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

Find Out Exactly What You
Should Be Paid


541 (tie)Eastern Illinois University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$204,000
Total 4 Year Cost$95,700
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,900
541 (tie)Humboldt State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$204,000
Total 4 Year Cost$92,200
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,700
541 (tie)New College of Florida(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$204,000
Total 4 Year Cost$80,200
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,900
544 (tie)Alabama A&M University (AAMU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$203,000
Total 4 Year Cost$111,000
Grad Rate35%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,700
544 (tie)Tarleton State University (TSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$203,000
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Grad Rate45%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$38,500
544 (tie)West Chester University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$203,000
Total 4 Year Cost$145,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$33,500
547 (tie)Frostburg State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$202,000
Total 4 Year Cost$124,000
Grad Rate49%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$34,600
547 (tie)Indiana University-Purdue University - Fort Wayne (IPFW)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$202,000
Total 4 Year Cost$91,600
Grad Rate26%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,700
547 (tie)North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$202,000
Total 4 Year Cost$87,500
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,900
550 (tie)Northern Arizona University (NAU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$201,000
Total 4 Year Cost$133,000
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,000
550 (tie)University of Wisconsin (UWP) - Parkside(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$201,000
Total 4 Year Cost$74,800
Grad Rate31%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,200
552 (tie)University of Maine at Orono(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$200,000
Total 4 Year Cost$164,000
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$32,900
552 (tie)University of Oregon(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$200,000
Total 4 Year Cost$179,000
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,900
554The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$199,000
Total 4 Year Cost$142,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$35,100
555Dickinson State University - Dickinson, ND(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$198,000
Total 4 Year Cost$75,100
Grad Rate33%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,000

*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.