By Iris Stone
Let’s face it – deciding where you want to go to college is one of the more important decisions you’ll make in your life. While it’s certainly possible to enjoy a decent educational experience no matter where you go, it’s definitely useful to consider your options carefully. From academic quality to selection of majors to campus size to local weather, it can be overwhelming to try to weigh all the pros and cons. We certainly can’t predict the best fit for you, but we do know that one factor typically makes it onto everyone’s list: cost. Especially if you want to go to a large school with a seemingly endless list of opportunities and resources, it can be difficult to find a school that fits your budget. And if you want to go to school out of state, the search becomes even harder.
To get you started, we came up with a list of the 100 most affordable universities in the country. Now to clarify, we know that technically any size school can call itself a “university,” but for our purposes we chose to focus exclusively on schools of moderate to large size; in other words, colleges with 4,000 students or more (if you’re looking for an affordable small college, we have another ranking just for you!).
So how did we come up with such a list? Our first step was to create a database of every single institution of higher education in the United States. From this list of nearly 2,700 colleges, we then eliminated community colleges, graduate schools, and specialty schools (for example, seminaries or pre-professional schools that would appeal only to a small subset of applicants). As our focus was on traditional four-year colleges, we also eliminated schools that don’t admit first-time undergraduates. This dropped our list of candidates to about 1,900, at which point we collected data on student enrollment. Motivated by our “small college” ranking, which used 4,000 students as a cut-off point, we sorted the remaining schools to show only those universities with enrollment north of 4,000. This left us with approximately 650 colleges to consider for our ranking.
Finally, we ranked colleges based on their “net price,” a figure that in many cases is more accurate than reporting tuition rates alone. These figures come from College Navigator, a government-run data website that determines net price:
“…by subtracting the average amount of federal, state/local government, or institutional grant or scholarship aid from the total cost of attendance. Total cost of attendance is the sum of published tuition and required fees (lower of in-district or in-state), books and supplies, and the weighted average for room and board and other expenses.” – College Navigator
This net price then gives students a more accurate assessment (although not necessarily precise for everyone) of what they can expect to pay in total costs per year at any given school. And ta-da! You have your list: the 100 universities with the lowest net prices are described below, arranged from most to least expensive. If you can believe it, even the most expensive of these universities has a net price that barely tops $10,000 a year, suggesting that you’ll get great “bang for your buck” with any of the 100 universities we detail below.
Jump to Universities
100. University of Massachusetts – Boston
Although the main campus of the University of Massachusetts is actually in Amherst, the state school also hosts students in one of the most well known cities in the country – Boston. UMass Boston holds national recognition for urban, scenic waterfront location; premier academics; and vast resources for research and internships. The 16,000+ students who gather on campus every year can choose from nearly 200 undergraduate and graduate programs, a figure that rivals even the largest national universities. From Africana Studies to Social Psychology to Biochemistry and everything in between, this New England college offers more than enough to keep you busy. Intriguing minors in Clean Energy and Sustainability, Human Rights, and Native American and Indigenous Studies (to name a few) can supplement your studies in a unique way.
Net Price: $10,575
Student Body: 16,277
99. Southern Polytechnic State University
Southern Polytechnic State certainly isn’t the only tech-focused university out there, but it is one of the most affordable colleges to offer such specialized science and technology training. What’s more, SPSU takes the extra time to offer students an education that focuses on practical applications and career training. Students travel from nearly 70 different countries to the town of Marietta, which is just a short drive from Atlanta, to experience the bright professors and hands-on instruction that characterize Southern Polytechnic State. Between the School of Architecture and Construction Management, the School of Computing and Software Engineering, the School of Engineering Technology and Management, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Engineering, you’ll undoubtedly find a major that will successfully prepare you for secure work in a STEM field.
Net Price: $10,562
Student Body: 6,549
98. University of Illinois – Springfield
The Springfield location of the University of Illinois is just one of three campuses affiliated with this “world-class” institution. Although the approximate student enrollment is just 5,000 – smaller than what you’d expect from a popular state school – UI Springfield is not short on resources. The campus consists of an impressive 746 acres that hosts academic buildings, residential halls, and research labs, the latter of which enjoys $7 million in annual funding. Students can choose from two-dozen different majors, the most popular of which include Business Administration, Computer Science, Psychology, Accountancy, Biology, and Criminal Justice.
