Most Affordable Colleges in the U.S.
When it comes to college in the U.S., most students and their families worry about the cost. Finding an affordable education is crucial, and several colleges have stepped up to provide high-quality learning without emptying your wallet.
The following institutions offer a great education without massive debt, according to ranking site Research.com.
10. Missouri University of Science and Technology
Undergraduate enrollment: 5,501
Location: Rolla, Missouri
At the top of our list of the most affordable U.S. colleges is the Missouri University of Science and Technology at $23,032 annually.
Rolla's main programs are in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees, including specialized engineering, computing, and technology. The school offers a wide range of engineering majors for undergrads, such as aerospace, mining, petroleum, and management. But if you're not into engineering, you can also study humanities and liberal arts.
One student revealed they "loved my time here at Missouri S&T so far... the opportunities and academics at this school are just awesome! I am not even an engineering major, and I have already gotten two job interviews as a sophomore.
"This school will prepare you very well for a career, no matter your degree. There's also a plethora of STEM degrees (Bachelors, Masters or even PhDs!) to choose from, as well as some interesting minors."
9. University of Georgia
Undergraduate enrollment: 30,714
Location: Athens, Georgia
To go to the University of Georgia in Athens, it will be about $22,972 per year. UGA is a land and sea grant university, meaning it's active in research related to agriculture and the sea. One unique aspect of UGA is the Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology, which was the first of its kind when it started in 2007.
Some famous UGA alumni include U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, Alton Brown from the Food Network, and members of the rock groups R.E.M and the B-52's. One alumnus said of the school and its location: "Top academics. Top sports. Well-adjusted and attractive students. A music mecca. A great education (and) a wonderful downtown and city."
8. North Carolina State University
Undergraduate enrollment: 26,254
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University (NC State), founded in 1887, is number 8 on our list and costs about $22,730 per year. This renowned public research university excels in academic disciplines, such as engineering, agriculture, and sciences. The school is part of the Research Triangle alongside Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
One religious studies major, who graduated in 2017, said, "The education I received continues to aid me in my work and in my continued studies as a graduate student. This, coupled with the university's substantial double major and dual degree options, means that State is a university for those interested in just about any field.
Add that to a close academic connection with other prestigious schools like Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill and you have a recipe for a great education."
7. The University of Utah
Undergraduate enrollment: 26,355
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
If wide open, breathtaking spaces are your thing, the University of Utah is an inexpensive way to learn and enjoy the great outdoors all while living in the city. Situated on over 1,500 acres in Salt Lake City, this school ranks No. 7 on our list, boasting an average tuition and fees of $10,287, along with room and board charges averaging $11,437. Add in the cost of books and supplies, which comes to an average of $960, and the total annual cost reaches $22,684.
The "U of U" is the major academic and research hub in the state and is home to several research centers and institutes, including the Brain Institute, the American West Center, and the Center for High Performance Computing.
One former student give the school high marks: "I have had a great experience so far. The professors are awesome and actually excited to be teaching. Most are doing research in their fields at the school. TAs are all masters students or above.
The financial aid makes this school accessible for everyone — they never turn away a student because of inability to pay."
6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Undergraduate enrollment: 20,210
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the sixth cheapest college on the list and the second of two North Carolina schools in the top ten.
With an an average total cost of $22,541 annually, (tuition and fees at $8,997, room and board costing $12,254, and about $1,290 for books and supplies), it's a real steal, according to one alum, Jonathan, who says, " When taking all factors into account, UNC-Chapel Hill may just be the top public university in the nation. At the lowest cost amongst its competitors, the most generous financial aid packages, top resources, top faculty, and one of the highest ROI outputs, Chapel Hill has topped the 'Best Value Rankings' for decades.
"Pair this fact with measurements for student happiness, campus culture, and location, and one cannot deny that this is an amazing school. I am a first-generation student, and my education at Carolina turned my life trajectory in an entirely positive direction. It was also the best few years of my life. I cannot recommend this school highly enough."
5. Purdue University
Undergraduate enrollment: 37,949
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
The fifth most budget-friendly education in the U.S. comes courtesy of Purdue, with an average total around $21,182 — tuition and fees ($9,992), room and board ($10,030), and books and other supplies ($1,160), making the total around $21,182.
Purdue is known for its top-notch programs in subjects like engineering and tech. It has a reputation for setting grads up for success, and the campus is bustling with all sorts of clubs and activities, making it a fun place to be. If you're into business and innovation, Purdue's got that covered, too.
"What I learned at Purdue [in Aerospace Engineering) has provided me with a lifetime of success at every turn. The combination of deep academics, lab work, and industry experienced professors make it the beat you can get," said a former student.
4. University of South Florida
Undergraduate enrollment: 38,046
Location: Tampa, Florida
The University of South Florida in Tampa takes the fourth spot, with an annual cost just $18 higher than the next school on this list. The school charges an average of $6,410 for tuition, $12,568 for room and board, and $1,100 for books and supplies.
Established in 1956 and one of the younger schools on our list, it's grown not only in size but respectability. One former student calls it "a research-intensive university, but professors still make time for you, bring you into their labs, and help you land jobs, scholarships, etc.
Some of my best mentors are at USF. The atmosphere is friendly but there is definitely a lot of competition, it just doesn't get toxic. There are so many opportunities in Tampa and the social life never dies even when people leave for break. The new dorms are just gorgeous and there is even a PUBLIX ON CAMPUS! Go Bulls!"
3. New Mexico State University
Undergraduate enrollment: 11,591
Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico
New Mexico State has a total cost of about $20,060 for a year. That includes about $7,568 for tuition and fees, around $11,252 for room and board, and an average of $1,240 for books and supplies.
Students have loads of program options in over 80 bachelor's degrees and more than 50 master's degrees. Plus, the school is ranked 33rd among public colleges in the country.
According to one happy graduate: "NMSU is one of the best colleges in the Southwest. It is not as expensive as other options in the region and you got a top-quality education. After graduating I got accepted to one of the best doctorate programs in my field."
2. Florida State University
Undergraduate enrollment: 32,936
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
If you like warmer weather all year around, you're in luck — Florida State University offers the second most affordable top-notch college education in the country. You'll spend approximately $1,000 on books and supplies, $7,493 on tuition, and $11,565 for room and board, making the total cost for a year $20,058. Plus, the school has a 37 percent acceptance rate.
Alumni highly recommend this public university. One graduate said: "FSU is the oldest university in Florida, most popular university in Florida, has the highest graduation rate for undergrads in the state, has renowned faculty, received the first chapter in the state for Phi Beta Kappa. and is known as the Berkeley of the South for its excellent academics and politically active student body. You could not make a better choice than FSU."
1. University of Florida
Undergraduate enrollment: 34,552
Location: Gainesville, Florida
The top most affordable school is also in the Sunshine State — students attending the University of Florida will pay an average annual cost of $20,045.
This university's 16 colleges, offer over 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate degrees. The school ranks 48th overall in the best colleges in America and is the ninth best public college in the country.
One student said, "I'm extremely happy at UF. The education is obviously elite, I really enjoy Gainesville, the campus is beautiful, and you cannot beat the value. In a day and age where student loans are such a big issue, very few schools can compete with the quality and affordability of a UF education."