Some colleges are known for being great value for money. Others are known for their high graduation rates. But few manage to achieve both of these goals. Going to a college that is both affordable and great at ensuring that students actually earn their degree is vital. You want to know that your college years will be well spent, both in terms of money and achievement. And this article is going to show you the 50 best US colleges for doing this!
College costs more today than ever before. In fact, from 1987 to 2016, the average price of an undergraduate degree rose by 161%. This means that for many students, college debt is an inevitability. But some colleges have been combating this and ensuring that their education remains affordable.
However, when a college is less expensive than its rivals, many people worry that this means the college and its education is of lower quality. This isn’t necessarily the case. But it does take some research to work out which colleges are providing true value for money. That’s why this article exists. We’ve done the research so that you don’t have to. All the colleges in this list offer tuition well below the average costs while having a graduation rate of 50% or greater.
All of the 50 colleges below are fine examples of affordable yet high-quality tuition. Any one of the institutions is a fine choice for many aspiring people looking to enter a diverse range of careers without breaking the bank. Yet it’s also possible that none of the colleges below is right for you. If this is the case, then this list can still be a vital research tool. Each entry includes a summary of how the college offers affordable education while still boasting a strong graduation rate. You can use these summaries to compare the selections with your own college choices. If any of your college options are doing what these colleges are doing, then that’s a strong indication that it will be the right choice!
This article combines two kinds of source material. The first kind of article is one that focuses on the most affordable colleges in America. The second kind of article is one that focuses on colleges with the highest graduation rates.
After comparing and contrasting both kinds of article, we shortlisted the top performing colleges that appear on both lists. After this, we conducted extensive research into the colleges themselves. We looked for evidence that the college’s graduation rates matched (or exceeded) what was listed in the sources. Then we that the college is committed to boosting graduation and maintaining a cost-effective education in the future.
Our full list of sources is as follows:
This list’s final ranking has been sorted by graduation rate, cost, score on the methodology lists, and evidence of implementing innovative practices to keep costs down and graduation up.
The list, from 50 to one, is here:
50. Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island
Thanks to a number of programs, many students in different states can access Rhode Island College’s education at a low price. Rhode Island residents get the best prices, at $8,929 for one year of tuition. Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Long Island, New York City and a range of smaller New York State cities are able to gain tuition for just $12,824 per year. All other students have to pay $21,692 in tuition per year. Six-year graduation rates have been climbing at Rhode Island College for the last six years. Last year, it was able to achieve a 50% graduation rate.
49. The City College of New York
New York City, New York
In 2018, The City College of New York managed to achieve a 50% six-year graduation rate for students who had studied in their college from start to finish. Even better was the graduation rate for students who transferred to another CUNY institution, which was 57%. 10 years before this, those graduation rates stood at 36.2% and 39.4% respectively. What’s even more impressive about the City College of New York’s increasing graduation rate is that it is able to maintain these while it has a growing student population. A record number of students will enroll at the college in fall 2019. For students who are New York State residents, the college’s education costs only $6,730 for a two-semester year. Out of state residents pay $18,000 per year.
48. Northwest Missouri State University
Missouri residents only have to pay $9,804.90 for two semesters of tuition at Northwest Missouri State University. Non Missouri residents pay $16,457.40. Overall, the college’s graduation rate is 50.3%. But there is a large variance in the graduation rate of the different schools that comprise Northwest Missouri State University. 78.7% of students graduate from the School of Agricultural Sciences. If this weren’t good enough, then students who attend the college find that their education is made even more affordable through the college’s perks. For instance, all full-time undergraduate and graduate students are given laptops to use throughout their time of study.
47. The City University of New York, Hunter College
New York City, New York
The City University of New York, Hunter College has maintained a six-year graduation rate of above 50% for the last five years. Most recently, this rate was 51.9%. However, in 2020, The City University of New York, Hunter College will complete its current strategic plan. This means that it is currently working on a new set of priorities to boost its graduation rates even further! Like the other colleges in the CUNY system, Hunter College has set costs for in state and out of state students. New York State residents pay $6,730 per year for tuition. Out of state residents pay $18,000 per year. Thanks to this incredibly affordable system, 75% of the students that attend The City College of New York, Hunter College graduate with no debt whatsoever.