Net Price: $10,516
Student Body: 5,137
97. University of North Carolina – Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina
If you follow college basketball, you’re probably quite familiar with UNC Chapel Hill’s stellar athletic (and academic) reputation. Fortunately, the state’s Charlotte reputation offers comparable learning opportunities in an attractive urban location with an appealing low price. As the state’s main research university, UNC Charlotte is one of the best choices on this affordable college ranking if you’re interested in working in a lab or conducting academic studies. The 1,000-acre campus hosts students at every level, from undergraduate to professional programs, and puts a heavy emphasis on regional community engagement.
Net Price: $10,442
Student Body: 8,555
96. California State University – Northridge
CSU at Northridge is just one of several West Coast universities to make this list, and is also one of the cheapest accredited colleges you could choose to call home. Despite placing 96th out of 100, California State’s Northridge location nonetheless maintains a net price close to $10,000 annually. As such, almost 40,000 students every year choose CSU Northridge as the headquarters for their culminating academic experience. Nestled in the heart of San Fernando Valley, Cal State at Northridge offers majors ranging from Biochemistry and Clinical Psychology to Queer Studies and Speech Communication. Numerous research centers and institutes explore interdisciplinary topics in arts, media, and communication; community health and well being; sustainability, and much more.
Net Price: $10,442
Student Body: 8,555
95. University of Michigan – Flint
Students at the University of Michigan at Flint “expect more” from their campus. UM refers to their education as “an uncommon education for the common man,” and give students plenty of opportunities to engage both in and out of the classroom. From resident life to campus organizations to captivating lectures, you’ll see in no time why Flint refers to their grounds as the “ideal learning environment.” Students move beyond superficial understanding and work to engage deeply with the topics that interest them, from Actuarial Mathematics and Research Psychology to Molecular Biology and the Philosophy of Neuro-ethics. UM students also have a wide range of certificate, minor, and honors programs from which to choose.
Net Price: $10,442
Student Body: 8,555
94. Jackson State University
Jackson State University offers much more than just a cheap college education. For less than you’d pay for a new car, you can tap into a wealth of resources and events at JSU, including the Center for Service and Community Engaged Learning; the Center for Student Engagement and Inclusion; and numerous competitive sports. When it comes to academics, you’ll choose from more than 90 degree programs at the bachelor’s and graduate degree levels, including doctoral programs. The student-to-faculty ratio is just 15:1, ensuring that students build close relationships with professors and classmates as they work to understand behavioral and environmental studies, rehabilitation counseling, civil and environmental engineering, communicative disorders, and more.
Net Price: $10,385
Student Body: 9,134
93. University of North Alabama
The University of North Alabama combines small class sizes (the student-to-faculty ratio is just 21:1) and community activities with big-time collegiate sports and more than 100 campus organizations. If you choose to live on campus, you’ll enjoy warm weather, manicured lawns, and LIVE mascots. That’s right: UNA actually keeps two African lions on campus to boost school spirit. All of the university’s programs hold accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, while specialized departments hold additional, relevant accreditations from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, Applied Science Accreditation Commission, and the Computing Accreditation, Commission, among others.
Net Price: $10,370
Student Body: 6,931
92. Southwestern Oklahoma State University
With an average student enrollment below 5,000, Southwestern Oklahoma State University barely makes the cut for this list of mid-size to large U.S. institutions. But despite its small stature, there’s no “close cut” here when it comes to price. SWOSU easily sails onto our affordable college ranking thanks to its low tuition and plentiful scholarship opportunities. SWOSU students are laid-back and friendly, taking time to relax and get to know each other between classes in language and literature, chemistry and physics, interdisciplinary studies, mathematics, art and communication, and medical sciences.
