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50 Most Affordable Colleges with High Acceptance Rates 2020

Choosing the right college is as important as choosing the right subject. Most students decide on the topic that they are going to pursue during their sophomore or junior years in high school. Once they start applying to various colleges, however, they slowly begin to understand the process, how competitive it is, and how hard it can be to get into a school of one’s choice. Along with preparing for the SAT or ACT, prospective college students also have to do their due diligence when it comes to choosing the right university or college. 

While a large number of students are inclined to apply to the top colleges in the country, getting admission may be hard since they are inundated with applications.  They have limited seats and don’t have room for more students. Keep in mind that tuition at these colleges can be quite high with limited aid or waivers. At a time when the nation’s massive college debt is a source of worry, finding affordable colleges is of paramount importance. 

Waiting for acceptance letters can be stressful since no one wants to receive that dreaded rejection letter. To minimize the chances of that happening, prospective college students should include a school’s selection process in their search. They should take their time to do more research and find colleges that offer quality and affordable education, and also have high acceptance rates. 

Some colleges and universities pride themselves on selectivity, especially the top rung colleges. Rejection letters can serve a big blow to an aspiring student’s morale. However, one should keep in mind that there is a large variety of universities out there strive to open their doors to all types of students and welcome most, if not all, of their applicants. They offer a great college experience with their beautiful campuses, life-changing internships, active athletics programs, clubs and sororities, and employment opportunities. 

We have ranked the schools here based on their high acceptance rates, ranging from 72.3% to 100%. Please note that the university acceptance rates do not reflect the complete admissions process. Each degree program has specific criteria to be fulfilled. Students should comb through the information provided on each website to ensure that they prepare their application documents per each list of requirements. 

The 50 schools on this list are also among the most affordable. We value affordability, and for that reason, we made sure that we chose schools that have both the “high acceptance rates’ and the “affordable tuition rates” that we are looking for. For this ranking, we have considered schools whose tuition ranges from $12,000 to $2,000. To ensure uniformity of data, we have considered the annual average undergrad tuition. 

We have further narrowed that down to net in-state tuition minus financial aid and fees.  Along with the overview of each institution, we have also included student retention rates. The latter gives an idea of how many students choose to return each year. 

For this ranking, we referred to the U.S News and World Report, Niche, and College Navigator. We went through the different lists and then compared the schools that closely matched our criteria. We have also verified the information with the details provided on each of the schools’ websites. 

#50 University of Akron

Akron, Ohio

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Annual Average Tuition: $11,636

Student Retention Rate: 71%

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The University of Akron is a public research university that is known for an innovative approach to higher education. The school offers diverse disciplines for close over 17,000 students through its associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and law degree programs. The curricula have been designed to create a highly trained workforce who are career-focused to help you get ahead in the job market. Students learn life-long skills through the various internships and co-ops, on-campus student employment, and service projects. They also have unique opportunities for academic research and education abroad. The University boasts of 92% placement for its graduates.

#49 University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, Louisiana

Acceptance Rate: 72%

Annual Average Tuition: $8,974

Student Retention Rate: 73%

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University of Louisiana at Monroe is a comprehensive, state-funded university that awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees to over 8,000 students. Founded in 1931, it offers awards scholarships to 57 percent of incoming students and is the only state-funded pharmacy program in Louisiana. ULM graduates of nursing, radiologic technology, speech-language pathology,  and dental hygiene enjoy 100 percent passage rates on licensure exams. Students can choose from 96 available majors and minors, spanning diverse subjects like atmospheric sciences and toxicology, risk management, and insurance along with standard programs. It also offers 30 online degree programs to students all over the world. 

#48 Southern Oregon University

Ashland, Oregon

Acceptance Rate: 78%

Annual Average Tuition: $10,479

Student Retention Rate: 70%

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Southern Oregon University is a public liberal arts school that provides career-focused, comprehensive educational experiences to over 6,200 students. Founded in 1926, it lays a strong emphasis on student success and intellectual growth. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1, faculty and staff can ensure student success at every level. A blend of theoretical and experiential learning makes the programs challenging, creative, and practical. Through internships, capstone projects, and research, students can connect what they learn with the community leading to quality and innovative learning experience. SOU covers a wide range of career fields through its 14 pre-professional programs, ten certificates, about 40 different minors, and 12 graduate degree programs.

