# Best national universities

National Universities include large public universities economically advantageous to in-state residents, and the storied private universities catering to the nation's elite students. Schools included in our national universities category must offer a wide variety of undergraduate majors, as well as a variety of masters and doctoral programs.

Interested in how we calculate our rankings? Read our methodology.

**Net cost**: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

**Earnings**: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

**Payback**: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

**Earnings plus**: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state.

**Rankings**: The ranking order is based on the economic score. The economic score is calculated using a school’s payback and earnings*plus *performance.

#### Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earnings*plus.
*

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $50,066

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% *in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### Stanford University

Stanford, California

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earnings*plus.
*

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $47,119

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% *in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### CUNY City College

New York, New York

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earnings*plus.
*

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $51

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% *in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $19,742

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $46,303

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $43,464

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $61,487

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $31,796

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $51,044

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $49,668

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### University of California-Berkeley

Berkeley, California

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $29,685

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### Missouri University of Science and Technology

Rolla, Missouri

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $32,969

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $36,117

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### Rice University

Houston, Texas

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $32,736

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $47,089

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### University of California-Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $23,065

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### University of California-San Diego

La Jolla, California

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $24,092

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $19,844

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Seattle, Washington

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $23,966

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#### Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

*plus.
*

Average time in years to *pay back* educational costs.

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

^{Plus}: + $17,160

*in their state* are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.