One of the major things keeping gifted people from attending college is the astronomical cost of attendance. Nowadays, Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student debt. But there is a way around being overwhelmed with loans. It’s by attending a college that ensures that students graduate with very little or even no debt at all. And this list will highlight the best colleges in the USA for doing just that.
It’s common knowledge that the cost of college attendance in the USA is incredibly high. In fact, the average student loan debt of a graduate in 2017 was $37,172. Of course, many people wish that they could find a way of attending college without getting this level of debt, or more. Luckily, some colleges are receptive to these people’s needs. They offer students the ability to access their education in a way that won’t see them burdened with debt for decades after they graduate.
Through a combination of affordable tuition, state grants, accessible scholarships and more, colleges across the United States are creating opportunities for students who would otherwise find it impossible to attend higher education in the first place. These colleges are commendable, but they aren’t immediately apparent, because many best college lists neglect to consider student debt amounts. But this list considers debt above all other factors.
Any of the colleges in this list is a fantastic place for a student to study without accumulating a mountain of debt. However, it’s also possible that none of the colleges below is right for you. If that’s the case, then this list can still be a vital resource in your college decision-making process. You can compare and contrast your own college options with those in this list, to see how their debt levels and affordability resources compare.
To begin the research for this list, we looked at a range of different articles that have studied the colleges in America that give their students the least amount of debt.
Each source uses different methods of gathering its debt rate information. Therefore, this list has combined their results to see the most consistent performers.
These articles are as follows:
- US News, 10 Colleges Where Graduates Have the Least Debt
- Niche, The Top 50 Colleges With The Least Student Debt
- CNBC, Students from these 10 colleges graduate with the least debt:
- Forbes, Top 25 Low Debt Colleges 2018
- Shemmassian Academic Consulting, Average Student Loan Debt at America’s Best Colleges
- Go Banking Rates, Your Kids Can Avoid Student Loan Debt By Applying To These Colleges:
- Lendedu, Average Student Loan Debt Statistics By School By State 2019
- Lendedu, The 100 Small Public Colleges With The Least Student Loan Debt Per Borrower
After compiling the information on the above sources, we’ve researched the colleges themselves to see what it is that each one is doing to ensure low tuition costs and affordable education.
Overall, this list has been ranked by low current overall graduate debt levels, aggregated score on the lists, consistency in debt levels reported across the lists, evidence of innovation in affordability and information that proves that the college is financially stable and won’t be leading future years of students into greater levels of debt.
- Bethel College
- Berea College
- Princeton University
- Alice Lloyd College
- Dixie State University
- University of North Georgia
- Paul Quinn College
- Yale University
- CUNY – Hunter College
- Brigham Young University
Our list, from 50 to one, is below:
50. New Mexico Highlands University
Las Vegas, New Mexico
The tuition and mandatory fee costs at New Mexico Highlands University are incredibly low. New Mexico residents only pay $3,084 a year. Out of state students pay $4,356 a year. Most students also qualify for grants to help pay for their education. For example, there is the College Incentive Grant, which pays $500 in the first semester and goes to New Mexico residents who have a high school GPA of 2.0 to 2.49. There is also the Freshman Success Scholarship that awards $500 per semester for New Mexico students with a high school GPA of 2.5 to 2.99. And of course, these scholarships and their benefits increase with GPA levels. Lendedu states that graduates of New Mexico Highlands University have an average of $17,312 of debt.
49. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Even though the graduate debt is higher than some colleges on this list, no other college in America boasts 10 year median earnings as high as Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Forbes states that these earnings are $95,000 and that the median graduate debt is $17,000. Lendedu states that the average graduate debt is $20,048. Currently, any student who comes from a family that has an income of under $90,000 per year can attend the college tuition-free. Massachusetts Institute of Technology also plans to award $136.3 million in scholarships in 2019 to 2020.