#47 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Edinboro, Pennsylvania

Acceptance Rate: 83%

Annual Average Tuition: $10,574

Student Retention Rate: 71%

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Edinboro University is a four-year university that is distinguished by its dedication to student success, state-of-the-art facilities, careful attention, and advice given to students to help them achieve their goals and exceed expectations. Founded in 1857, it is one of Pennsylvania’s most distinguished centers of learning and research. Taught by an internationally recognized faculty, it boasts of small class sizes, personalized and high-quality education for each student. With more than 100 areas of academic study, it is known as the northwestern Pennsylvania region’s largest and most comprehensive institution of higher education. Committed to excellence in academics and every aspect of campus life, it provides the highest quality, most affordable undergraduate, graduate, and co-curricular education possible.

#46 University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Acceptance Rate: 80%

Annual Average Tuition: $8,132

Student Retention Rate: 76%

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The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is a relatively new public research university that was created in 2013 by the Texas Legislature. A member of the University of Texas System and with campuses throughout the Valley, it seeks to expand educational opportunities. This transformative initiative by the state offers students of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund and achieve higher education in health education, biomedical research, bilingual education, and emerging technologies. The school offers 120 programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels via its 13 colleges and schools, including its new School of Medicine. The internationally acclaimed faculty, modern technology, and visionary thinking help students achieve career success and make a difference.

#45 University of Washington Bothell

Tacoma, Washington

Acceptance Rate: 74%

Annual Average Tuition: $11,390

Student Retention Rate: 83%

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The University of Washington Bothell is a public university and a satellite campus of the University of Washington. Established in 1990, it shares a campus with Cascadia College. With 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, it serves nearly 6,000 students. Over the years, the university has built up a reputation for access to excellence and a leading-edge educational experience. The campus boasts of state-of-the-art technology along with award-winning architecture. UW Bothell is known for its excellent faculty, innovative teaching methods and interdisciplinary approaches, diversity, and Outstanding student support services. UW Bothell has a graduation rate of nearly 70 percent. The innovative curricula blend theory with hands-on preparation for real life and career.

#44 Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Acceptance Rate: 86%

Annual Average Tuition: $11,338

Student Retention Rate: 88%

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Arizona State University is a public metropolitan research university that ranks as one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the country. Founded in 1885, it has five campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona. It has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the country’s most innovative school. ASU students and faculty work closely with NASA to develop and lead innovations in space exploration. It boasts of many nationally ranked and internationally ranked programs, which produces the nation’s top-qualified 20,000 graduates. The school is known for its pioneering research, entrepreneurship experience, strategic partnerships, and strong economic impact.

#43 East Central University

Ada, Oklahoma

Acceptance Rate: 59%

Annual Average Tuition: $7,052

Student Retention Rate: 64%

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East Central University is Oklahoma’s premier comprehensive student-centered regional university that offers outstanding academic programs in the region serving over 3,500 students. The public university is committed to the betterment of the region and innovative experiences for its students. Established in 1909, it offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Masters degrees. It is one of the few schools in the U.S. offering a BS in cartography and the only one in the state to offer a BS degree program in legal studies. It partners with the State of Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) to allow students to get a Bachelor’s degree while as they complete police officer certification requirements. It is notable for implementing the state’s first Collegiate Officer Program.

#42 University of Washington Tacoma

Tacoma, Washington

Acceptance Rate: 87%

Annual Average Tuition: $11,639

Student Retention Rate: 80%

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The University of Washington Tacoma is a public, urban-serving university that opened its permanent campus in 1997 and is one of three campuses that make up the University of Washington. Through community-engaged students and faculty, it seeks to impact and inform economic development. Students have access to an environment of open learning and transformative experience, which prepares them to serve their communities well. The vibrant campus setting offers an excellent atmosphere that fosters learning with the help of an excellent faculty and a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum. The diverse student body includes a broad range of demographics spanning ages, ethnic and family backgrounds, interests, and experience.

#41 University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 83%

Annual Average Tuition: $9,606

Student Retention Rate: 86%

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The University of Iowa is a public research university is organized into 12 colleges offering more than 200 areas of study and seven professional degrees. Founded in 1847, it is one of the nation’s premier public research universities serving over 31,000 students globally and nationally. It is the state’s oldest institution of higher education and a member of the Big Ten Conference since 1899 and the Association of American Universities since 1909. It is also the second-largest university in the state and home to famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop and one of the largest and most acclaimed medical centers in the country. The US News and World Report has ranked 11 of its graduate programs among the top 10 in the country.

