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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121University of Wisconsin (UW) - Madison(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$406,000
Total 4 Year Cost$96,800
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,600
122 (tie)Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) - Erie-Behrend College(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$405,000
Total 4 Year Cost$124,000
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$33,900
122 (tie)University of Alaska - Anchorage Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$405,000
Total 4 Year Cost$81,600
Grad Rate25%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,700
122 (tie)University of California - Irvine (UCI)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$405,000
Total 4 Year Cost$218,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,300
122 (tie)University of Minnesota - Twin Cities(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$405,000
Total 4 Year Cost$129,000
Grad Rate78%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,300
126University of Delaware(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$404,000
Total 4 Year Cost$175,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,400
127 (tie)Michigan State University (MSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$403,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,200
127 (tie)Texas Tech University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$403,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,000
129 (tie)Prairie View A & M University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$402,000
Total 4 Year Cost$77,500
Grad Rate38%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,700
129 (tie)The College of William and Mary(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$402,000
Total 4 Year Cost$210,000
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,400
131 (tie)North Dakota State University (NDSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$400,000
Total 4 Year Cost$78,600
Grad Rate56%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$34,400
131 (tie)San Francisco State University (SFSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$400,000
Total 4 Year Cost$98,100
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,400
133 (tie)California State University - Sacramento (CSUS)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$398,000
Total 4 Year Cost$94,600
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,200
133 (tie)Rutgers University - Newark Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$398,000
Total 4 Year Cost$177,000
Grad Rate66%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,700
133 (tie)The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$398,000
Total 4 Year Cost$165,000
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$39,100

*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.