46. State University of New York, Alfred State College of Technology
Alfred, New York
The current six-year graduation and transfer rate at the State University of New York, Alfred State College of Technology stands at 52%. New York State residents are able to access the college’s education for just $6,870 in tuition a year. Out of state students pay $10,740 per year for an Associate degree or $16,650 a year for a bachelors degree. One of the college’s current strategic priorities is to optimize its efforts regarding graduation and student success. It is doing this by improving its communication to enrolled students, developing a holistic campus, identifying growth areas for student skills and enhancing academic support.
45. St. Petersburg College
St Petersburg, Florida
The total graduation rate for Saint Petersburg College from 2013 to 2017 was 52% of its students. Florida residents pay a freshman and sophomore price of $2,754 for tuition per year and a junior and senior price of $3,017 per year. For out of state students, the freshman and sophomore cost is $9,348 per year, and the junior and senior price is $10,291 per year. This incredibly affordable tuition has been proven to pay off for students very quickly. In fact, “St. Petersburg College alumni rank first in Florida for earning the highest entry wages.”
44. Texas Woman’s University
Texas residents that attend Texas Woman’s University pay only $6,450 a year in tuition. Out of state residents pay $18,630. The college’s overall six-year graduation rate stands at 53%. However, by 2028, the college aims to increase this graduation rate to 65%. The college is indeed a vital resource for the state of Texas and the country of America as a whole. It is currently “graduating more new health care professionals than any other university in Texas.” It is also producing an impressive amount of highly qualified teachers.
43. Clarion University
Clarion University’s most recent five-year graduation rate is the same as the highest six-year graduation rate in the college’s history. That means that the college is graduating more students than ever before and in a faster time than ever before. This five-year graduation rate is 53.6 %. For a Pennsylvania resident, the college’s yearly education cost is either $11,125 or $10,597. For out of state residents, the yearly education cost is either $16,004 or $15,116. The difference in price depends on which campus a student studies in.
42. California State University, Fresno
It appears that California State University, Fresno will have a six-year graduation rate at over 50% from now on. The last time the college experienced a dip in graduation rates below this level was for its students who began in 2007. The six-year graduation rate of students who began in 2012 was 54%. The cost of tuition for each student at the college varies on the kind of degree they take. College Calc estimates that the average cost is $5,742 for in-state students and $17,622 for out of state students.
41. California State University, San Bernardino
San Bernardino, California
Education at California State University, San Bernardino is around $6,900 for California residents and $18,000 for non-California residents. And the college is implementing some innovative ways to ensure that its education is affordable in other ways. For instance, it has a grant that encourages faculty “to choose, adopt and provide more affordable, quality educational materials,” for students, meaning that the students will not have to buy so many course specific books and other items themselves. The six-year graduation rate a California State University, San Bernardino is currently 54%.
40. Missouri State University
The six-year graduation rate at Missouri State University has been at approximately 54% for the last five years. This reliable graduation rate is a strong indicator that the college is achieving its aim of providing quality education that is within the financial reach of any student. In-state students are able to get this education for a tuition cost of $7,376 per year. Non-Missouri residents have to pay $15,326. However, out of state students who earn a high enough score on their SAT/GPA/ACT are able to waive the out of state costs, meaning that they also only pay $7,376 per year. And depending on how good a student’s score is, they also automatically qualify for a certain level of scholarship!
39. Brigham Young University, Hawaii
As the normal degree completion time at Brigham Young University, Hawaii is six years, the graduation rates on the methodology sources are misleading. Both US News and College Board asses four-year graduation rates and list the college as having a graduation rate at less than 40%. But Brigham Young University, Hawaii’s own data states that 2016’s six-year graduation rate was 54%. However, the eight-year graduation rate total was 66%. The cost for three semesters per year of tuition at this college varies per student, but it can be as low as $7,408.
