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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91North Carolina State University (NCSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$443,000
Total 4 Year Cost$88,200
Grad Rate75%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,700
92 (tie)Stony Brook University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$442,000
Total 4 Year Cost$141,000
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,300
92 (tie)The Citadel - Military College of South Carolina(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$442,000
Total 4 Year Cost$104,000
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$38,800
94The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$440,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$39,100
95 (tie)California State University - Chico(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$439,000
Total 4 Year Cost$91,800
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,400
95 (tie)University of Wisconsin (UW) - Platteville Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$439,000
Total 4 Year Cost$71,600
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,300
97Texas Tech University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$438,000
Total 4 Year Cost$88,100
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,000
98University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$434,000
Total 4 Year Cost$224,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,000
99 (tie)University of Minnesota - Twin Cities(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$432,000
Total 4 Year Cost$102,000
Grad Rate78%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,300
99 (tie)University of Texas at Arlington (UTA)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$432,000
Total 4 Year Cost$90,200
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,800
101 (tie)University of Colorado - Boulder (CU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$431,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,900
101 (tie)Weber State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$431,000
Total 4 Year Cost$73,700
Grad Rate35%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,000
103 (tie)Fashion Institute of Technology - New York, NY(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$426,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate74%
Time to GraduateN/A
Loan Amt$32,000
103 (tie)University of Texas at Dallas(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$426,000
Total 4 Year Cost$161,000
Grad Rate71%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,500
105University of Houston (UH)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$424,000
Total 4 Year Cost$131,000
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,500

*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.