Evaluating colleges by price is rarely as simple as looking at the bottom line. You’ll have to find out what kind of financial aid may be available, and whether or not you qualify. You may need to consider cost of living, and whether it makes sense from a financial perspective to pursue your degree online or on campus. In other words, looking at the cost of tuition is just one factor in determining the most affordable colleges by price.
How Much Does College Cost?
The cost of college education depends on what type of school you hope to attend. According to the College Board, the average cost of college at a public four-year school was $9,410 per year, for in-state students. Private four-year colleges, on the other hand, cost an average of $32,410 per year. However, the College Board notes that many students who qualify for financial aid do not end up paying the full, published fees.
In other words, evaluating colleges by price can be tricky, since your net cost of college may ultimately be different from the school’s “sticker price.” So what is a college’s net cost? According to the College Board, net cost is a college’s tuition and fees minus any grants, scholarships, and education tax benefits you may qualify for. Of course, potential financial aid and tax credits may vary depending on the student, so your net cost may look quite a bit different than a friend’s. No wonder looking at colleges by price range can be so confusing! In fact, some students may prefer to search for, not the least expensive colleges, but the colleges that give you the best bang for the money. While subjective, a focus on value may make more sense in the long run than just considering a school’s possible price tag.
Below, you’ll find a list of colleges by price. Some of these schools may offer primarily campus programs, while others offer online learning. Most importantly, they all rank on the U.S. News and World Report list of Best Value Colleges for 2018, based on 2016-2017 net cost of attendance for students who qualified for an average amount of need-based financial aid.
Colleges by Price Range
Remember, tuition and net cost may vary from what’s published here. But this list should give you some ideas for potential colleges by price range.
Best Value Ranking: #121
Estimated Cost: $43,506 after receiving grants
The University of California – Irvine was founded in 1965 with the goal of serving the community, promoting diversity, and fostering important research. They offer around 80 majors and 70 minors on the sunny main campus, which serves more than 33,000 students. And they may have the most unusual mascot around: Peter the Anteater!
While UCI may offer some online courses occasionally, programs are generally campus-based.
Best Value Ranking: #98
Estimated Cost: $34,036 after receiving grants
The oldest continuous site of higher education in Florida, this university has a rich history of excellence. Florida State serves well over 41,000 students, encouraging them to make waves in areas like research, healthcare, and entrepreneurship. Undergraduate students may pursue 107 baccalaureate programs at various branch and regional campuses. Florida States also offers some potential online programs.
Best Value Ranking: #94
Estimated Cost: $36,786 after receiving grants
The University of Maryland is a public research institution that dates back to 1856. The university offers 90 undergraduate majors at the main campus in College Park, Maryland. Students interested in online learning may pursue programs through The University of Maryland University College, which has locations in College Park and around the state in addition to distance learning.
Best Value Ranking: #87
Estimated Cost: $30,666 after receiving grants
Washington State University has been serving civic-minded students since 1890. As a major research university, the school is big on discoveries that can make a difference. Undergrads may pursue over 200 fields of study, including a variety of online degree programs. Online majors include Accounting, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Management, and more. Or, students may study in person at locations in Pullman, Spokane, Vancouver, and other cities.
Best Value Ranking: #75
Estimated Cost: $33,124 after receiving grants
Howard University is a private research university with an important history. Founded in 1867 as a predominantly Black university, Howard remains committed to positive social change in the United States and the world today. Students may pursue studies in one of many program areas, including the arts, health sciences, political science, and Afro-American studies. In addition to campus programs in Washington, D.C., Howard may offer some online learning programs.
Best Value Ranking: #73
Estimated Cost: $34,204 after receiving grants
The University of Dayton is a Catholic, Marianist university located in Southwest Ohio. The school was founded in 1850 and is now an internationally-known institute of experiential learning, service, and justice. They offer a variety of exciting undergraduate majors, including accelerated bachelor's plus master's programs that may help students earn two degrees at an accelerated pace. Students may also pursue some programs online.
Best Value Ranking: #61
Estimated Cost: $36,076 after receiving grants
American University is a research university based in Washington, D.C. The school focuses on public service, global leadership, and learning through experience. They feature eight schools and over 160 programs, in fields like psychology, public health, biology, and accounting. American also offers online programs at the graduate level, as well as some online undergraduate courses.
Best Value Ranking: #52
Estimated Cost: $29,356 after receiving grants
Part of the New York State University system, Binghamton University has been welcoming students since 1946. Notably, the school served veterans returning from World War II. Today, Binghamton features interdisciplinary education in over 130 undergraduate programs, like Actuarial Sciences, Africana Studies, Biomedical Engineering, and Environmental Studies. They also offer potential accelerated programs, in which students may be able to earn both a bachelors degree and a masters degree in five years.
Best Value Ranking: #45
Estimated Cost: $35,248 after receiving grants
Founded in 1826, Case Western Reserve University was the first university in northern Ohio. Today, it is a thriving research institution with a diverse range of educational paths. Case Western’s mission is to empower students to find solutions for the world’s biggest problems. Students may pursue around 95 undergraduate programs, like Aerospace Engineering, Banking and Finance, Artificial Intelligence, and Childhood Studies.
Best Value Ranking: #42
Estimated Cost: $29,185 after receiving grants
Duquesne University is a Catholic, Spiritan university located in Pittsburgh, PA. They value educational excellence, diversity, service, and moral and spiritual values. Duquesne offers a range of undergraduate programs in areas that span the health and natural sciences, liberal arts, business, education, and much more. They also offer fully-online programs, including accelerated bachelors degree programs in Computer Systems Technology and Organizational Leadership.
Best Value Ranking: #41
Estimated Cost: $31,793 after receiving grants
Its history dates back to 1829, but Rochester Institute of Technology is at the cutting edge of new discoveries. This private university has a main campus in Rochester, New York, along with international schools in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo (Study abroad, anyone?). They’ve also offered online education for 37 years, including programs in business, IT, the arts, health sciences, and more. And, RIT’s virtual campus offers a dynamic experience and lots of resources for distance learners.
Best Value Ranking: #12
Estimated Cost: $23,323 after receiving grants
Located in vibrant, musical Nashville, TN, Vanderbilt University is a private institution serving over 12,000 students. Vanderbilt was founded in 1873 and is known for its research, liberal arts programs, medical center, and Blair School of Music. The university offers 68 bachelors programs in areas ranging from anthropology to special education. The Institute for Digital Learning offers online programming, with the promise of expanding offerings in the coming years.
Best Value Ranking: #9
Estimated Cost: $17,815 after receiving grants
The University of North Carolina is the nation’s first public university, chartered in 1789. Today, it is a vibrant research university that values diversity, innovation, and public service. UNC offers 78 bachelors programs in a variety of fields. In addition to the beautiful Chapel Hill campus, the university system includes 16 other campuses and nearly 400 online programs.
Finding Colleges by Price Is Only the First Step
Naturally, finding a prospective college that fits your budget is an important consideration. That’s why a list of Value Colleges can be so compelling. But there’s more to finding the perfect school than colleges by price range. You’ll want to know if a college has your major and desired concentration, for starters. And what about colleges that may suit the needs of busy, working adults? So, in addition to checking out our estimated tuition list, don’t forget to fill out the form above, and get matched with prospective colleges that may help you pursue your dreams!
All data compiled from: usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/best-value?_sort=tuition&_sort-direction=asc