#40 Iowa State University

Ames, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 92%

Annual Average Tuition: $9,320

Student Retention Rate: 87%

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Iowa State University of Science and Technology is a public land-grant and space-grant research university. Students get a great academic start in learning communities as they learn from world-class scholars. It is the largest university in the state and the third-largest in the Big 12 athletic conference. Students are prepared for life challenges and the modern workforce through participation in internships and study abroad, undergraduate research, and active involvement in the 800-plus student organizations. Established in 1858, the university is known for producing innovators, social workers, and achievers in other fields. It offers 100 majors via ten schools and colleges serving over 33,000 students.

#39 Montana Tech

Butte, Montana

Acceptance Rate: 91%

Annual Average Tuition: $7,440

Student Retention Rate: 79%

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Montana Tech is a public university that goes by the tagline of being the premier STEM university of the state. Founded in 1900 as The Montana State School of Mines, it has evolved into a dynamic institution composed of two colleges (College of Letters, Sciences, & Professional Studies; Highlands College) and two schools (School of Mines and Engineering; and Graduate School; and the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology). The university offers exemplary undergraduate and graduate education, which provides students with foundational knowledge in engineering, science, and technology. It also prepares them for the workforce by blending theory with practice in the learning process.

#38 Utah State University

Logan, Utah

Acceptance Rate: 91%

Annual Average Tuition: $8,402

Student Retention Rate: 74%

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Utah State University (USU or Utah State) is a public land-grant research university that offers a broad, multidisciplinary academic experience. Founded in 1888, it offers nearly 170 undergraduate degrees and more than 140 graduate degrees along with doctoral, and specialized degree programs serving nearly 28,000 students. Its seven degree-granting colleges and the Huntsman School of Business boasts of dedicated instructors who work closely with students to teach and inspire every day. It also offers a variety of fully online degree programs welcoming global students to learn through collaboration and innovation, leading to rich learning experiences inside and outside the classroom. In a study, 75 percent of graduates ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that their career opportunities improved as a result of their USU education.

#37 Western Colorado University

Gunnison, Colorado

Acceptance Rate: 84%

Annual Average Tuition: $10,436

Student Retention Rate: 65%

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Western Colorado University is a small and affordable university that offers more than 3,000 students diverse programs ranging from cybersecurity, engineering, education, computer and other sciences, social work, and liberal arts. Established in 1901, students receive personalized attention and gain hands-on experience so that they emerge as career-ready professionals and who can contribute meaningful work in communities across Colorado and beyond. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the school offers three graduate degree programs and 67 undergraduate academic programs. WCU offers an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. About 95 percent of full-time, beginning students receive some kind of financial aid, and Colorado residents are eligible to receive a stipend from the College Opportunity Fund.

#36 Fort Hays State University

Hays, Kansas

Acceptance Rate: 91%

Annual Average Tuition: $5,280

Student Retention Rate: 74%

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fort-hays-state-university

Fort Hays State University is a public university in the Midwest offering highly accessible, award-winning programs globally. Founded in 1902, it is now the third largest of the six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. As the Midwest’s leading state institution, it serves over 15,000 students. The large variety of degree, certificate and course options at undergraduate and graduate levels via its College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, College of Education, College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, W.R. and Yvonne Robbins College of Business and Entrepreneurship and the Peter Werth College of Science, Technology, and Mathematics. It offers students an immersive, advanced education, and helps them prepare for future opportunities and to become successful, engaged members of the workforce.

#35 South Dakota State University

Brookings, South Dakota

Acceptance Rate: 90%

Annual Average Tuition: $9,114

Student Retention Rate: 78%

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South Dakota State University is a public research university, one of the state’s largest, oldest, and most comprehensive offering Hands-on learning and first-hand experience. Founded in 1881, it’s world-class academic programs includes 80 majors, 97 minors among the more than 200 areas of study. An excellent faculty and comprehensive curricula challenge and support students at the same time and prepare them for the modern workforce. The diverse academic portfolio of majors, minors, and specializations delivers valuable hands-on undergraduate education and graduate programs to kickstart each student’s rewarding career.

#34 North Dakota State University

Fargo, North Dakota

Acceptance Rate: 94%

Annual Average Tuition: $9,754

Student Retention Rate: 79%

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North Dakota State University is a public land-grant research university that excels in the areas of innovative and technology-driven research. The student-focused university spends more than $153 million in annual research expenditures. It has been listed in the Top 100 public research universities in the United States, especially in areas like agricultural sciences, psychology, and social sciences. It also boasts of the “one of the highest student return-on-investment ratios for public research universities in the nation,” according to PayScale. Its 13,000 students have the option to choose from 25 fully online undergraduate degrees, master’s degrees, and graduate certificate programs across subjects like animal sciences, agricultural sciences, dietetics, social sciences, art education, physical sciences, public service, chemistry, psychology, and computer sciences.