38. The University of Tennessee at Martin
The University of Tennessee at Martin has compiled the data of all of its students who graduated within six years, even if they transferred to another Tennessee college. This figure has hovered at between 58% and 54% for the last seven years. Tennessee residents are able to attend The University of Tennessee at Martin for a tuition cost of between $8,876 to $9,512 per year. US out of state students pay between $14,916 and $15,552 per year, and international out of state students pay between $22,820 to $23,456 per year.
37. Worcester State University
At first glance, Worcester State University appears to be amazingly affordable for Massachusetts residents. That’s because the yearly tuition fee for these students is just $970. But there is also an incredibly large yearly general fee of $8,373 for all students (there is no information on whether this fee is possible to waive, so this article assumes that it is not.) This makes the total cost for a Massachusetts resident at least $9,343 plus other fees that could possibly be waived in certain circumstances (such as the health services fee.) The yearly cost of tuition and the general fee for Northeast students is $9,828. These yearly costs for all other students combine to $15,423. The current six-year graduation rate at the college is 55.8%.
36. California State University, Stanislaus
The average six-year graduation rate over the last four years at California State University, Stanislaus stands at 54.5%. And tuition fees at the college are only $7,520 per year, with this cost being the same for in state and out of state students. One of the major selling points of California State University, Stanislaus is that despite its low cost, the student to faculty ratio is also incredibly low, at 22 to one. This means that as well as being affordable, the college’s education is also highly personalized to the individual!
35. University of North Georgia
Georgia residents pay a tuition cost at the University of North Georgia of $5,460 per year. Out of state students pay $19,272. The current 6-year graduation rate for students at this college is 55%. University of North Georgia both manages to have a fresh approach to education while having vast amounts of experience. That’s because it officially opened in 2013, when two of the best schools in the University System of Georgia, North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College merged together.
34. The City University of New York, Queens College
New York City, New York
The six-year graduation rate at The City University of New York, Queens College in 2017 stood at 57%. The yearly tuition cost of this college is $6,730 for New York State residents and $18,000 for out of state residents. The college’s strong graduation rate is in many ways due to it creating a welcoming and homely atmosphere for all. The college is always expanding in this aim, opening “new cafes, dining areas, and lounge areas,” on a continual basis. To ensure that an even higher number of students graduate on time in the future, The City University of New York, Queens College has created QC in 4, a program that pairs students with academic advisors and provides special classes with the aim of increasing participating students’ chances of graduation in a quick time frame.
33. University of South Dakota
Vermillion, South Dakota
The number of students who graduated within six years has seen a rapid increase at the University of South Dakota. 52% of students who started study in 2009 had graduated within six years. But 57% of students who started in 2011 graduated within six years. The tuition cost of each degree at the college varies slightly, but currently, in-state students pay between $9,000 to $11,000 per year and out of state students pay between $12,000 to $14,000 per year. These low tuition costs reflect the University of South Dakota’s commitment to being a leader in diversity and inclusiveness.
32. The City University of New York, Brooklyn College
New York City, New York
The City University of New York, Brooklyn College’s latest six-year graduation rate saw a large improvement on the previous year. 58.1% of students who began at the college graduated within this time frame. In the year before this, that figure was 50.9%. The transfer student six-year graduation rate stands at 56.9%. For New York State residents, Brooklyn College costs $6,730 per year. For out of state residents, this cost is $18,000 per year. In 2018, The City University of New York, Brooklyn College adopted a new strategic plan. One of its key goals is to increase “undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students’ success.” The college is currently implementing this goal with a “Your Future in Four” campaign, which aims to help all students successfully complete their degrees in the quickest possible time.
