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2022 best colleges in the United States best-colleges

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.

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393 Results (Showing 20 of 393)

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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.

Degree premium: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state. This is called “Vs. state average” in school profiles below.

Ranking: The payback rate is divided by the degree premium (set as a percentage), the lower the number the higher the rank. (i.e. payback=1, degree premium 20% higher than state school median: 1/120% = .883.

Net cost
Earnings
Payback
Degree premium
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in National University

Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

Admission rate: 6%

Grad rate: 97%

Net cost: $11,317

Payback: Under a year

Earnings: $95,689

Vs. state average: + $50,066

Economic score: 0.31

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#2 in National University

Stanford University

Stanford, California

Admission rate: 6%

Grad rate: 96%

Net cost: $11,496

Payback: Under a year

Earnings: $97,798

Vs. state average: + $47,119

Economic score: 0.36

school_link Go to School
#3 in National University

CUNY City College

New York, New York

Admission rate: 51%

Grad rate: 54%

Net cost: $2,385

Payback: Under 6 months

Earnings: $55,741

Vs. state average: + $51

Economic score: 0.37

school_link Go to School
#4 in National University

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Admission rate: 32%

Grad rate: 88%

Net cost: $6,302

Payback: Under a year

Earnings: $64,463

Vs. state average: + $19,742

Economic score: 0.45

school_link Go to School
#5 in National University

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus

Atlanta, Georgia

Admission rate: 22%

Grad rate: 90%

Net cost: $14,739

Payback: 1.0 Years

Earnings: $88,196

Vs. state average: + $46,303

Economic score: 0.49

school_link Go to School
#6 in National University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Admission rate: 8%

Grad rate: 96%

Net cost: $16,636

Payback: Under a year

Earnings: $111,222

Vs. state average: + $43,464

Economic score: 0.50

school_link Go to School
#7 in National University

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

Admission rate: 7%

Grad rate: 93%

Net cost: $24,274

Payback: 1.2 Years

Earnings: $112,166

Vs. state average: + $61,487

Economic score: 0.52

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#8 in National University

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Admission rate: 27%

Grad rate: 93%

Net cost: $15,336

Payback: 1.2 Years

Earnings: $75,842

Vs. state average: + $31,796

Economic score: 0.70

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#9 in National University

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Admission rate: 8%

Grad rate: 96%

Net cost: $27,020

Payback: 1.6 Years

Earnings: $93,115

Vs. state average: + $51,044

Economic score: 0.70

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#10 in National University

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Admission rate: 9%

Grad rate: 97%

Net cost: $25,802

Payback: 1.4 Years

Earnings: $103,246

Vs. state average: + $49,668

Economic score: 0.71

school_link Go to School
#11 in National University

University of California-Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Admission rate: 18%

Grad rate: 93%

Net cost: $15,329

Payback: 1.2 Years

Earnings: $80,364

Vs. state average: + $29,685

Economic score: 0.74

school_link Go to School
#12 in National University

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Rolla, Missouri

Admission rate: 82%

Grad rate: 68%

Net cost: $14,262

Payback: 1.3 Years

Earnings: $80,289

Vs. state average: + $32,969

Economic score: 0.74

school_link Go to School
#13 in National University

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

Admission rate: 12%

Grad rate: 94%

Net cost: $19,432

Payback: 1.4 Years

Earnings: $79,872

Vs. state average: + $36,117

Economic score: 0.75

school_link Go to School
#14 in National University

Rice University

Houston, Texas

Admission rate: 11%

Grad rate: 95%

Net cost: $16,999

Payback: 1.3 Years

Earnings: $77,683

Vs. state average: + $32,736

Economic score: 0.77

school_link Go to School
#15 in National University

Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia

Admission rate: 17%

Grad rate: 94%

Net cost: $28,909

Payback: 1.6 Years

Earnings: $96,375

Vs. state average: + $47,089

Economic score: 0.82

school_link Go to School
#16 in National University

University of California-Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

Admission rate: 15%

Grad rate: 92%

Net cost: $14,279

Payback: 1.2 Years

Earnings: $73,744

Vs. state average: + $23,065

Economic score: 0.83

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#17 in National University

University of California-San Diego

La Jolla, California

Admission rate: 37%

Grad rate: 89%

Net cost: $14,232

Payback: 1.3 Years

Earnings: $74,771

Vs. state average: + $24,092

Economic score: 0.85

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#18 in National University

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Admission rate: 26%

Grad rate: 90%

Net cost: $12,352

Payback: 1.3 Years

Earnings: $61,915

Vs. state average: + $19,844

Economic score: 0.86

school_link Go to School
#19 in National University

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Seattle, Washington

Admission rate: 56%

Grad rate: 84%

Net cost: $13,297

Payback: 1.3 Years

Earnings: $68,925

Vs. state average: + $23,966

Economic score: 0.88

school_link Go to School
#20 in National University

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Admission rate: 6%

Grad rate: 98%

Net cost: $15,386

Payback: 1.1 Years

Earnings: $84,918

Vs. state average: + $17,160

Economic score: 0.89

school_link Go to School
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