: $11,220 Enrollment: 34,724 Website: www.uci.edu/

Since 1965, the University of California at Irvine has been providing wonderful educations and ample research opportunities in Southern California. Today, the school has more than 28,000 undergrad and grad students who are receiving an education in many different academic areas. The school has a reputation as being one of the best in the nation

59
University of California-Los Angeles
Tuition and fees: $11,220 Enrollment: 42,726 Website: www.ucla.edu/

UCLA has a reputation as being one of the best schools in the country, and with good reason. The University of California – Los Angeles has been around for nearly 100 years and in that time, has produced 12 Nobel Prize winners amongst their alumni. The school features more than 5,000 courses and 125 different majors.

60
University of California-San Diego
Tuition and fees: $11,220 Enrollment: 37,159 Website: www.ucsd.edu

Located in the gorgeous setting of La Jolla, just a short distance from San Diego, is the University of California – San Diego. The school has more than just a great location. They have a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs including bioengineering, literature, music, nano-engineering, psychology, and the visual arts.

61
University of Central Florida
Tuition and fees: $3,848 Enrollment: 84,564 Website: www.ucf.edu/

Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida has plenty to offer those who attend as a full-time or part time student. Some of the popular programs available at the school include hospitality management and business. The main Orlando campus has 1,415 acres featuring lakes, woods, and even an arboretum.

62
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $8,805 Enrollment: 38,616 Website: www.uc.edu

A public research university, the University of Cincinnati, based in Cincinnati, Ohio features an enrollment of more than 42,000 students. The school has a great location, and a robust academic system that features a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and university honors programs. Some of the popular areas of study include art, design, medicine, and education.

63
University of Colorado Boulder
Tuition and fees: $7,672 Enrollment: 45,751 Website: www.colorado.edu

The University of Colorado in Boulder has the distinction of being one of only 34 public universities in the United States that is a member of the AAU – the Association of American Universities. The school opened in 1877, and in that time, produced four Nobel laureates. The school offers programs in social sciences, natural sciences, business, and more.

64
University of Connecticut
Tuition and fees: $8,256 Enrollment: 28,816 Website: www.uconn.edu

The University of Connecticut, located in the town of Storrs, features a diverse campus culture with students coming from many different places. The university has a great reputation when it comes to the strength of their academics program. Students will be able to choose from many areas of study including law, medicine, business, and engineering. They have graduate and undergrad programs.

65
University of Florida
Tuition and fees: $4,060 Enrollment: 52,196 Website: www.ufl.edu/

The University of Florida is the oldest university in the state, and it happens to have courses in a number of different areas of study. It is possible for students to study journalism, fine arts, education, nursing, and more when they choose this school. The University of Florida is in Gainesville.

66
University of Georgia
Tuition and fees: $6,676 Enrollment: 41,390 Website: www.uga.edu

Georgia was the first state to charger a state university, and that school was the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. Those who attend the school will become a part of the university’s long and rich history. Some of the popular programs at the university include journalism, law, education, arts and sciences, and veterinary medicine.

67
University of Houston
Tuition and fees: $5,173 Enrollment: 54,951 Website: www.uh.edu

Located in Houston, TX, the University of Houston has been around for more than 90 years and is one of the top research universities in the state. More than 40,000 students receive education at the school each year, and they have more than 300 different academic programs from which they can choose.

68
University of Illinois at Chicago
Tuition and fees: $9,879 Enrollment: 27,678 Website: www.uic.edu/index.html/

One of the top research universities in the country is right in the heart of Chicago. The University of Illinois – Chicago has 27,580 students. The university offers 82 bachelor’s degree programs, 93 master’s degree programs, and 67 doctoral programs. Popular areas of study include kinesiology, science, criminology, art and architecture.

69
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tuition and fees: $11,847 Enrollment: 51,880 Website: www.illinois.edu/

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign features some rather prominent alumni, including Nobel and Pulitzer winners, astronauts, and corporate leaders. The school has a wonderful campus, and features a variety of educational programs in health sciences, engineering, education, business, law and more. They are one of the leading public universities in the country.

70
University of Iowa
Tuition and fees: $6,436 Enrollment: 34,333 Website: www.uiowa.edu

The University of Iowa, located in Iowa City, provide students with a large number of different areas of study for graduate and undergraduate degrees. They have programs for applied physics, art history, mechanical engineering, podiatry, and much more. The University has a diverse makeup of students, and a great campus.

71
University of Kansas
Tuition and fees: $7,611 Enrollment: 32,698 Website: www.ku.edu/

Located in Lawrence, Kansas, the University of Kansas has been training students since 1854. They are the top ranked school in the country for special education, as well as for city management. Students who go to the school can find education in law, business, nursing, and more. They have more than 190 undergrad programs and nearly 50 graduate programs

72
University of Kentucky
Tuition and fees: $8,122 Enrollment: 32,897 Website: www.uky.edu

The University of Kentucky is a public university that strives to provide excellent educational opportunities and research. The university, located in the city of Lexington, has a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. Areas of education that prove popular at the university include communications, design, education, law, medicine, and social work.