31. University of Nebraska at Kearney
Unlike many other colleges, the University of Nebraska at Kearney publishes its graduation rate data going all the way back to the 1980s. This data shows a gradual yet clear increase in its graduation rates over the decades. 44.1% of students who came to the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1983 graduated within six years. But 58.4% of students who began in 2012 graduated within six years. And the amount a student pays for education depends on how close they have been residing to the college. For Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas students, the yearly tuition costs just $5,940. Other Midwest students (those in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) pay $8,910 a year. People from further afield pay $12,930 per year.
30. State University of New York, Maritime College
Throggs Neck, New York
New York State students only pay $6,870 for tuition per year at State University of New York, Maritime College. Students who live within the northern region of the United States pay $10,305 for tuition. All other students pay $17,136. The six-year graduation rate at the college is 59%. State University of New York, Maritime College is currently implementing a new strategic plan that took 18 months to develop through consultations with alumni, faculty, industry executives and many more voices. This new plan will boost graduation rates by expanding its academic support services and immersing students in a more rigorous academic environment.
29. Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina
At first glance, Western Carolina University’s 40% graduation rate posted in US News does not seem that impressive. However, when the percentage of students who graduate over six years (as opposed to the methodology source’s four years) is taken into account, then Western Carolina University’s overall graduation rate increases to 59%. But what secures this college’s ranking on this list is its tiny tuition costs. US News’s affordability table notes that it has a yearly tuition cost of just $8,220. College Consensus also reveals that the majority of the college’s students are pleased with that cost. The college benefits from the North Carolina Promise, which has been implemented in the three colleges in the North Carolina University System. Thanks to this program, the price for North Carolina residents at this college is even lower, at just $500 per semester.
28. South Dakota State University
Brookings, South Dakota
Six-year graduation rates at South Dakota State University have seen healthy growth over the last decade. 60.4% of students who entered the college in 2012 have now successfully graduated. This compares to 57.7% of 2006 first time students who graduated within six years. At South Dakota State University, in-state tuition costs $16,836 per year. And since 2019, this “in-state” cost has extended to residents of the neighboring states of Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. Minnesota residents benefit from a similar benefit system, meaning that they pay only $17,466 a year. All other students pay $20,226 a year.
27. University of Minnesota, Morris
60% of the University of Minnesota, Morris students graduate within six years of enrolling. The four-year graduation rate is also strong, standing at 54%. A Minnesota resident pays $12,142 in tuition a year. Non-Minnesota residents only pay slightly more, at $14,170 in tuition per year. On top of affordable education, University of Minnesota, Morris has been responsible for finding a range of affordable off-campus housing options for students. This ensures that students are able to find the perfect place to live in without breaking the bank.
26. California State University, Monterey Bay
Within six years of enrollment, 60.2% of California State University, Monterey Bay students have graduated. Current full-time academic tuition fees range between $5,742 to $6,660 for California residents. Out of state students pay around $17,279. However, even the expenses of studying at California State University, Monterey Bay can be lower than in many other colleges. That’s because it has the Affordable Learning Initiative, which encourages faculty to use low or no cost digital media instead of expensive textbooks for research.
25. Winona State University
Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota residents are able to study at Winona State University for an extremely low cost. In all, one year of tuition for these students costs just $7,377 per year. North Dakota residents can also get the college’s education for a great price at $7,590.50 per year. All other students pay $13,298 per year for tuition. The six-year graduation rate at the college currently stands at 60.8%. And one thing that makes the college’s prices even better is that 84% of students get financial aid throughout their time of study.
24. Brigham Young University, Idaho
Like Brigham Young University, Hawaii, Brigham Young University, Idaho’s graduation rates are misrepresented in the methodology lists due to the longer than average study time of this college. The standard six-year graduation rate in 2016 was 61%. Even with two extra study years, Brigham Young University, Idaho is still incredibly affordable. Tuition for two semesters in 2018 to 2019 is just $4,118. But if a student does receive federal aid, then they can essentially study for free. That’s because Brigham Young University, Idaho is one of only 27 colleges in America “where federal aid is high enough to cover tuition and fees, according to a recent study.”