#33 University of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio

Acceptance Rate: 96%

Annual Average Tuition: $10,650

Student Retention Rate: 76%

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University of Toledo is a public metropolitan research university that ranks No. 2 in Ohio among Carnegie-classified public research institutions. The student-centered university is one of the most comprehensive in the nation and offers more than 230 degree programs. Established in 1872, 95 percent of full-time, beginning undergraduate students receive some type of financial aid. With the options of part-time and full-time study, the school totals over 19,000 students. It merged with the Medical University of Ohio in 2006 to become the third-largest public university operating budget in the state.

#32 Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Acceptance Rate: 95%

Annual Average Tuition: $10,440

Student Retention Rate: 86%

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Founded in 1858, Kansas State University, or K-State, has long maintained the tradition of being rooted in the service of others. It is the nation’s first operational land-grant university, which meant that the school used the pathways of research and service to offer an outstanding education in agriculture, science, military science, and engineering. It not only serves the state’s 2.9 million residents but welcomes out of state and global students with open arms as well. All students have access to research insights, information, and the best of opportunities to enrich their lives and that of the communities they serve.

#31 Colorado State University-Pueblo

Pueblo, Colorado

Acceptance Rate: 93%

Annual Average Tuition: $8,407

Student Retention Rate: 63%

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Colorado State University-Pueblo is a regional and comprehensive public university that boasts of a 15:1 student-faculty ratio. Founded in 1933, it partners with the Smithsonian Institution to offer summer internships in a variety of disciplines. The university has a long history of serving the community and responding to the growing needs of higher education in the region. It offers 26 baccalaureates, 52 minors, and six master degree programs, all known to be highly affordable, serving close over 7,000 students from all over the country and the world. The varied curricula focus on professional studies such as business, nursing, social work, and teacher education. Dedicated to interdisciplinary learning and entrepreneurship, the university’s vision is to establish itself as the people’s university of the Southwest United States by 2028.

#30 Wright State University

Dayton, Ohio

Acceptance Rate: 95%

Annual Average Tuition: $9,578

Student Retention Rate: 62%

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Wright State University is a national public university that was named to honor the Wright brothers, aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright who built their first successful airplane in Dayton. Wright State University offers an exceptional, affordable education to over 12,000 students via 292 degree programs at the associate, baccalaureate, certificate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Founded in 1964, the university is made up of three schools, eight colleges, and a branch campus in Celina. The public research university also offers robust online and flexible programs, including the flexible RN-BSN Nursing Degree Completion Program (BSN), the doctoral nursing program, and 14 online master’s programs. It is known for its unique Wright State tunnel system, which links all but two buildings on the campus.

#29 Missouri Southern State University

Joplin, Missouri

Acceptance Rate: 94%

Annual Average Tuition: $6,803

Student Retention Rate: 65%

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Missouri Southern State University is a four-year public state university that offers 14 bachelor’s degrees with several emphasis areas, 17 minors, online degree completion options, along with 11 certificates, and one professional credential. Founded in 1937, its diverse more than 200 programs serve over 5,600 students. 45 percent of its class sizes are under 20 students leading to a student-faculty ratio of 17:1. Nearly 69 percent of students receive financial aid as the school sponsors five school-sponsored academic scholarships, department-specific/performing awards, and other scholarship opportunities. In-state tuition to residents of Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas may apply for the Lion Pride Tuition Discount program.

#28 University of Wyoming

Laramie, Wyoming

Acceptance Rate: 96%

Annual Average Tuition: $5,581

Student Retention Rate: 76%

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The University of Wyoming is a four-year public land-grant university located in the small community between the Laramie and Snowy Range mountains. Founded in 1886, it offers a world-class education to over 12,000 students from all over the U.S. and 90 countries. It has the largest study-abroad scholarship endowment of any U.S. university with abroad degree programs spanning bachelor completion programs, masters, and doctoral degrees. Students have the option to choose from diverse disciplines like agronomy to zoology, theatre, and dance to criminal justice. It boasts of a 15:1 student-faculty ratio, ensuring personalized attention and quality education for all its students who also have unlimited access to outdoor activities.