Net Price: $10,242
Student Body: 4,942
91. Weber State University
Get ready for a life full of fun, friends, and finding yourself at Weber State. Despite its somewhat obscure Utah location, WSU nonetheless attracts over 25,000 students to its sprawling campus on an annual basis. The school envisions itself as a model for “dual-mission” teaching – an attitude that encourages service and community with scholastic achievement. Students can take classes online or on campus, and those living locally have plenty of opportunities to cheer on their beloved Wildcats at sporting events, join a campus club, and attend engaging Speakers Series lectures. Weber State also hosts a unique “Putting Student Through” (PST) program, which encourages graduates to honor mentors and professors who have been critical to their academic success.
Net Price: $10,209
Student Body: 25,155
90. Chicago State University
City living can be expensive, but a city education doesn’t have to be! You can find a spot as a residential student at Chicago State University, located in the Midwest’s biggest city, for an incredibly reasonable annual price. CSU is fully accredited and committed to growth – best evidenced by its impressive expansion from just 62 students over a century ago to more than 5,000 today. Chicago State splits its academic units into several main colleges: Arts & Sciences, Education, Business, Health Sciences, and Pharmacy, as well as departments for continuing education, graduate studies, and the honors program.
Net Price: $10,203
Student Body: 5,701
89. Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina
If you’re looking for breathtaking views and energizing classes, Appalachian State University might be the school for you. Although the large student enrollment suggests that students will at times feel overwhelmed or lost, that couldn’t be further from the truth at ASU. Students get the best of both public research and liberal arts education and can choose from a whopping 150 different academic programs. When you’re not in class, take a look out your window to the Blue Ridge Mountains, or get out the door and go visit them on hiking, biking, and climbing trips. In an effort to cultivate a “community of learning,” ASU combines traditional classroom learning with internships, research assistantships, international trips, and service-learning opportunities that can help you prepare for a successful career in your chosen field.
Net Price: $10,203
Student Body: 17,838
88. Indiana University – Southeast
New Albany, Indiana
Indiana University is one of the largest, most well known, most well respected universities in the Midwest. Students spread out across several campuses in Indiana, including the moderately-sized New Albany location. IU welcomes freshmen, transfer students, and adult and online learners alike, all of whom choose IU Southeast for its affordability, reputation, and useful resources. The university focuses primarily on four-year degree and thus devotes substantial attention to undergraduate education. Such degrees include Biology, Criminology, Geosciences, Germanic Studies, and Sociology. Depending on your area of interest, you might also be attracted to one of the school’s graduate or certificate programs.
Net Price: $10,184
Student Body: 6,733
87. Stanford University
Stanford is one of the most elite universities in the country, holding an almost unbeatable reputation for its wide-ranging academic programs. In particular, students often choose Stanford for its premier computer science, physics, medicine, and engineering classes. Although no one would dare call Stanford “cheap,” we can say that it is one of the cheapest accredited colleges you could choose, especially when considering the quality education you receive in exchange for such a minimal investment. Stanford’s generous financial aid programs and commitment to assisting below-average income families sets it apart from other top universities that may inadvertently limit their admissions to wealthier applicants.
Net Price: $10,109
Student Body: 18,346
86. University of Houston – Victoria
Another choice for students who want to attend a cheap college is the University of Houston at Victoria, a smaller school that still has plenty to offer. Academic programs find a home within one of four overarching departments: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business Administration, the School of Education and Human Development, or the School of Nursing. As an undergraduate, you might choose to major in Creative Writing, Digital Gaming and Simulation, Supply Chain Management, or Special Education – to name a few – while graduate students can tackle anything from Biomedical Sciences to Publishing.
Net Price: $10,055
Student Body: 4,491
85. Texas A&M University – Commerce
Texas A&M University has a pretty big name in the South, but its sizable stature doesn’t inhibit the school’s ability to offer students the personalized attention they deserve. Students apply to the Commerce campus for its 100+ undergraduate and graduate degrees; the attentive professors who frequently act as mentors; and the millions of dollars annually that support scientific and technological research. Texas A&M at Commerce also offers 18 study abroad programs each year and plenty of internship opportunities in nearby Dallas. The university also offers an incredible $75 million in financial aid to incoming and returning students, making it even easier for you to afford the already reasonable public school tuition.
