Best Value Public Colleges

Though they may not always enjoy the same prestigious reputation of well-known private schools, public colleges and universities often provide an incredible education at the fraction of the price.  Read More

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31Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$582,000
Total 4 Year Cost$102,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,400
32San Jose State University (SJSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$576,000
Total 4 Year Cost$99,200
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,900
33Virginia Military Institute (VMI)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$574,000
Total 4 Year Cost$192,000
Grad Rate71%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,500
34Texas A&M University - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$569,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,700
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,100
35University of Massachusetts (UMass) - Lowell Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$568,000
Total 4 Year Cost$104,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,500
36Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$566,000
Total 4 Year Cost$86,400
Grad Rate47%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,700
37Michigan Technological University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$565,000
Total 4 Year Cost$167,000
Grad Rate64%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,300
38SUNY - Binghamton University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$563,000
Total 4 Year Cost$92,800
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,800
39Montana Tech of The University of Montana(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$562,000
Total 4 Year Cost$125,000
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,400
40University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$561,000
Total 4 Year Cost$117,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,700
41University of Alaska - Fairbanks Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$559,000
Total 4 Year Cost$69,100
Grad Rate32%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,300
42New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$554,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate45%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,600
43University of Maryland - College Park(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$550,000
Total 4 Year Cost$96,600
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,200
44Purdue University - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$544,000
Total 4 Year Cost$92,700
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,200
45 (tie)California State Polytechnic University - Pomona(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$533,000
Total 4 Year Cost$94,500
Grad Rate56%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,700

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

They certainly offer some of the best value for many students, especially if you attend a school in your home state and enjoy lower tuition costs than out-of-state students.

If you don't want to go into debt to pay for a quality education, a public school may be the right choice for you. There are public schools located in every state in the country, and they tend to have high enrollments, which means that they typically offer more activities, events and athletic programs than their private competitors. The specific return on investment for each public college varies; here are some of those that offer the best return on investment.

Located on the Bronx's Throgs Neck peninsula, directly across the East River from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, SUNY - Maritime College was founded in 1874. Most of the degree programs at SUNY - Maritime may be completed while concurrently preparing for the United States Merchant Marine officer's license as a third mate or third assistant engineer.

Located in Golden, Colorado, the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) has a student population of around 5,600 and is split into three colleges: The College of Earth Resource Sciences and Engineering, the College of Applied Science and Engineering and the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences. CSM specializes in conferring degrees in engineering and the applied sciences and is a worthwhile option for students who'd like to attend a public school offering an exceptional return on their investment.

With its location in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a fun and exciting place to attend school. The public university is located on a 400-acre campus and boasts a student population of around 23,100 students. Of the many prominent alumni from the school, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is undoubtedly the most noteworthy.

The University of California, Berkeley, is more often than not a high-ranking school on our College ROI list. The Golden Bears are the crown jewel for California's excellent public school system, and most Cal students can look forward to an excellent return on investment from their choice of school.