48. Northeastern Illinois University
A strong tuition cost guarantee program at Northeastern Illinois University ensures that students can manage their finances throughout study. This tuition guarantee locks in the price of the college’s education for all four years of attendance. Students who have to leave the college for a period and reapply within the four year period will have the price locked until the end of the fourth year. And students who take two years longer than average to graduate are charged at the tuition rate that was set by the college in the year after the student enrolled for their fifth and sixth year. In 2019, students enrolling in Northeastern Illinois University will pay $11,462 in tuition a year. Lendedu states that students at the college graduate with an average debt of just $16,247.
47. Johns Hopkins University
In the 2017 to 2018 college year, Johns Hopkins University gave out over $100 million in grant money to its students. Overall, this divided out to an average grant of $44,000 per student who received a needs-based grant. And 54% of current students receive these grants. The only slight catch is that the college expects students to contribute a sum of $1,800 to $2,600 from summer employment to their education. Forbes states that the median debt of a John Hopkins University graduate is $15,000.
46. University of Texas, Arlington
Texas and Oklahoma residents that apply to University of Texas, Arlington qualify for a resident undergraduate tuition cost of $11,040 per year. All other undergraduates pay $25,134 for tuition. One innovative way that the college has made its education affordable is by offering a guaranteed tuition rate plan. Students that select this option will be able to avoid any tuition or fee increases in their education and earn rebates on their fees, as long as they make on-time progress towards graduation. Students enrolled in this plan who earn 30 credit hours a year and a minimum 2.5GPA in their first year get $1,600 off their next semester’s tuition payment. In the second year, if students have earned 60 credit hours and maintained a minimum 2.5 GPA, then they get another $1,600 rebate. Lastly, in the third year, students can get a $3,000 rebate after completing 90 credit hours and earning a minimum GPA of 2.5. CNBC states that University of Texas, Arlington students graduate with an average debt of $15,559.
45. Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
In 2017 alone, Cornell University offered over $239 million in grants. And the average grant award for a freshman student was $40,686. The maximum grant was $76,997. Overall, 7,751 students received financial aid. The college’s system ensures that any student that goes to the college with a family income of less than $60,000 and assets less than $100,000 will be able to attend college without taking out any loans. The only downside to this is that the college limits its financial aid that goes to international students. Forbes states that the median graduate debt of a Cornell University student is $12,000. But Lendedu states that the average graduate debt is $25,542.
44. Rice University
Forbes states that the median debt of a graduating Rice University student is just a little over $10,000. The source also claims that the median 10 year salary of a graduate is $65,000. But Lendedu is less generous, stating that students have an average debt of $26,556. However, even if the Lendedu figure is currently more accurate, the truth is that Rice University students in the future are certain to graduate with less debt. That’s because in late 2018, the college announced a dramatically expanded scholarship program. Under the new system, students from a family with an income under $130,000 will pay $0 for their tuition.
43. The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
83% of students at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise get grants and scholarships to help pay for tuition and attendance. Any student from Virginia, Kentucky or Tennessee can attend the college for a low price. Tuition and required fees for Virginia students amounts to $10,119 per year. Kentucky and Tennessee students pay $10,789 per year. All other students pay $27,846 per year. Lendedu states that graduates from The University of Virginia’s College at Wise have an average of $14,478 in debt.
42. Vanderbilt University
Two-thirds of students at Vanderbilt University receive financial aid from the college. Overall, the college gave out $42,769,819 in grants to students in the 2018 to 2019 college year. This filters down to $49,242 per student on average. Students getting financial aid are expected to provide 3% of the costs of their education in the form of work. Forbes states that the median graduate debt per student at Vanderbilt University is $15,000. Lendedu places this the average graduate debt at $23,983.
41. Georgetown University
A median 10 year income of $90,000 for a Georgetown University student makes the median $15,000 in graduate debt an incredibly good investment, Forbes states. Lendedu places the average graduate debt higher, at $23,387. The major winners of Georgetown University’s financial aid are first-generation students and those from underrepresented communities. This is all thanks to The Community Scholars Program, which has been running since 1968. Thanks to this program, students who otherwise would not be able to get through college without incurring huge loans, do so at very little cost. The graduation rate of this program is 91%.
40. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Niche states that the typical amount that a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student takes out in loans per year is $3,093. However, Lendedu places the overall average graduate debt amount higher, at $22,293. On top of scholarships, grants and low tuition, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has a very strong Financial Wellness Center. This center assists enrolled students with all kinds of help in managing the costs of attending the college, such as “money management events, workshops, guest lectures and one-on-one financial coaching.”
39. Lamar University
Over 2,000 Lamar University scholarships go to students every single year. The total sum of these scholarships exceeds $10 million. This is an impressive figure considering that the college’s enrollment hovers at between 14,500 to 15,000 students. On top of this generous financial award policy, the education at Lamar University is highly affordable. A Texas resident will pay just $5,046 a year in tuition and fees. Non-Texas residents pay $11,315 a year in tuition and fees. Lendedu states that the average student debt at Lamar University is just $11,878.
38. Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
Lendedu places Duke University as the 194th lowest debt college in America, giving it an average student debt of $23,819. Forbes, however, states that the median federal debt per Duke student is only around $7,000 and that the median 10 year income is $79,000. Duke University itself claims that due to the way that it generously hands out financial aid, 67% of its students are able to graduate entirely debt-free. On top of this, 52% of Duke students do not have to pay the full cost of their education.
37. Claremont McKenna College
Students are likely to continue to graduate from Claremont McKenna College with increasingly low levels of debt. That’s because the college’s leadership “has prioritized the need to generate new sources of aid and scholarships as part of our commitment to need-blind admission, and meet-all-need financial aid packages for every deserving student regardless of his or her ability to pay.” Over the last five years, the college has raised over $100 million to achieve that goal. Forbes states that the median graduate debt of a Claremont McKenna College student is $15,000 and that the median 10 year salary is $75,000. Lendedu considers the average graduate debt to be $21,421.
36. Stanford University
Forbes’s estimation of median federal debt of a student after graduating from Stanford University is $13,000 and median yearly incomes after a decade are $92,000. Lendedu puts the college’s average graduate debt higher, at $20,205. Stanford University always gives out financial aid to students who demonstrate a need for it. In fact, the average scholarship for students who need aid is $47,228 per year of attendance. Thanks to this, the college has many testimonials from students who are from low income backgrounds but who have found out that they would “have to pay almost nothing to attend.”
35. Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
Forbes states that the median graduate debt of Dartmouth College is $14,000. The median salary after 10 years is $70,000. Lendedu puts the average graduate debt at $19,571. Dartmouth College itself estimates that its graduate debt average is $20,373. The college also states that it gives out around $100 million in financial aid every single year. The average yearly scholarship for students who are graduating in 2020 is $47,833. This financial aid will also travel with students when they partner with one of Dartmouth College’s overseas schools for an exchange program, helping students study overseas.
34. Amherst College
The average financial aid award per student at Amherst College in the 2017 to 2018 college year was $53,577. Overall, that made up over $50 million in scholarship money. But what really makes the college’s financial aid programs remarkable is that they go out of their way to enroll US veterans. Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, Veterans that are accepted to Amherst College get their education 100% tuition-free. Forbes states that the median debt of Amherst College is $13,000. Lendedu says that the average debt is $19,075.
33. City University of New York, Lehman College
New York City, New York
Due to the low levels of debt that City University of New York, Lehman College gives to graduates, the college is one of the best forces in the USA for social mobility. That means that the college has one of the largest amounts of students who come from a low income household but who have top-level incomes as adults. Thanks to a generous range of funding from the New York State government, tuition at the college is low and scholarships are generous. New York State residents pay just $3,365 per semester for their education, and non-New York State residents pay $7,200. Forbes places the median student debt at City University of New York, Lehman College at just $10,000 per student. Niche states that the average yearly debt acquired by a student is $4,469.