Net Price: $9,971
Student Body: 11,591
84. San Diego State University
San Diego, California
Leadership is a guiding principle that governs SDSU’s approach to academics, and its commitment to developing positive community members is one of the reasons it has received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report. Top programs at San Diego State include rehabilitation counseling, clinical psychology, public health, speech language pathology, and nursing midwifery. San Diego State also encourages its students to indulge their entrepreneurial and innovative passions, and Forbes even listed the school as one of America’s most entrepreneurial universities. SDSU has a growing reputation for academic excellence that attracts more honors students and Merit scholars every year.
Net Price: $9,856
Student Body: 31,899
83. Indiana University – Kokomo
Whether you want to study Medical Imaging Technology, Cytotechnology, Hospitality and Tourism, Leadership, New Media Communication, or Informatics, Indiana University at Kokomo has got you covered. A smaller campus compared to its Bloomington counterpart, this university maintains a student body that rides the line between “small” and “midsized.” For students looking for more manageable class sizes (Kokomo’s student-to-faculty ratio is just 18:1), IU at Kokomo offers both a small community and grand resources. Between numerous international opportunities and on-campus organizations and events, you and your 4,000 classmates will never be bored.
Net Price: $9,834
Student Body: 4,178
82. West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia
West Virginia University attracts nearly 30,000 every year to its expansive campus, which boasts a whopping 15,880 acres (no, that’s not a typo). Morgantown is also one of the most attractive small cities in America, receiving recognition form Forbes and Business Insider for its college friendliness, sports teams, and affordability. WVU is also ideally located between Pittsburgh; Cleveland; Columbus; and Washington, D.C., making it the perfect choice for students who want access to big-city resources without actually having to live in one. The Carnegie Foundation classifies West Virginia University as a “high research activity” institution, and all programs hold accreditation from at least one institution (the Higher Learning Commission).
Net Price: $9,826
Student Body: 29,466
81. Vincennes University
You may not have heard of Vincennes University before, but you should hear about it now: VU is the oldest institution of higher learning in Indiana and one of the oldest in America, with a reputation for learning that spans three centuries. Students at Vincennes have the freedom to roam 160 acres along the banks of the Wabash River, enjoying a campus spotted with traditional brick buildings and careful landscaping. Academic options at this affordable public university cover every interest area you could imagine, from Accounting to Horticulture to Web Programming and everything in between. In addition to B.A. and B.S. degrees, Vincennes also provides numerous opportunities at the certificate and associate’s levels.
Net Price: $9,805
Student Body: 18,383
80. University of Arkansas – Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas
Another one of the best state schools on this list is the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a mid-sized college with more than 100 undergraduate degrees and over 60 graduate programs. Regardless of your past educational experience, UA has it all. Training certificates; Associate’s of Arts, Sciences, and Applied Sciences; Bachelor’s of Arts, Applied Sciences, Sciences, Music, Fine Arts, Professional Studies, Education, and Social Work – all are available at Little Rock. You might also consider exploring a minor or an “extended program,” taking intensive English language classes or pursuing Interdisciplinary Study, or applying for teacher licensure.
Net Price: $9,793
Student Body: 12,377
79. Murray State University
Students at Murray State University truly do have “remarkable opportunities.” With almost 120 different academic options at the undergraduate level, MSU learners can tackle subjects as diverse as advertising and animal science, telecommunications and criminal justice. While completing their education, nearly 40% of MSU students participate in an internship or co-op experience, and many more join in on transformative study abroad opportunities. Although you will certainly find the technology and resources here that one would expect from a state institution, you’ll also find “personal learning” and attentive professors who often keep classes at 21 students or fewer.