#27 University of Maine at Augusta

Augusta, Maine

Acceptance Rate: 97%

Annual Average Tuition: $8,168

Student Retention Rate: 61%

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The University of Maine at Augusta is the third-largest public university within the University of Maine System. Founded in 1965, it extends its student outreach through its statewide University College centers and via its local campuses. It offers 19 baccalaureate programs, 29 certificate programs, five post-baccalaureate programs, 14 associate’s degree programs, and 39 minors serving about 4,300 students. With a 14:1 student-teacher ratio, it provides students with an intimate learning environment where each of them gets personalized attention from teachers who are committed to their success. Students have the option of rolling admissions for a variety of subjects like architecture, music, dental hygiene, and veterinary technology along with other standard subjects. Approximately 50 percent of applicants receive financial aid.

#26 Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Acceptance Rate: 97%

Annual Average Tuition: $10,802

Student Retention Rate: 73%

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Western Kentucky University, a public university known for its nationally recognized programs for offering students hands-on learning experience. Founded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1906, WKU is home to more than 18,000 students on their main and satellite campuses across the nation and the world. It offers students access to nationally recognized and highly ranked academic programs in education, journalism, and broadcasting, engineering, and business, among others. With its historic structures, famous gardens, sculptures, and modern sustainable buildings, the university has been recognized as one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses. It is dedicated to preparing students for an engaging, enriching, and productive future.

#25 Wayland Baptist University

Plainview, Texas

Acceptance Rate: 97%

Annual Average Tuition: $22,658

Student Retention Rate: 41%

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Wayland Baptist University is a private university that was founded in 1908 by a pioneer physician committed to the value of education. Affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the university continues to pioneer new standards in higher learning. It has campuses across the country, globally in Kenya, Africa; and online and serves about 4,000 total students with a 6:1 student-faculty ratio. Its education is informed by a Christian worldview and the school award degrees and certificates at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels. Led by expert, mentoring faculty, the school offers more than 65 programs of study, grounded in the liberal arts. Tuition is highly affordable, and over 94 percent of full-time beginning students receive financial assistance.

#24 West Virginia State University

Institute, West Virginia

Acceptance Rate: 95%

Annual Average Tuition: $8,237

Student Retention Rate: 61%

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West Virginia State University is a small land-grant university that offers 23 undergraduate and six graduate degree programs to over 4,100 students. Founded in 1891 as a Historically Black College, 90 percent of its students receive some form of financial aid. It has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1, providing students with a comfortable and supportive learning environment. It also offers fully online degree programs in English (Technical Writing), criminal justice, business administration with a concentration in management, business administration with a concentration in accounting, and a master’s degree in instructional, educational leadership. Since 1939, the university became the first of six historically black colleges to establish an aviation program authorized by the Civil Aeronautics Authority.

#23 Eastern Oregon University

La Grande, Oregon

Acceptance Rate: 98%

Annual Average Tuition: $9,084

Student Retention Rate: 72%

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Eastern Oregon University is a four-year university of higher education, one seven state-funded schools. Founded in 1929, it offers 97 percent of full-time beginning students financial aid. Academic programs at Eastern Oregon University are offered through the College of STM and Health Science, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Colleges of Business and Education, along with agriculture and nursing. Academics include an AA in elementary education, 21 on-campus undergraduate majors, 27 minors, 15 fully online majors, a master of business administration, four certificate programs, and ten pre-professional programs in areas like physical therapy, optometry, and veterinary medicine along with five partnership degree programs.

#22 Wilmington University

New Castle, Delaware

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $11,480

Student Retention Rate: 60%

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Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit university that serves over 14,000 students and boasts of a comfortable 12:1 student-faculty ratio. Founded in 1968, the university has always been committed to offering flexible and over 80 career-oriented undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs. The small class sizes ensure quality education and individualized attention. The university is known for its affordable tuition for the diverse degree programs designed to meet varied educational needs. Prospective students are allowed to transfer up to 90 credits, making these programs more affordable and accessible. Wilmington University’s main campus serves students from Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Washington.

#21 University of Maryland University College

Adelphi, Maryland

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $10,779

Student Retention Rate: 95%

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The University of Maryland Global Campus, UMGC, formerly UMUC, is the academic home of more than 58,000 students worldwide. Founded more than 70 years ago, the public, not-for-profit university offers undergraduate and graduate programs in fast-growing and in-demand fields. It continues to serve working adults and service members as an online state university with locations in Maryland and at military installations around the world. A proud member of the University System of Maryland, it has earned a high number of awards and recognitions for its incredibly accessible, affordable, and flexible degree programs. It was the first American university to educate the country’s military personnel overseas and offer students the option to transfer up to 90 credits from prior college coursework and work experience towards its degrees, specializations, and certificates.

