The most affordable 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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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.

Earningsplus: 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 earningsplus performance.

Net cost
Payback
Earnings
EarningsPlus
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Most Affordable Schools | #3 in National Universities

CUNY City College

New York, New York

Economic score: 0.37

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $2,385

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

Payback: Under 6 months

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $55,741

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

EarningsPlus: + $51

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

Admission rate: 51%
Graduation rate: 54%

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.

#2 in Most Affordable Schools | #37 in National Universities

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Economic score: 1.06

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $4,514

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

Payback: 1.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $45,895

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

EarningsPlus: + $948

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

Admission rate: 83%
Graduation rate: 60%

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.

#3 in Most Affordable Schools | #32 in National Universities

California State University-Fresno

Fresno, California

Economic score: 1.01

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $5,464

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

Payback: 1 year

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $52,201

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

EarningsPlus: + $1,522

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

Admission rate: 91%
Graduation rate: 68%

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.

#4 in Most Affordable Schools | #4 in National Universities

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Economic score: 0.45

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $6,302

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

Payback: Under a year

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $64,463

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

EarningsPlus: + $19,742

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

Admission rate: 32%
Graduation rate: 88%

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.

#5 in Most Affordable Schools | #23 in National Universities

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Economic score: 0.91

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $7,296

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

Payback: 1.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $54,501

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

EarningsPlus: + $9,780

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

Admission rate: 58%
Graduation rate: 66%

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.

#6 in Most Affordable Schools | #49 in National Universities

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

Economic score: 1.18

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $8,355

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

Payback: 1.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $50,262

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

EarningsPlus: + $5,541

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

Admission rate: 50%
Graduation rate: 72%

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.

#7 in Most Affordable Schools | #161 in National Universities

Marshall University

Huntington, West Virginia

Economic score: 2.34

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $8,370

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

Payback: 2.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $41,700

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

EarningsPlus: - $5,374

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

Admission rate: 90%
Graduation rate: 49%

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.

#8 in Most Affordable Schools | #259 in National Universities

New Mexico State University-Main Campus

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Economic score: 3.18

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $8,659

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

Payback: 3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $36,683

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

EarningsPlus: - $2,492

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

Admission rate: 63%
Graduation rate: 53%

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.

#9 in Most Affordable Schools | #172 in National Universities

The University of Texas at El Paso

El Paso, Texas

Economic score: 2.40

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $8,920

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

Payback: 2.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $44,770

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

EarningsPlus: - $177

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

Admission rate: 100%
Graduation rate: 48%

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.

#10 in Most Affordable Schools | #118 in National Universities

Northern Kentucky University

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Economic score: 1.96

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $9,049

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

Payback: 2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $44,814

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

EarningsPlus: + $1,674

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

Admission rate: 88%
Graduation rate: 49%

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.

#11 in Most Affordable Schools | #97 in National Universities

University of Missouri-St Louis

Saint Louis, Missouri

Economic score: 1.78

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $9,435

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

Payback: 1.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $48,360

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

EarningsPlus: + $1,040

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

Admission rate: 58%
Graduation rate: 59%

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.

#12 in Most Affordable Schools | #76 in National Universities

University of North Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Economic score: 1.48

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $9,606

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

Payback: 1.6 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $49,338

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

EarningsPlus: + $4,617

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

Admission rate: 80%
Graduation rate: 64%

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.

#13 in Most Affordable Schools | #94 in National Universities

Texas Woman's University

Denton, Texas

Economic score: 1.69

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $9,617

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

Payback: 1.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $49,724

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

EarningsPlus: + $4,777

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

Admission rate: 94%
Graduation rate: 56%

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.

#14 in Most Affordable Schools | #43 in National Universities

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Economic score: 1.12

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $9,789

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

Payback: 1.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $53,449

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

EarningsPlus: + $8,728

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

Admission rate: 33%
Graduation rate: 81%

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.

#15 in Most Affordable Schools | #80 in National Universities

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

Economic score: 1.51

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $10,186

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

Payback: 1.7 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $50,478

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

EarningsPlus: + $5,757

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

Admission rate: 75%
Graduation rate: 62%

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.

#16 in Most Affordable Schools | #70 in National Universities

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Economic score: 1.40

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $10,274

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

Payback: 1.6 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $51,912

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

EarningsPlus: + $7,191

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

Admission rate: 46%
Graduation rate: 72%

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.

#17 in Most Affordable Schools | #205 in National Universities

North Carolina A & T State University

Greensboro, North Carolina

Economic score: 2.65

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $10,274

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

Payback: 2.6 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $41,157

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

EarningsPlus: - $914

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

Admission rate: 57%
Graduation rate: 54%

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.

#18 in Most Affordable Schools | #255 in National Universities

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, Louisiana

Economic score: 3.16

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $10,453

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

Payback: 2.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $41,304

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

EarningsPlus: - $4,638

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

Admission rate: 78%
Graduation rate: 47%

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.

#19 in Most Affordable Schools | #102 in National Universities

The University of Texas at Tyler

Tyler, Texas

Economic score: 1.82

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $10,974

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

Payback: 2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $49,446

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

EarningsPlus: + $4,499

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

Admission rate: 92%
Graduation rate: 54%

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.

#20 in Most Affordable Schools | #174 in National Universities

University of New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

Economic score: 2.41

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 earningsplus.

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).

View school
Net cost: $11,193

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

Payback: 2.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $46,502

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

EarningsPlus: + $560

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

Admission rate: 83%
Graduation rate: 44%

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.

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