Net Price: $9,765
Student Body: 10,943
78. Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University pushes its way onto this list of the cheapest accredited colleges with great tuition prices, plentiful financial aid packages, and valuable academic resources. It is the largest regional, comprehensive university in the state and boasts two smaller campuses outside of Portales. It has been federally designated as a “Hispanic Serving” institution and is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Whether you’re a minority or not, you’ll be welcome at ENMU, a university with more than 60 associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs; a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio; and a 95% student satisfaction rate. Eastern New Mexico has one of the lowest tuition prices of any Southwestern college and offers in-state rates to Texas residents within a 135-mile radius.
Net Price: $9,695
Student Body: 5,847
77. Savannah State University
Savannah State University fits in well in historic Savannah, thanks to its equally rich history. It is the oldest public Historically Black College in the state and over the last 125 years has grown into a 200+ acre campus serving 4,500+ students. If you choose to become an SSU “Tiger,” you’ll have the freedom to choose from degree programs in Behavior Analysis, Civil Engineering Technology, Forensic Science, Marine Sciences, Sociology, and more. You may also pick a pre-professional track in preparation for advanced study in Law, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science, or Medicine. You can also support numerous successful athletic teams – in fact, the women’s basketball team just became the 2015 MEAC Champions!
Net Price: $9,657
Student Body: 4,772
76. Missouri Western State University
St. Joseph, Missouri
Missouri Western State University had humble beginnings as a junior college back in the early 1900s, but proudly earned four-year, “state university” status in the 1970s. MWSU touts accreditations from multiple councils and commissions, from the American Bar Association to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. In addition to one-year certifications and two-year associate’s degrees, the university also offers four-year and graduate programs that aptly meld liberal arts education with career training. In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences you will find opportunities ranging from Chemistry to Geography, while the Craig School of Business and the School of Fine Arts offer programs in Theatre, Cinema, Finance, and more.
Net Price: $9,652
Student Body: 5,795
75. North Carolina Central University
Durham, North Carolina
North Carolina is full of great choices for students who want an affordable education, from low-cost public schools to some of the cheapest private colleges around. NCCU is one such option, offering liberal arts degrees, research experiences, and service learning opportunities for a fraction of what you’d be expected to pay elsewhere. The university boasts two state-of-the-art biotechnology research facilities, an on-campus art museum, a pioneering LGBTA center, and a reputable Institute for Homeland Security and Workforce Development. Uniquely, NCCU also requires all students to engage in community service and actually mandates 120 hours of volunteer work as part of their graduation requirements.
Net Price: $9,634
Student Body: 8,093
74. University of North Carolina – Pembroke
Pembroke, North Carolina
Speaking of North Carolina, UNC Pembroke also provides plenty of reasons to include them on our affordable college ranking. Pembroke might not have the all-star basketball team for which its Chapel Hill neighbor is known, but it does offer a culturally diverse student body, a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and a rural setting that provides a relaxing getaway for busy learners. Whether you’re looking to get a degree in Applied Physics, Mass Communication, Nursing, or Philosophy and Religion, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke has what you need. The school also supplies students with an impressive – and unique – spread of minors, including British Studies, International Sociology, Media Integration Studies, Quantitative Finance, and Sacred Music.
Net Price: $9,632
Student Body: 6,222
73. New Jersey City University
Jersey City, New Jersey
There are plenty of reasons to love New Jersey, one of which is its proximity to the Big Apple. Many settle into Jersey City as a way to mitigate their living expenses without sacrificing the excitement of urban entertainment. As a university, NJCU offers world-class opportunities and fully accredited academics just a quick trip from Manhattan. In classes that average just 24 students, you’ll progress quickly through one of more than 40 undergraduate programs. Outside of the classroom you’ll mean an incredibly diverse set of classmates as you explore Greek life, student organizations, robust athletics, laboratory research, and nearby cultural events.
Net Price: $9,596
Student Body: 8,442
72. University of North Carolina – Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Jumpstart your education at UNC Greensboro, another affordable college hailing from North Carolina. Greensboro has received an impressive amount of recognition for its online classes, but these accolades haven’t shifted the school’s focus away from traditional coursework. The challenging academic programs cover Anthropology, Archaeology, Nutrition, Peace and Conflict Studies, Biology, Interior Architecture, Classical Studies, Professions in Deafness, Retail Studies, Sustainable Tourism, and a plethora of other options you might not find elsewhere. In addition, Greensboro’s selection of pre-professional programs will prepare you for everything from Law to Engineering to Occupational Therapy to Dentistry.