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University of Maryland-College Park
Tuition and fees: $6,966 Enrollment: 47,644 Website: www.umd.edu

At the University of Maryland, students are going to be able to engage in a wide range of different programs and courses for study. The school has some of the best programs for architecture, bioengineering, computer science, finance, philosophy and more. The campus is in College Park, MD, and offers a great location for students.

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University of Massachusetts Amherst
Tuition and fees: $1,714 Enrollment: 37,163 Website: www.umass.edu

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is on nearly 1,450 acres of land in the Pioneer Valley. The campus is just 90 miles from Boston and 175 miles from NYC. The school has more than 28,000 students, and features 108 bachelor’s degree programs, 76 master’s degree programs, and 50 doctoral programs.

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University of Memphis
Tuition and fees: $6,144 Enrollment: 28,608 Website: www.memphis.edu

The campus for the University of Memphis, founded in 1912 as the West Tennessee Normal School, is on 1,607 acres and includes 237 buildings across eight different sites. The school has more than 22,000 students receiving an education in a variety of different areas. Some of the academic programs including anthropology, art, design, and psychology.

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University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Tuition and fees: $12,440 Enrollment: 42,690 Website: www.umich.edu

Located in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan offers a beautiful campus and a wonderful academics program. Started in 1817 in Detroit, the school moved to Ann Arbor in 1837, when Michigan became a state. The school has many areas of study, including business, music, theatre, education, architecture and nursing.

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University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Tuition and fees: $11,650 Enrollment: 64,062 Website: www1.umn.edu/twincities/index.php

The campus is right near the center of the Twin Cities, and it offers students plenty. Those who choose to study at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities will find that it is one of the largest schools in the country and they are able to offer degrees and doctorates in many different fields of study including business to engineering.

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University of Missouri-Columbia
Tuition and fees: $7,848 Enrollment: 41,170 Website: www.missouri.edu/

In Columbia, Missouri, the University of Missouri, or “Mizzou” stands as one of the best schools for academics and athletics. Founded in 1839, the school has a great reputation when it comes to teaching as well as research. Some of the programs at the school include business admin, information technology, mathematics, and journalism.

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Tuition and fees: $6,248 Enrollment: 31,755 Website: www.unl.edu/

In Lincoln, NE, you will find the University of Nebraska, a school that has been educating students for 143 years. Founded in 1869, the school has a number of difference programs, and it is one of the top research universities in the country. The school offers majors in history, nutritional science, culinary science, sociology, and more.

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University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Tuition and fees: $5,812 Enrollment: 37,308 Website: go.unlv.edu/

UNLV, or the University of Nevada – Los Vegas, is a popular school that has been holding class since 1957. Today, they have more than 28,000 students, and they offer a wide range of academic programs. Some of the areas of study available include art history, electrical engineering, finance, management, marketing, and nursing.

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University of New Mexico-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $4,651 Enrollment: 35,122 Website: www.unm.edu

In 1889, the University of New Mexico was founded. The school now sits on close to 800 acres near old Route 66, and it right near the center of bustling Albuquerque. The campus has an architectural design reminiscent of pueblo designs, giving it a unique look. The school offers programs in medicine, engineering, and much more.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tuition and fees: $5,128 Enrollment: 27,908 Website: www.unc.edu

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill opened to students in 1795, making it one of the older universities in the United States. The school is in the beautiful town of Chapel Hill, and features a wonderful campus with great academic programs. Some of the areas of study that are quite popular include education, law, medicine, and social work.

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University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Tuition and fees: $3,242 Enrollment: 34,676 Website: www.uncc.edu

Students who choose to enroll at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte will find hundreds of different academic programs and study options from which to choose. The school has more than 25,000 students and a great location the largest city in the state. The campus is gorgeous, and students will find a number of organizations they can join to make their college experience even more memorable.

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University of North Texas
Tuition and fees: $5,884 Enrollment: 50,144 Website: www.unt.edu

One of the largest universities in the country, and one of the top schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the University of North Texas truly does have a lot to offer their 36,000 students. The school, located in Denton, features 97 bachelor’s, 82 master’s, and 35 doctoral degree programs in business, visual arts, music, and much more.

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University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Tuition and fees: $8,705 Enrollment: 34,535 Website: www.ou.edu

In the town of Norman, Oklahoma, the University of Oklahoma features a great campus and a wonderful art collection at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum or Art and the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. The school offers many different areas of academic study such as engineering, medicine, and arts and sciences.

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University of Oregon
Tuition and fees: $7,551 Enrollment: 34,692 Website: www.uoregon.edu

The University of Oregon began in 1876, and it has gone on to become one of the most important universities in the west. The school is in Eugene, OR on a 295-acre campus. The students and the faculty come from many different backgrounds, and this helps to perpetuate diversity at the school. The school has more than 300 academic programs, as well as 25 research centers and institutes.

