The most affordable colleges best-colleges

Our most affordable school rankings are based on the average cost for students who receive at least $1 in federal aid. To be included in this list, the earnings of a school's attendees, minus the earnings of a typical high school graduate, must be at least enough to pay off their educational investment. In other words, 'affordability' means the lowest cost schools that offer positive economic benefit.

For more information on how we rank schools visit our methodology page.

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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
#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

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#37 in National University

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Admission rate: 83%

Grad rate: 60%

Net cost: $4,514

Payback: 1.1 Years

Earnings: $45,895

Vs. state average: + $948

Economic score: 1.06

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#32 in National University

California State University-Fresno

Fresno, California

Admission rate: 91%

Grad rate: 68%

Net cost: $5,464

Payback: 1.0 Years

Earnings: $52,201

Vs. state average: + $1,522

Economic score: 1.01

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#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

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#23 in National University

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Admission rate: 58%

Grad rate: 66%

Net cost: $7,296

Payback: 1.1 Years

Earnings: $54,501

Vs. state average: + $9,780

Economic score: 0.91

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#49 in National University

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

Admission rate: 50%

Grad rate: 72%

Net cost: $8,355

Payback: 1.3 Years

Earnings: $50,262

Vs. state average: + $5,541

Economic score: 1.18

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#161 in National University

Marshall University

Huntington, West Virginia

Admission rate: 90%

Grad rate: 49%

Net cost: $8,370

Payback: 2.1 Years

Earnings: $41,700

Vs. state average: - $5,374

Economic score: 2.34

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#259 in National University

New Mexico State University-Main Campus

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Admission rate: 63%

Grad rate: 53%

Net cost: $8,659

Payback: 3.0 Years

Earnings: $36,683

Vs. state average: - $2,492

Economic score: 3.18

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#172 in National University

The University of Texas at El Paso

El Paso, Texas

Admission rate: 100%

Grad rate: 48%

Net cost: $8,920

Payback: 2.4 Years

Earnings: $44,770

Vs. state average: - $177

Economic score: 2.40

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#118 in National University

Northern Kentucky University

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Admission rate: 88%

Grad rate: 49%

Net cost: $9,049

Payback: 2.0 Years

Earnings: $44,814

Vs. state average: + $1,674

Economic score: 1.96

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#97 in National University

University of Missouri-St Louis

Saint Louis, Missouri

Admission rate: 58%

Grad rate: 59%

Net cost: $9,435

Payback: 1.8 Years

Earnings: $48,360

Vs. state average: + $1,040

Economic score: 1.78

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#76 in National University

University of North Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Admission rate: 80%

Grad rate: 64%

Net cost: $9,606

Payback: 1.6 Years

Earnings: $49,338

Vs. state average: + $4,617

Economic score: 1.48

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#94 in National University

Texas Woman's University

Denton, Texas

Admission rate: 94%

Grad rate: 56%

Net cost: $9,617

Payback: 1.9 Years

Earnings: $49,724

Vs. state average: + $4,777

Economic score: 1.69

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#43 in National University

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Admission rate: 33%

Grad rate: 81%

Net cost: $9,789

Payback: 1.3 Years

Earnings: $53,449

Vs. state average: + $8,728

Economic score: 1.12

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#80 in National University

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

Admission rate: 75%

Grad rate: 62%

Net cost: $10,186

Payback: 1.7 Years

Earnings: $50,478

Vs. state average: + $5,757

Economic score: 1.51

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#70 in National University

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Admission rate: 46%

Grad rate: 72%

Net cost: $10,274

Payback: 1.6 Years

Earnings: $51,912

Vs. state average: + $7,191

Economic score: 1.40

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#205 in National University

North Carolina A & T State University

Greensboro, North Carolina

Admission rate: 57%

Grad rate: 54%

Net cost: $10,274

Payback: 2.6 Years

Earnings: $41,157

Vs. state average: - $914

Economic score: 2.65

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#255 in National University

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, Louisiana

Admission rate: 78%

Grad rate: 47%

Net cost: $10,453

Payback: 2.8 Years

Earnings: $41,304

Vs. state average: - $4,638

Economic score: 3.16

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#102 in National University

The University of Texas at Tyler

Tyler, Texas

Admission rate: 92%

Grad rate: 54%

Net cost: $10,974

Payback: 2.0 Years

Earnings: $49,446

Vs. state average: + $4,499

Economic score: 1.82

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#174 in National University

University of New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

Admission rate: 83%

Grad rate: 44%

Net cost: $11,193

Payback: 2.4 Years

Earnings: $46,502

Vs. state average: + $560

Economic score: 2.41

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