The best public colleges

Public colleges and universities rely primarily on public funds, whereas private schools are mainly funded by tuition, donations, and endowment investment. Public schools are much cheaper for in-state residents, and educational investment is, as a rule, repaid quicker than at private universities.  Lower cost does not mean lower quality or earning potential - many of the top earning schools are public. 

Filters

221 Results (Showing 20 of 221)

  • National Universities
  • Public Schools
  • Clear all filters
Sort By

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 measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Rankings: The ranking order is based on the economic score.The economic score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better.

Net cost
Payback
Earnings
EarningsPlus
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Public Schools | #1 in National Universities

CUNY City College

New York, New York

Economic score: 0.45

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $2,805

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $55,741

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

EarningsPlus: - $1,928

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 64%
Graduation rate: 59%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#2 in Public Schools | #4 in National Universities

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Economic score: 0.51

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $5,135

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $64,463

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

EarningsPlus: + $3,638

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 30%
Graduation rate: 88%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#3 in Public Schools | #8 in National Universities

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Economic score: 0.76

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $5,298

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $54,501

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

EarningsPlus: + $790

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 64%
Graduation rate: 70%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#4 in Public Schools | #11 in National Universities

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Economic score: 0.94

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $16,032

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

Payback: 1.2 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $80,364

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

EarningsPlus: + $18,102

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 14%
Graduation rate: 94%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#5 in Public Schools | #12 in National Universities

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia

Economic score: 0.95

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $14,974

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $88,196

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

EarningsPlus: + $11,876

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 16%
Graduation rate: 91%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#6 in Public Schools | #14 in National Universities

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Economic score: 1.01

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $14,878

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

Payback: 1.2 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $75,842

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

EarningsPlus: + $11,227

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 20%
Graduation rate: 93%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#7 in Public Schools | #15 in National Universities

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Economic score: 1.04

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $3,743

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $45,895

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

EarningsPlus: - $5,497

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 94%
Graduation rate: 56%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#8 in Public Schools | #16 in National Universities

University of California, Irvine

Irvine, California

Economic score: 1.10

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $12,209

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $71,961

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

EarningsPlus: + $141

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 29%
Graduation rate: 87%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#9 in Public Schools | #17 in National Universities

University of Washington

Seattle, Washington

Economic score: 1.14

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $12,017

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

Payback: 1.2 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $68,925

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

EarningsPlus: + $4,434

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 53%
Graduation rate: 84%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#10 in Public Schools | #18 in National Universities

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Rolla, Missouri

Economic score: 1.14

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $12,964

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

Payback: 1.2 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $80,289

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

EarningsPlus: + $1,783

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 85%
Graduation rate: 71%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#11 in Public Schools | #21 in National Universities

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

Economic score: 1.16

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $15,023

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $73,744

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

EarningsPlus: + $5,913

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 11%
Graduation rate: 92%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#12 in Public Schools | #22 in National Universities

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Economic score: 1.18

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $12,469

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $61,915

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

EarningsPlus: + $4,777

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 20%
Graduation rate: 91%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#13 in Public Schools | #23 in National Universities

University of Illinois Urbana, Champaign

Champaign, Illinois

Economic score: 1.18

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $14,321

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $71,539

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

EarningsPlus: + $7,228

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 60%
Graduation rate: 87%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#14 in Public Schools | #24 in National Universities

California State University, Fresno

Fresno, California

Economic score: 1.22

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $6,230

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $52,201

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

EarningsPlus: - $3,467

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 97%
Graduation rate: 71%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#15 in Public Schools | #25 in National Universities

California State University, Fullerton

Fullerton, California

Economic score: 1.29

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $8,003

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $54,586

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

EarningsPlus: + $292

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 59%
Graduation rate: 79%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#16 in Public Schools | #27 in National Universities

University of California, San Diego

La Jolla, California

Economic score: 1.30

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $15,240

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $74,771

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

EarningsPlus: + $1,770

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 34%
Graduation rate: 89%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#17 in Public Schools | #29 in National Universities

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Economic score: 1.33

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $9,946

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

Payback: 1.4 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $53,449

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

EarningsPlus: + $2,526

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 37%
Graduation rate: 83%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#18 in Public Schools | #30 in National Universities

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Economic score: 1.35

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $8,618

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

Payback: 1.4 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $51,912

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

EarningsPlus: + $23

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 36%
Graduation rate: 76%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#19 in Public Schools | #31 in National Universities

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

Economic score: 1.36

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $8,346

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

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $50,262

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

EarningsPlus: - $617

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 49%
Graduation rate: 76%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

#20 in Public Schools | #32 in National Universities

Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

Economic score: 1.42

The Economic Score is the combination of payback and earningsplus, and is how we determine a school’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

View school
Net cost: $13,377

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

Payback: 1.5 years

Payback measures how long it takes the average student to pay back the total cost of attending college with marginal earnings. Marginal earnings are the difference between what the average student would have earned before attending college and what they earn afterwards.

Earnings: $65,257

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

EarningsPlus: + $3,859

EarningsPlus compares student earnings after college against a benchmark that Degreechoices adjusts based on each school’s unique mix of academic programs and the in-state/out-of-state composition of the student body.

Admission rate: 69%
Graduation rate: 80%

Graduation rates below the school’s state average are shown in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (48%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

Show more