Net Price: $9,581
Student Body: 18,074
71. University of Washington – Seattle
The University of Washington at Seattle is one of the largest schools on our affordable college ranking, easily dwarfing its two neighboring campuses (both of which are also included in this selection). 50,000+ students each year choose or return to UW Seattle because of its distinguished academic reputation – a reputation that has earned it a #10 spot on Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s list of top schools in the world. Students include a multitude of Fulbright and Rhodes Scholars and international applicants from all over the world. 16 colleges and schools within the University of Washington collectively offer more than 1,800 classes every term, giving you the best possible education in any topic you could possibly imagine. And we mean it – whether you want to study Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Bioethics, Canadian Studies, Digital Arts and Experimental Media, Genome Sciences, Nephrology, Prosthetics, or Urban Design, UW can get you there.
Net Price: $9,559
Student Body: 43,762
70. University of Michigan – Dearborn
At the Dearborn campus of the University of Michigan, you’ll find high-quality academics at an affordable price. Many students choose to attend the central school in Ann Arbor, but those looking for a somewhat smaller town with more manageable class sizes can attend Dearborn instead. The college emphasizes its intent to produce “Difference Makers” – innovators and creative thinkers who will play a central role in the greatest ideas and inventions of the future. The University of Michigan offers a multiplicity of degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level, plus numerous experiential learning opportunities through internships and research assistantships.
Net Price: $9,512
Student Body: 8,748
69. University of Washington – Bothell
UW Bothell is another ideal choice for students who seek a traditional state college experience on a slightly smaller campus. The campus has significantly fewer students than the related Seattle institution, but it offers a similar breadth of academic majors and extracurricular activities. In fact, Money magazine recently lauded this affordable college for its educational quality, alumni earnings, and low overall cost. Washington Monthly and the Center for Education Reform make similar claims about the University of Washington at Bothell, placing the campus among an elite group of high value colleges. Students at the university (nearly 90% of whom are in-state) can complete undergraduate degrees in American Ethnic Studies, Climate Science and Policy, Interactive Media Design, Mathematical Thinking and Visualization, or Mechanical Engineering, to name but a few.
Net Price: $9,400
Student Body: 4,604
68. University of Wisconsin – Parkside
Students at the University of Wisconsin at Parkside can choose from an impressive spread of degree options, including 37 majors, 40 minors, and an array of certificates and pre-professional programs. Course options cover everything from Applied Health Sciences and Exercise Science to Sustainable Management and Theatre Arts. UW Parkside’s certificates cover even more unique areas of study, including Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Mental Health Skills, Piano Pedagogy and Literature, and World Wide Web Publishing. The 700-acre campus also offers students plenty of opportunities outside the classroom, including a complete Frisbee golf course!
Net Price: $9,348
Student Body: 4,578
67. University of Central Arkansas
The University of Central Arkansas is one of the cheapest colleges in the nation for students seeking quality academics and a midsize campus – and student enrollment continues to grow. In just four years, UCA has increased the size of its freshman class by nearly 500, a reliable testament to its appeal in the region. Students at Central Arkansas enjoy a sizable athletic program, active Greek life and student organizations, plus engaging academic degree options. Undergraduates might explore Elementary Education, Military Science, Physical Therapy, Environmental Sciences, World Languages, and more. You might also consider applying to the Honors College or signing up for a study abroad program.
Net Price: $9,348
Student Body: 11,534
66. University of Hawaii – Hilo
If you want to attend a state university with a manageable student body and unbeatable weather, look no further than the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The Hilo campus is smaller than some of Hawaii’s other state colleges, but it still offers the same great island setting. 90% of faculty members are full time and class sizes often fall below 22, meaning you’ll get plenty of attention from highly experienced professors. UH Hilo focuses primarily on undergraduates, who can choose from majors in Administration of Justice, Agriculture, Performing Arts, Sociology, and everything in between.