#20 Washburn University

Topeka, Kansas

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $8,704

Student Retention Rate: 69%

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Washburn is a top-notch co-educational, public university that offers affordable degree programs for more than 6,200 students. The low student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1 and small classes ensure quality industry-standard programs leading to in-demand jobs. Founded in 1865, it offers more than 200 academic programs through its College of Arts & Sciences, the Business School, the School of Nursing, the School of Law, the School of Applied Studies, and the Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech). Approximately 49 percent of undergraduate courses have fewer than 20 students, which ensures that students can work directly with professors in courses, research, and other projects. Students with a 3.0 GPA have the opportunity to earn a tuition waiver.

#19 University of Texas-El Paso

El Paso, Texas

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $9,161

Student Retention Rate: 75%

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University of Texas-El Paso is a public research university that offers more than 70 undergraduate programs, more than 70 master’s programs, and more than 20 doctoral degree programs. Founded in 1914, it is a member of The University of Texas System and is designated as a Carnegie high-research-activity institution. The 420-acre urban campus and its flexible online degree programs serve more than 25,000 students. Known for its high acceptance rates and affordable tuition, it offers a unique experience because of its location in the world’s largest bi-national metropolitan area. The Washington Monthly ranked it No. 1 for enabling students from modest backgrounds to “set and attain the highest educational and life aspirations.” It is known to produce the most Hispanic graduates in Mathematics and Statistics, Engineering, and Education.

#18 Donnelly College

Kansas City, Kansas

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $7,740

Student Retention Rate: 73%

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Donnelly College is a Catholic independent, coeducational college that offers bachelor’s, associate degrees, and certifications. Founded in 1949, it is the only school in the four-state region to be federally designated as a Hispanic-serving institution and a Minority-Serving Institution. The U.S. News and World Report recognizes the university as being the most ethnically diverse college in the Midwest and one of the most affordable. It was established to offer affordable Catholic higher education to the working class, and urban immigrants and the schools continue this tradition by increasing access to those most under-represented in higher education. It offers multiple degree programs by integrating a strong liberal arts curriculum with career-oriented majors.

#17 Cameron University

Lawton, Oklahoma

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $6,450

Student Retention Rate: 67%

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Cameron University is a state-funded university that began as an agricultural high school in 1908. It is the largest four-year higher education institution in southwest Oklahoma, offering 50 degrees through two-year, four-year, and graduate programs and serving students from around the globe. The varying degrees span areas like bachelor of accounting, bachelor of business administration, bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of arts, bachelor of music, bachelor of music education, and a bachelor of science for about 4,100 students. Small class sizes and interactive learning environments provide students a top-quality education from caring and qualified faculty. Cameron University has consistently ranked among regional universities in the category of ‘Least Debt’ by U.S. News & World Report.

#16 Montana State University-Northern

Havre, Montana

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $5,955

Student Retention Rate: 55%

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Montana State University-Northern is a public state university that is a part of the Montana State University System. Founded in 1929, it is an institutional participant of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), which allows it to students from several states along with Montana residents and our Native American reservations. It is north-central Montana’s comprehensive university offering programs and services to over 1,000 students at the associate, baccalaureate, and master’s levels. Only available to students who have not previously completed a bachelor’s degree, 88 percent of MSUN full-time beginning undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. It has a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1 ensuring quality education and individual attention for all students.

#15 Montana State University Billings

Billings, Montana

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $5,933

Student Retention Rate: 62%

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Montana State University Billings is a public university dedicated to delivering a transformative education for over 4,400 students. Founded in 1927, the university offers affordable tuition across its certificates, associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree programs. It offers 115 academic programs through its College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, College of Education, College of Health Professions and Science, College of Business, and City College. Small class sizes boasting an 14:1 student to faculty ratio ensures that students are provided with tailored resources to help them achieve their goals. They are encouraged to explore hands-on learning by putting their education into practice and make connections that can lead to a rewarding career.

#14 Weber State University

Ogden, Utah

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $5,986

Student Retention Rate: 66%

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Weber State University offers its degree programs at eight statewide academic locations and online. Founded in 1889, the school prides itself on providing access to varied educational opportunities and excellent faculty, 84% of whom hold terminal degrees. It has a 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio ensuring personalized attention for all students. Weber students can choose from more than 225 certificate and degree programs, 16 graduate degree programs, six fully online bachelor’s degree programs, and 20 vocational programs. The underlying philosophy of the university is to make education accessible to all students. To this end, it works hard to make its degrees obtainable through independent study and evening classes, credit transfers, tuition waivers, financial aid, and scholarships.