23. Berea College
Over the last decade, the six-year graduation rate at Berea College has never slipped below 60%. In 2018, its six-year graduation rate was 62.8%. However, what’s even more impressive than this above average national graduation rate is the college’s cost. The tuition at Berea College is completely free. The “Tuition Promise Scholarship guarantees no student pays tuition.” Instead, students only have to pay around $1,000 per year for housing, meals and similar things. Obviously, this makes the college’s education unbeatable for affordability! Instead of students paying for tuition, the college runs solely on donations.
22. Colorado School of Mines
10 years ago, the four-year graduation rate at Colorado School of Mines was just 39.6%. But with every year, this figure has increased, with the current four-year graduation rate standing at 65.3%. In fact, this four-year graduation rate is very similar to the five-year graduation rate from a decade ago. Back then, 65.5% of students were graduating in five years. The present-day five-year graduation rate stands at 80.6%, showing how much progress has been made. Colorado residents are able to gain this tuition for just $16,650 a year. Non Colorado residents pay $36,270.
21. Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri residents pay $7,406 per year for the tuition at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Non-Missouri residents pay $23,292 per year for tuition. Six-year graduation rates have been remarkably consistent at the college for the last five years, ranging between 63% and 65%. However, the graduation rates at Missouri University of Science and Technology is set to rise. That is because, in late 2018, the college approved a new strategic plan. One of the primary aims of that strategic plan is to increase graduation rates to 70% by 2023.
20. Westfield State University
The fee for most students who want to attend Westfield State University is $9,459. Nursing students pay slightly more, at $10,617. On top of these fees, in-state tuition costs $970 per year. New England residents outside of Massachusetts pay $1,455 every year. And all other students pay $7,050 per year. Six-year graduation rates at Westfield State University have been over 60% for the last five years, with the most recent figure being 63.3%. This is a slight dip from the all-time high graduation rate of 66.3% three years ago.
19. California State University, Long Beach
Long Beach, California
Six-year graduation rates at California State University, Long Beach have increased from 53.5% to 64.9%. However, over 70% of students eventually earn a degree. The yearly tuition cost for a California resident is $6,834. For non-residents, the tuition cost is $10,296. Students get a lot for their money at this college. The campus stretches across 322 acres. This large space is home to many incredible professors and 80 buildings. Also, California State University, Long Beach alumni are highly successful in their careers. In fact, the average mid-career salary of a graduate is $98,800.
18. Michigan Technological University
The current six-year graduation rate at Michigan Technological University is 66.5%. The college’s tuition fee for Michigan residents is $15,346. But for non-Michigan residents, this fee is $33,426. Any Michigan resident who has the opportunity to study at Michigan Technological University should take the opportunity. For an incredibly affordable cost, they can study at the place that taught the nanotechnology pioneer Daniel Branagan, Nobel Prize winner Melvin Calvin, senior vice president of National Communication Engineering and Operations for Comcast Cable Charlotte Field and many other incredible people.
17. The University of Texas at Dallas
Four-year graduation rates at The University of Texas at Dallas have been rising for the last three years. In total, it has risen from 50.5% to 54.5%. However, the six-year graduation rate has seen a slight drop from 70.6% to 67.5 (which is still a very strong rate.) The amount that a student of The University of Texas at Dallas pays for tuition is highly variable. Luckily, students have lots of control in how this rate is charged. There are two different tuition plans on offer. One is the guaranteed tuition plan that locks in a student’s rate for four years. The other is the variable tuition plan, which allows students to pay less initially, but may mean that they pay more in future years. An in-state student can expect to pay between $13,910 to $14,732 per year for tuition. For out of state students, the cost is approximately $38,168 per year.
16. New College of Florida
The four-year graduation rate at New College of Florida is a respectable 57%. But six-year graduation rates are an incredible 65%. However, New College of Florida is not content with these figures. Its growth plan has allocated millions of dollars toward improving its four-year graduation rate. In fact, the college believes that with this funding, the four-year graduation rate will increase to over 80%. Florida residents can access New College of Florida’s tuition for $6,916 a year. Out of state students pay $29,944 a year.
15. Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
The out of state cost for Slippery Rock University students depends on their high school GPA. If they scored a GPA of 3.0 or higher, then they get to pay $14,600 in tuition each year. Out of state students who got a GPA of less than 3.0 pay a tuition fee of $18,400. However, Pennsylvania residents, no matter their GPA, pay $10,500 per year. No matter what students pay, Slippery Rock University students have a strong chance of graduating. Both six-year and four-year graduation rates are at an all-time high. Six-year graduation rates currently stand at 66.3%. Four-year graduation rates are at 54.9%.
14. University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Freshman/sophomore and junior/senior tuition fees vary slightly at the University of Michigan. A Michigan resident really benefits, being charged $15,262 per year for the first two years and $17,188 per year for the second two years. Non-Michigan students pay $49,350 for the first two years and $52,814 for the second two years. Four-year, five-year and six-year graduation rates at the college have been increasing for the last five years. The four-year graduation rate has increased from 74.8% to 79.3%. The six-year graduation rate has increased from 90% to 91.9%.
13. Virginia Military Institute
Both the four year and six-year graduation rates at Virginia Military Institute are increasing. The four-year and six-year graduation rates for students who began in 2009 was 61% and 74%. But the four-year and six-year graduation rates for students who started in 2011 was 63% and 77%. For students from Virginia, the college’s tuition is very affordable at $9,284 per year. However, out of state tuition costs $36,128 per year. Graduation at this college is so strong due it fostering a family like, yet disciplined educational system that lasts right up to and beyond graduation.
12. College of William and Mary
Virginia students get a great deal for studying in the College of William and Mary. The W&M Promise means that in-state students get lower tuition and that this annual tuition stays “the same for all four years of their undergraduate education.” This yearly in-state tuition cost is $17,434 in 2019, which is low for a college of this stature. Out of state students pay $38,735 for tuition in this year and are subject to cost rises. College of William and Mary also has some of the highest graduation rates in America. In the last 11 years, six-year graduation rates have not slipped below 91%.
11. University of Virginia
The affordability of the University of Virginia is entirely dependent on whether a prospective student is a Virginia resident and what they study. The lowest tuition costs for Virginia residents at the college are $12,634 per year in the School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Architecture, and College of Arts and Sciences. However, the highest tuition cost for non-Virginia residents is $52,570. But it is a great deal that a Virginian can get into one of the world’s greatest colleges for such a small tuition fee! Once enrolled, it is practically certain that a student will graduate from the college. Four-year graduation rates stand at 89%, and six-year graduation rates stand at 94%.
10. Georgia Institute of Technology
Though four-year graduation rates at Georgia Institute of Technology are low, five-year graduation rates are incredibly high. The most recent five-year graduation rate of the college is 79.8%. This is a tiny drop from the 80.3% five-year graduation rate of the year before. Georgia residents are able to access this incredible college’s tuition for only $10,008 per year. Non-Georgia residents have to pay three times as much, but this is still a great price for what many consider to be one of the best colleges in the world. Graduates of Georgia Institute of Technology make an average starting salary of $70,500, meaning that Georgia residents can pay off their small student debt shortly after graduating.
9. Virginia Tech
Many colleges in Virginia offer incredible tuition fees for residents of their state, but not so much for residents outside of their state. Virginia Tech is no exception. In-state students are able to access the college’s tuition for $11,750 per year. Out of state students get the same tuition for $29,950 a year, which is still affordable compared to many other highly regarded colleges. Four-year graduation rates at Virginia Tech stand at 64.5%. Six-year graduation rates are 83.7%.
8. Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The most recent six-year graduation rate at Massachusetts Maritime Academy is 73%. This is consistent with the recent graduation history of the college. Over the last five years, its graduation rate has never slipped below 70%. There are three different kinds of tuition fees at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Massachusetts residents pay $10,018 per year. Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont students pay $15,104 per year. And all other students pay $25,725 a year. No matter the charges, there is little doubt that education at Massachusetts Maritime Academy will pay off. Time Money even states that it is one of America’s colleges where the cost is really worth it.
7. California State University, Fullerton
The six-year graduation rate at California State University, Fullerton has been climbing for seven straight years. In this time, it has increased from 50% to 67.8% and shows no signs of decreasing. One of the primary goals in the college’s new strategic plan is to strengthen graduation rates even further. In fact, it aims to graduate 72% of students who have studied at the college for six years by 2023. For a California resident to study in the fall an spring semesters, tuition will cost them $6,894.56 overall. For out of state students, the fee is $16,399 per year.
6. College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, Missouri
Students at College of the Ozarks pay for their tuition not with money but with work. That means that tuition is technically free, but it lives up to its slogan as being the “Work Hard U.” This approach certainly pays off. The overall six-year graduation rate at the college stands at 66%. And as the tuition is free, studying for longer than four years does not incur any student debt, so students don’t need to worry about completion times!
5. Truman State University
The tuition fees at Truman State University are some of the lowest on offer in Missouri. Tuition only costs $7,425 per year for in-state students. This rises to $14,277 per year for out of state students. Thanks to these low costs, the college’s “alumni have the lowest default rate on student loans of all public colleges and universities in Missouri.” And there are many students who manage to reach graduation. In fact, for the last nine years, the six-year graduation rate at Truman State University has hovered at around 70%. What’s even better is that over the last 11 years, the four-year graduation rate has increased from 47.4% to around 55%.
4. Brigham Young University, Provo
As with the other Brigham Young Universities, this college’s data is misrepresented on methodology lists due to average completion time. But the changes with Brigham Young University, Provo are the most drastic. In 2016, while only 30% of students graduated within four years, 79% did within six years. The cost of tuition for BrighamYoung University, Provo’s tuition for a two-semester year in 2019 to 2020 can be as low as $5,790. Because of its affordability and high quality, Brigham Young University, Provo has the “largest undergraduate enrollment of any private university in the U.S.”
3. United States Merchant Marine Academy
Kings Point, New York
Niche names United States Merchant Marine Academy as the sixth best value college in America. The prices at this college vary depending on the student. However, to make things easier, there is a calculator on site that allows any prospective student to estimate how much they will have to pay based on the costs of the 2014-2015 academic year. An 18-year-old seeking enrollment who isn’t able to receive financial aid would pay $1,107 for tuition based on 2014 to 2015’s prices. In addition to tuition fees, the United States Merchant Marine Academy makes clear that there are a range of expenses that come in addition to tuition, but this would be true of any college (that this college is so upfront about that cost is a strong indication of its quality!) The college’s graduation rate is also going from strength to strength. From 2008 to 2011, its average four-year graduation rate was 67%, according to College Board. But by 2018, US News reports that that rate had increased to 72%.
2. University of California, Berkeley
The tuition fee for all students, regardless of their home state, at the University of California, Berkeley is an incredibly affordable $14,184 per year. University of California, Berkeley is one of the top-ranked colleges in America, so this cost for all students is incredible. Four-year graduation rates at the University of California, Berkeley have not dipped below 70% for the last seven years. Six-year graduation rates have been at above 90% for the last six years. Even though the University of California Berkeley is an elite college, it is doing great things for social mobility. For example, 23% of freshmen students are first-generation college attendees.
1. United States Naval Academy
A student attends the United States Naval Academy for no cost. However, they must then serve in the US Navy for five years after their graduation. Instead of having to pay any cash, students actually get given money throughout the course of their study. During this time, “Midshipmen pay is $1,087.80 monthly.” However, this figure has to be spent on the college’s services. In addition to this amount, students get $100 a month of spending money that they can spend on whatever they like. United States Naval Academy’s approach is highly successful. US News states that it has a 90% four-year graduation rate.
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