32. Manhattan Christian College
The cost of tuition at Manhattan Christian College is an affordable $15,950 per year. On top of this, the scholarships that the college offers are broad. Almost all students can access one or more kinds of scholarship. Some of the most unique scholarships include the Thunder Merit Scholarship, which rewards the community service that a student has participated in their life; and the Ministry Scholarship, which goes to students who demonstrate a strong passion for the ministry and a vision for future ministry. Niche states that on average, students at Manhattan Christian College accumulate $3,190 of debt per year.
31. Texas A&M International University
92% of students at Texas A&M International University receive financial aid that helps pay for their education. The average amount awarded to a student is $11,704. This generous sum really goes a long way to affording the college’s education, as Texas residents only pay $8,637 per year in tuition and fees. Non-Texas residents pay $22,258 per year. Niche estimates that the average amount of debt that a student of Texas A&M International University gains per year is $4,164. Lendedu places the total graduate debt average at $17,394.
30. Harvard University
CNBC states that the average debt of a Harvard University graduate is $16,702. Shemmassian and Lendedu put the figure at $15,114. Forbes states that the median federal debt of a student after graduation is $6,500 and that they have no problem paying this off, as the graduates earn a median yearly income of $91,000 a decade after graduation. Thanks to the college’s financial aid system, 90% of US families would pay the same amount or less to send their child to Harvard compared to a state school.
29. Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film
Niche estimates that students at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film take out a loan of $3,150 per year on average. 96% of the college’s first degree-seeking students get funding from student aid and or loan programs. Part of the reason why students at Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film are able to graduate with low levels of debt is because local and state agencies consider the college to be an important cultural institution. Therefore, the college gets funding from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, bringing in generous scholarship opportunities.
28. Vaughn College
New York City, New York
Any student attending Vaughn College who has a gap between financial aid and the cost of attendance can access an innovative agreement that the college offers. The college creates a financing option where the college will cover some or all of the student’s outstanding expenses while studying. The student then only pays back this money once they make a minimum of $32,000 a year. However, if the student doesn’t pay off any or all of the debt after eight to 12 years, then the debt is completely written off. Additionally, New York State residents who have made less than $125,000 can receive an award up to $6,000 a year while studying. Niche states that the average loan amount taken out by a student of Vaughn College per year is $2,983.
27. City University of New York, Brooklyn College
New York City, New York
US News states that the average debt of graduates from City University of New York, Brooklyn College was $11,550. Part of what contributes to this low level of graduate debt is the fact that there are over 600 scholarships, awards and prizes given to students at the college every single year. One of the most innovative of these scholarships is the Brooklyn College Alumni Association Student Award. This scholarship gives students up to $4,000 for providing “significant commitment to service in the Brooklyn College community and/or significant commitment to performing arts at Brooklyn College.” Undergraduate students who receive this grant must also have a GPA of at least 3.0. On top of opportunities like this, Brooklyn College also has affordable tuition fees of $3,365 per semester for full time in New York State residents.
26. University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Princess Anne, Maryland
Any Maryland resident is able to access University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s tuition and mandatory fees for $8,042 per year. For students who have resided in Delaware or Eastern Shore Virginia, the tuition and mandatory fees are $10,442 per year. All other students pay tuition and mandatory fees of $18,048 per year. Part of what makes University of Maryland Eastern Shore so affordable is that the college receives money from Title III of the Higher Education Act, which provides federal assistance to colleges that showcase a constructive effort to strengthen themselves. Lendedu states that the average student debt of a graduate at the college is $9,861.
25. Davis College
Johnson City, New York
Students who attend Davis College almost always graduate with very low levels of debt due to the fact that the college gives them individualized assistance. Thanks to this approach, 87% of students get scholarships, and 98% of students get other financial aid. And on top of this, Davis College also offers to pay for the education of any student who enrolls in their Bachelor of Religious Education in the form of student loan repayments. After graduating, all that a student needs to do is gain employment for 30 hours a week to get their loans repaid. Lendedu states that on average, graduates leave Davis College with a debt of $9,381.
24. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Most students at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University benefit from the Florida Bright Scholarship Program. This program has different kinds of scholarships given to students who are resident in Florida who achieve high GPAs. The best of these scholarships is the Florida Academic Scholars scholarship. This scholarship means that a student who has an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher coming into college gets 100% of their tuition and fees covered by the program as well as $300 per semester for extra educational expenses. Students need to maintain a 3.0 GPA to qualify for the award in future college years. Lendedu states that the average debt per graduate at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is $7,454.
23. The College of Idaho
Idaho residents benefit from several scholarship opportunities that the state offers. But the best opportunities are for high school students who live in the college’s home city, Caldwell. The college has formed a partnership with its community that gives generous levels of funding to students from this city. On top of this, the college itself offers certain scholarships for students who show talent in disciplines such as debate, Christian leadership, playwriting and more. Lendedu states that The College of Idaho has an average graduate debt of $7,202.
22. University of North Texas at Dallas
Not only is University of North Texas at Dallas incredibly affordable, it’s also growing fast! For the last three years in a row, the college has seen its enrollment records broken. People are flocking to the college because it offers high quality education for less than $9,200 per year. Lendedu states that the average debt of a graduate of University of North Texas at Dallas is $6,271. The president of the college states that, “Our affordable tuition plans ensure that our graduates enter the job market with financial freedom – not saddled with student debt.”
21. University of the Incarnate Word
San Antonio, Texas
Lendedu believes that University of the Incarnate Word has the third lowest graduate debt of any college in America, at an average of $5,831. The reason why graduate debt is so low is due to a number of factors. 95% of students at University of the Incarnate Word get financial aid. That’s because the college offers scholarships “available to students of all majors.” On top of this, the college has outstanding financial counseling that is available to all students. And also, students can use iGrad, an award-winning financial wellness platform that helps students access all the finance options available to them and provides wise spending information.
20. United States Merchant Marine Academy
King’s Point, New York
Enrollment into the United States Merchant Marine Academy almost always means that students have low levels of student debt, thanks to the fact that most of the college fees are covered by the government. However, there are non government provided fees for things such as laundry service and hairdressing. The class of 2021 can expect to pay $700 a year for these fees. US News states that the average debt of students who graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2017 was just $3,852.
19. Pensacola State College
Paying for tuition at Pensacola State College is one of the most convenient parts of study. Thanks to the college’s philosophy, students have ultra-flexible payment options which all have zero interest. Additionally, many of the students who attend Pensacola State College benefit from the Florida Prepaid Plan, which lets families prepay the future cost of college tuition at a locked-in rate. Even if the college costs are more than anticipated, Florida residents don’t pay any more than the plan accounted for. The college also has extensive expertise in getting students the best grants and loans. US News states that the average debt of a student of the class of 2017 was just $3,239.
18. City University of New York, Baruch College
New York City, New York
All City University of New York colleges now offer an incredible new scholarship called the Excelsior Scholarship. This scholarship is available to New York State residents who have a family income of less than $125,000. It covers all of the tuition costs of attending a City University of New York college. However, other costs, such as fees, board and meal plans are not included. City University of New York, Baruch College graduates have an average debt of $12,500 according to CNBC. But Niche states that the yearly student debt accumulation average is $4,332. The college has also been recognized as a leader in innovative social mobility.
17. Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula, California
Lendedu states that the average student loan debt of graduates from Thomas Aquinas College is $19,269. But CNBC reports that the figure is lower, at $16,986. Lastly, Niche says that students take out an average of $3,871 a year. Tuition at the college is $25,600 a year. Room and board is $8,800. But unlike some colleges, there are no other required additional costs that make attendance more expensive. Thomas Aquinas College is always trying to save its students money. One of the ways in which it does this is through limiting the amount of money students can take out as loans before they get automatically get aid from the college.