#13 California State University-Bakersfield

Bakersfield, California

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $7,419

Student Retention Rate: 77%

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California State University-Bakersfield is a comprehensive public university that offers more than 50 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs serving 11,500 students. Founded in 1965, its schools include the Natural Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Mathematics and Engineering, Business and Public Administration, and Social Sciences, and Education. It is known for its acceptance rates and affordable tuition. CSUB boasts of small class sizes that allow for one-on-one interactions between students and faculty, quality education, hands-on learning, and cutting-edge research opportunities. Nearly 75 percent of faculty at CSU Bakersfield hold terminal degrees in their respective fields. It is home to 11 fraternities and sororities more than 85 student organizations and clubs.

#12 Utah Valley University

Orem, Utah

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $5,820

Student Retention Rate: 65%

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Utah Valley University is an integrated university and community college that has received the “community-engaged” classification from the Carnegie Foundation due to its focus on “engaged learning” commitment. Established in 1941, it is known as being one of the most affordable colleges that offer reduced tuition to resident students applying for an undergrad degree. With its 100 percent acceptance rate, it offers students maximum learning opportunities via its more than 65 bachelor’s degree programs, three graduate programs, and more than 85 associate/certificate/diploma programs. Utah Valley University offers excellence in engaged teaching, services, and scholarship, setting students up for success in work and life.

#11 Dixie State University

Saint George, Utah

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $5,496

Student Retention Rate: 57%

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Dixie State University is a public university that has the lowest tuition of all 4-year state institutions in Utah and has been ranked by the U.S. News as #6 for Best Regional Public College in the West. Located in the heart of St. George, it teaches students to learn than by doing and provides them with real-world opportunities to enrich their knowledge. Established in 1911, it offers diverse degrees through its College of Education, College of Health Sciences, College of the Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Business & Communication, and the College of Science and Technology. With 16 associate’s degree programs, bachelor’s degrees in 26 areas, 22 minors, and 13 certificate options, it serves more than 11,000 students.

#10 CUNY-Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

New York City, New York

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $5,194

Student Retention Rate: 67%

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Stella and Charles Guttman Community College is a public community college and the newest of CUNY colleges. Founded in 2012, it offers affordable education with a focus on student achievement and timely completion. Guttman’s unique and innovative model divides fulltime students into different learning communities to foster collaboration, teamwork, and peer accountability. A multi-step comprehensive admissions process and a mandatory Summer Bridge Program prepares students for holistic education. Stella and Charles Guttman Community College follows the CUNY tradition of access to excellence by offering a dynamic, inclusive, and intellectually engaging environment ensuring student success. It provides a limited number of majors with well-defined pathways, including A.A. in Urban Studies, A.A. in Business Administration, A.A.S. in Information Technology; A.A. in Human Services; A.A. in Liberal Arts & Sciences

#9 Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $5,034

Student Retention Rate: 80%

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Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City is a public university that runs on a 2+2 program. This means that students only work toward a two-year certification or associate’s degree program. If they already have their associate’s, they can enroll in a two-year BT. Founded in 1961, this nonresidential is part of the Oklahoma State University System. It is known as one of the most affordable universities in the region, offering 17 certificates, 32 AAS, and nine AS degree programs along with the unique bachelor of technology degree program in emergency responder administration. Ten of these programs are also available online. The small, close-knit university serves about 5,300 students, 50 percent of whom get financial aid. The university’s goal is to offer a transformative learning experience through educational opportunities that lead to personal growth, graduation, employment, or transfer.

#8 Fox Valley Technical College

Appleton, Wisconsin

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $4,640

Student Retention Rate: 74%

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Fox Valley Technical College is a public technical college that has served the Appleton, Wisconsin/Fox Cities area for over 100 years. It is a member of the Wisconsin Technical College System and has been the college of choice for local students. With over 500 programs to choose from, students have the opportunity to get high-tech occupational training for the workplace of today. The programs include technical diploma and certificate programs, 250 associate degrees, and instruction related to 16 apprenticeship trades. It is the most extensive higher education system in the state, serving 50,000 students annually. Students who wish to sharpen their job skills or prepare for a new career would benefit from the many technical programs at this college.