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University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
Tuition and fees: $15,272 Enrollment: 30,294 Website: www.pitt.edu

The campus for the University of Pittsburgh features 132 acres in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh. This school, founded in 1787, happens to be one of the oldest universities in the nation. Today, the school continues its tradition of providing quality education and offers many undergraduate programs, as well as graduate and professional programs.

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University of South Carolina-Columbia
Tuition and fees: $9,768 Enrollment: 36,184 Website: www.sc.edu/

At the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus, they offer more than 324 different degree programs. The school has a history that goes back more than 200 years and started with just a single building. Today, they are one of the largest universities in the state and have many different areas of study for prospective students and graduate students.

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University of South Florida-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $5,726 Enrollment: 53,313 Website: www.usf.edu

The University of South Florida is on the west coast of the state in gorgeous Tampa Bay. The public university happens to be one of the largest in the country and is in the top 50 universities in the country. They offer more than 230 degree programs for undergrads, graduates, and doctoral candidates.

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University of Utah
Tuition and fees: $5,850 Enrollment: 47,722 Website: www.utah.edu

In Salt Lake City at the University of Utah, students will be able to enjoy a beautiful, culturally rich and diverse campus with a great location. The university is one of the top schools in the world, and has a number of different programs and courses for students. They can take accounting, art, biomedical engineering, computer science, and much more.

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University of Virginia-Main Campus
Tuition and fees: $9,240 Enrollment: 27,004 Website: www.virginia.edu/

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville is still has the second spot for the best public university in the country according to U.S. News and World Report rankings. Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the school has been preparing students ever since. Students will find many different areas of study including education, medicine, and architecture.

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University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Tuition and fees: $9,746 Enrollment: 50,695 Website: www.washington.edu

The University of Washington has a history dating back to 1861, when it was founded. The multi-campus university has sites in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell, with Seattle being the home of the main campus. The school offers more than 1800 undergraduate courses. The university serves more students than any other in the northwest.

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University of Wisconsin-Madison
Tuition and fees: $8,592 Enrollment: 48,815 Website: www.wisc.edu

The University of Wisconsin in Madison is a quality public school that offers a wonderful and varied academic program for students. Those who attend the school will be able to find courses and programs for the arts, business, music, nursing, medicine, social work, and more. Students can find graduate and undergraduate programs available.

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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Tuition and fees: $7,669 Enrollment: 42,228 Website: www.uwm.edu

Students who are looking for a great school in Wisconsin will find that the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee has what they need when it comes to academics and a great campus. The school has more than 180 different programs for undergrad, graduate, and doctoral students who are looking for a great education.

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Utah State University
Tuition and fees: $4,412 Enrollment: 46,411 Website: www.usu.edu

Utah State University has more than 200 student clubs and organizations, a great athletics department, and the state’s oldest residential campus. The school also offers wonderful programs for academics including criminal justice, operations management, parks and recreation, and much more. The school’s campus is found in Logan, UT, and is a great place for students to learn in a safe environment.

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Virginia Commonwealth University
Tuition and fees: $7,600 Enrollment: 38,613 Website: www.vcu.edu/

As one of the most prominent research universities in the country, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA offers students rich academic opportunities and a great campus life. The school offers more than 200 different specialty areas, and enrolls more than 31,000 students. They have programs for advertising, arts, science, creative writing and much more.

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Tuition and fees: $8,852 Enrollment: 39,227 Website: WWW.VT.EDU

Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA, features eight colleges and a graduate school, and students are able to choose from 65 different bachelor’s degree programs. They have 150 master and doctoral programs. The school has 31,000 enrolled full time students, and a campus that features more than 125 buildings on 2,600. It even has an airport.

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Washington State University
Tuition and fees: $9,374 Enrollment: 37,973 Website: wsu.edu/

Nearly 25,000 students go to Washington State University across all of their campuses. The Pullman campus has nearly 20,000 students alone. The university is able to offer 95 majors for undergrads, 66 master’s degree programs, 47 doctoral degree programs, and 2 professional degree programs. The professional degrees include pharmacy and veterinary science.

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West Virginia University
Tuition and fees: $5,674 Enrollment: 37,838 Website: www.wvu.edu/

In Morgantown, West Virginia stands the beautiful campus of West Virginia University. Students will find a number of different academic opportunities available through the school, which features 184 degree programs and 14 academic colleges. Students can study accounting, engineering, applied science, criminology, creative writing, and more. They offer graduate programs and an Honors College as well.

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Western Michigan University
Tuition and fees: $8,762 Enrollment: 33,046 Website: www.wmich.edu

Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has plenty to offer prospective students who are considering attending. The school has a great campus, as well as many different undergrad and graduate programs such as art, biomedical sciences, engineering, marketing, psychology, sociology, and theater. The school has more than 25,000 students currently.

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Most Affordable Small Private Colleges

Small colleges offer big rewards.

  • Size: 1,000 – 2,000 students
  • Private
  • Tuition: less than $15,000
  • Non-profit
  • 4 year school