16. Wellesley College
The methodology sources give a varying estimate for graduate debt at Wellesley College. Lendedu states that it is $18,370. However, CNBC puts the figure much lower, at $13,415. Forbes is even more generous, placing the median debt figure at approximately $9,000. The source also notes that the median annual earning 10 years after graduation from the college is $60,000. The college itself states that its graduate debt is an average of $13,283. Wellesley College is committed to being needs blind when it comes to admitting its students. The average aid award is $47,000. None of its financial aid needs to be repaid.
15. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
New York City, New York
The methodology sources disagree over the debt that students at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art accumulate. Niche states that the average loan given out per year is $2,565. Shemmassian states that the average overall graduate debt is $3,844. But Lendedu states that the overall graduate debt average is $18,272. This disparity may have come about due to the fact that until 2014 Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art was tuition-free but has charged students since. Luckily, the college is returning to a tuition-free model by 2029. In 2020, the college will cover an average of 77% of a student’s tuition. From 2022 onwards, this percentage will rise every year, with 93% of scholarships covered in 2028, the year before Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art becomes tuition-free again.
14. Southern Utah University
Cedar City, Utah
Southern Utah University was already one of the most affordable colleges in America in 2019. But then it announced that it was not raising its tuition or student fees for the first time in 42 years. That also made it the first college in Utah in over 20 years that froze its costs from one year to the next. What’s really impressive is that due to streamlining administrative costs, the college was able to add “more academic advisors, a mental health counselor and more faculty positions,” while freezing its tuition and fees. Overall, Lendedu states that students graduate from Southern Utah University with an average of $16,892 in debt. Niche places the college’s student loan figure at $3,906 on average per year of study.
13. California State University, Dominguez Hills
Both Lendedu and Niche are consistent with their assessment of average student debt at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Lendedu states that graduate debt is $16,370. Niche states that the average student debt taken on per year is $4,279. Overall, a California resident only pays $6,941 in tuition and fees per academic year. Non-California residents pay around $16,441 in tuition and mandatory fees. California State University, Dominguez Hills “makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum.” For example, it runs an innovative program called the Affordable Learning Solutions Campaign, which increases the faculty’s awareness of the high cost of some course materials and encourages them to provide cheaper course materials instead.
12. New College of Florida
CNBC and Lendedu give very similar results on the average debt of a New College of Florida graduate. CNBC puts the figure at $16,577. Lendedu places the figure at $16,297. The great news for students looking to save money on the cost of college is that New College of Florida “guarantees scholarship funding to virtually all admitted freshmen who apply for the fall class,” by the college’s priority deadline. Florida residents can really take advantage of these virtually guaranteed scholarships, as the college tuition only costs $6,916 per year. For out of state residents, the yearly cost is $29,944.
11. Williams College
CNBC claims that the average debt of a Williams College graduate is $15,496. Lendedu places the figure at $16,230. The college considers itself to be more than just needs blind in its admissions process. It states that, on top of paying 100% of the tuition of a student that demonstrates a financial need, the college actively seeks out low income students. That is because Williams College views “financial aid as money well spent – an investment in our community.”17% of students therefore pay $0 to attend the college. If this weren’t good enough, then books, lab supplies, art supplies and music lessons are free for all of the college’s students.
10. Brigham Young University
Lendedu states that the graduates of Brigham Young University have an average debt of $14,998. CNBC puts this figure a little higher, at $15,158. Forbes states that the median debt at graduation is around $12,000 and that median 10 year annual incomes are $57,000. The cost of tuition at Brigham Young University for students who are part of The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints Is just $5,790 per year. For students who are not part of the church, the tuition is still affordable at $11,580 per year.
9. City University of New York, Hunter College
New York City, New York
The median 10 year salary after graduating City University of New York, Hunter College is $68,000, according to Forbes. This is incredible, as the source says that students graduate, with a median of $13,000 of debt. US News puts the graduate debt figure at $12,122. City University of New York, Hunter College itself states that the average grant and scholarship amount given to students that get aid is $7,440. Yearly, the cost of attending this college is just $6,530 for in New York State resident students. Out of state students pay $17,400.
8. Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
Shemmassian states that graduates of Yale University tend to leave with a debt of less than $2,000. But other methodology sources claim that the average or median debt is closer to $13,050 to $13,625. Even if a student graduates at the higher end of this debt spectrum, they are almost certain to pay it off. Forbes states that graduates make a median of $82,500 a year 10 years after graduating. Any student from a household that makes less than $65,000 a year in income does not need their parents or other sources to contribute to the funding of their education. Yale University covers it instead.
7. Paul Quinn College
Shemmassian notes that the starting salary for a Paul Quinn College graduate is approximately $41,000. This strong starting salary is made even better due to the fact that the graduates have a debt balance of approximately $2,250. Niche also states that the college has a low student debt amount, but it says that the average yearly loan amount is $2,127. Paul Quinn College has always been dedicated to affordability. But in recent years, it has doubled down on these efforts, becoming America’s only urban-based work college. This means that all students are required to work 300 to 400 hours every year to cover their tuition fees and receive a cash payment of between $1,000 to $1,500.
6. University of North Georgia
Go Banking states that the average graduate debt in Georgia is $28,376. But graduates of University of North Georgia have on average just $12,435 of debt. Two other methodology sources also give this figure. Luckily, the state of Georgia has a range of scholarships that are available for students who show academic promise, such as the HOPE Scholarship and the Zell Miller Scholarship. In addition to these statewide scholarships, University of North Georgia itself has several scholarship options. In all, the college granted over 1,500 scholarships in 2017 to 2018.
5. Dixie State University
St. George, Utah
Three different methodology sources state that students at Dixie State University graduate with an average of $12,201 of debt. Students who enroll at the college can access 18 different kinds of scholarships. Most students are sure to qualify for some of these, whether it’s the Student Ambassador scholarship, the diversity/multicultural scholarship or any other kind. On top of this, the college charges very little for its education, with students paying just $2,748 per semester, with the rest being covered by state taxes.
4. Alice Lloyd College
Pippa Passes, Kentucky
Methodology sources estimate that the average graduate debt of Alice Lloyd College ranges between $9,828 to $10,141. Students graduate with such a low level of debt because the college has ensured that students who come from the 108 counties that comprise Central Appalachia don’t have to pay for tuition. These counties are within five different states, namely Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. On top of this, Alice Lloyd College also runs programs “specifically designed to help students cut down on debt.”
3. Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey
Six different methodology sources all state that Princeton University graduates end up with between $7,500 to $9,005 in debt. And what’s even more impressive is that Forbes notes that the median graduate salary after 10 years is over $80,000. But the college itself states that graduating seniors only had $6,600 of debt. Princeton University boasts about how its financial aid policy “is recognized as among the most generous in the country.” But one thing really outstanding about the college is that its financial aid policy is the same for international as well as US students.
2. Berea College
Lendedu, US News, and GO Banking all state that the average debt per graduate at Berea College is $7,468. CNBC puts the figure slightly lower, at $7,062. Students are able to accrue such low levels of debt due to the fact that the college doesn’t charge a penny for tuition. Instead, students pay around $1,000 per year on average for housing, meals and fees. And there’s very little chance that the college will change this any time soon. In fact, Berea College has managed to be tuition-free for more than 100 years.
1. Bethel College
North Newton, Kansas
Go Banking, Shemmassian and Lendedu states that Bethel College graduates had a debt average of $5,633. The college is incredibly successful at getting students financial support. In fact, 98% of the college’s students get scholarships and/or financial aid. The students who benefit the most from Bethel College’s scholarships are those who are either Kansas residents, attended a Mennonite high school, attend a Mennonite church, participate in AVID or Upward Bound or who have had a relative who attended Bethel. Any accepted student who meets those criteria is almost certain to be eligible for a $50,000 scholarship. On top of all this, if a student doesn’t graduate within four years, then all classes after the fourth year are tuition-free.
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