#7 Missouri Western State University

St. Joseph, Missouri

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $8,225

Student Retention Rate: 63%

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Missouri Western State University is a public, coeducational university that offers over 5,600 students 12 types of baccalaureate degrees, with majors in varied fields like biotechnology, digital animation, international studies, and population health management. Founded as St. Joseph Junior College in 1915, it is a member of the State of Missouri System. The diverse certificates, associate’s, master’s degrees, and minors also span innovative areas of learning like athletic coaching, military science, and legal studies. 98 percent of full-time, beginning undergraduate stduents receive financial aid, and it’s easy acceptance policy grants immediate admission to applicants who meet at least one of its specific requirements. The Missouri Western State University Foundation offers over 250 scholarships annually, making financial aid easy to achieve for future students.

#6 Western Iowa Tech Community College

Sioux City, Iowa

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $4,368

Student Retention Rate: 64%

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Western Iowa Tech Community College is a comprehensive community college that offers various associate degrees and certificate programs. Established in 1966, it has five campuses in northwestern Iowa. It provides quality education to nearly 6,000 students with a focus on enhancing the connections between learners and their communities. It boasts of over 200 expert faculty members who foster a personalized learner experience that promotes engagement and successful application of knowledge in the real world. Anticipating and responding to the changing educational and workforce needs, the curricula are regularly updated. In this way, the college seeks to enhance the communities that it serves economically.

#5 Lake-Sumter State College

Leesburg, Florida

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $3,232

Student Retention Rate: 47%

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Lake–Sumter State College is a public college that has three campuses in Lake and Sumter Counties and has consistently ranked in the top 150 community colleges nationwide and among the best in the state of Florida. Founded in 1962, it is a member of the Florida College System and offers high-quality education at an affordable price. As a leader in higher education, the university’s varied programs are designed to support and prepare students for today’s dynamic workforce. Curricula transform students through academic excellence and innovative partnerships. In 2017, the State Board of Education approved the College’s request for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, and in 2018 the first students enrolled in the program.

#4 South Florida State College

Avon Park, Florida

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $3,165

Student Retention Rate: 49%

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South Florida State College is a public college that is dedicated to providing a learning-centered environment for over 2,800 students through quality programs, training, and services. Established in 1965, it is part of the Florida College System and has campuses in Highlands, DeSoto, and Hardee counties. It partners with various organizations and communities to create an open-access, higher learning environment for the educational, cultural, and economic development of the service district. It offers associate degrees, baccalaureate, or other professional degrees or credentials that offer students the career and technical preparation to enter the workforce or to improve their career circumstances. Along with career skills, they also gain personal, cultural, and global awareness that is essential for a complex contemporary society.

#3 Broward College

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $2,830

Student Retention Rate: 31%

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Broward College is a public college that offers four-year bachelor’s degrees with majors in Business Administration, Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse; Management and Operations, Information= Technology; Special Education and Teaching, Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management; along with General studies. Established in 1959, It is part of the Florida College System and boasts of a 31:1 student-faculty ratio. The vibrant, diverse learning community was named one of the top 10 percent of community colleges in the nation by the Washington D.C.-based Aspen Institute in 2012.

#2 Pensacola State College

Pensacola, Florida

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $2,364

Student Retention Rate: 28%

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Pensacola State College is a public, comprehensive community college that serves over 9,700 traditional and non-traditional students in Northwest Florida and Southern Alabama. Founded in 1948, it is part of the Florida College System and the first institute of higher learning in Pensacola. It offers over 100 programs in a student-friendly learning environment with the help of a stellar faculty and state-of-the-art resources. It is widely recognized as a premier college that offers general and career-driven programs to prepare students for the modern workforce. The popular programs include the Bachelor of Applied Science in Administration and Supervision, Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and several career-oriented certificate programs.

#1 St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg, Florida

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Annual Average Tuition: $2,190

Student Retention Rate: 61%

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St. Petersburg College (SPC) is a public college that offers several four-year bachelor’s degrees for its 65,000 students annually. Founded in 1927, it is part of the Florida College System and one of its institutions designated as a “state college.” it has eleven campuses and centers throughout Pinellas County. Founded in 1927, it became a public college in 1948. It was created to provide local students with the option of an affordable postsecondary education just before the Great Depression. Today it is known for its career-focused programs, which enables most SPC graduates to find jobs in the field of their choice. It has been ranked as #1 in the state for the highest entry-level wages among state community college graduates.

This ranking was updated in August 2020.

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