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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811 (tie)Murray State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$105,000
Total 4 Year Cost$126,000
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,200
811 (tie)Southern Arkansas University - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$105,000
Total 4 Year Cost$79,300
Grad Rate31%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,000
811 (tie)The University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$105,000
Total 4 Year Cost$75,000
Grad Rate47%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,200
814 (tie)Chicago State University (CSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$104,000
Total 4 Year Cost$121,000
Grad Rate19%
Time to Graduate6 Years
Loan Amt$27,900
814 (tie)Emporia State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$104,000
Total 4 Year Cost$117,000
Grad Rate39%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,900
814 (tie)Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$104,000
Total 4 Year Cost$79,000
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,000
814 (tie)Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$104,000
Total 4 Year Cost$79,000
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,000
818University of Wisconsin (UW) - Superior Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$103,000
Total 4 Year Cost$104,000
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,600
819Mansfield University of Pennsylvania(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$102,000
Total 4 Year Cost$95,100
Grad Rate53%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$33,700
820 (tie)Northern Michigan University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$101,000
Total 4 Year Cost$103,000
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,800
820 (tie)Northern State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$101,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,700
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,200
822Western State Colorado University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$99,700
Total 4 Year Cost$82,100
Grad Rate36%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,400
823Kentucky State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$99,400
Total 4 Year Cost$109,000
Grad Rate20%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,100
824Francis Marion University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$99,100
Total 4 Year Cost$86,400
Grad Rate41%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,800
825University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$97,800
Total 4 Year Cost$75,200
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,800

*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.