Net Price: $9,340
Student Body: 4,043
65. Middle Tennessee State University
Middle Tennessee State University is one of the cheapest accredited colleges in the region, especially considering its large size. With enrollment of nearly 24,000, MTSU produces more graduates for the greater Nashville economy than any other neighboring institution. Students at Middle Tennessee State enjoy all the resources associated with a large state school, including a 250,000 sq. ft. science building and 17 different athletic teams. Some of the college’s more distinct academic offerings include aerospace, horse science, and concrete industry management. MTSU also has a reputation as a “military friendly” institution, an “adult learner friendly” institution, and a top producer of Fulbright Scholars.
Net Price: $9,315
Student Body: 23,881
64. Kent State University – Stark
North Canton, Ohio
The Stark campus is the largest regional center of Kent State University and grows in student enrollment each year. In fact, while College Navigator pegs Stark’s enrollment at less than 5,000, the school’s website puts the most recent figures at more than 6,000. In addition, almost 5,000 additional students attend KSU Stark for its professional development courses. Most of this affordable college’s degree programs focus on traditional areas of study, including Biology, Business, English, History, Nursing, and Psychology. However, supplementary minors will allow you to expand your horizons as you study Applied Mathematics; Audio Recording; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies; Music Technology and Production; and more.
Net Price: $9,260
Student Body: 4,886
63. Missouri Southern State University
With a net price less than $10,000, Missouri Southern State easily makes this affordable college ranking. The university is not only affordable, but it’s a great place to study and enjoy a traditional undergraduate experience. The campus sits just minutes from the Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas borders, putting Kansas City, Springfield, and Tulsa all within easy driving distance. All of the school’s programs hold accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission, and MSSU also boasts additional accreditations for its teacher education, engineering, and technology programs. In addition to traditional degrees in business, education, health sciences, and the arts and natural sciences, students can also explore special honors classes or join the “Show Me Gold” National Guard Officer Leadership initiative.
Net Price: $9,146
Student Body: 5,616
62. Louisiana Tech University
Louisiana Tech University is a selective institution that also qualifies as a remarkably cheap college. The school describes its campus as “pedestrian friendly,” encouraging students to enjoy the shady trees, beautiful Lady of the Mist fountain, and miles of nearby bike trails. More than 70% of students at LTU receive some kind of financial aid – a feature that helps keep the net price below $10,000 annually. As an LTU student, you could choose to major in Aviation Management, Architectural Studies, Family and Child Studies, or Geographic Information Science, among many others. LTU also offers a wealth of graduate, certificate, and doctoral programs for those who want to continue their education in Ruston beyond the traditional four years.
Net Price: $9,137
Student Body: 11,015
61. University of Washington – Tacoma
Students who want to attend a public university while still getting the best of city life can turn to UW Tacoma, an “urban-serving” institution that works hard to engage the surrounding community. The university is particularly proud of its diverse student body, and many applications come from high schools within the state. As a smaller alternative to the main Seattle campus, Tacoma students benefit from a 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a tight-knit, 46-acre campus. Students enjoy great views Mount Rainier and the Port of Tacoma, but can also explore the plethora of museums and quaint shops spotting the historic Union Station District.
Net Price: $9,123
Student Body: 4,295
60. Utah Valley University
Utah Valley University’s large student body makes it particularly attractive to applicants who love crowds and unlimited social opportunities. With more than 30,000 students on campus, you couldn’t possibly know everyone by the time you graduate, but it does mean there’s no limit to the number of new friends you could make. Utah Valley also supports the idea of “engaged learning,” which means combining traditional classroom instruction with hands-on practice. As such, the affordable college encourages students to combine their academic degree with research, internships, or even a grant for their “engaged learning project.”
Net Price: $9,122
Student Body: 30,564
59. Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, Kentucky
Another great choice on this affordable college ranking is Northern Kentucky University, a midsize school that provides a learning environment that is equally comfortable, safe, and energetic. NKU is located in a quiet suburb town, but Cincinnati is just up the road and readily accessible to students who miss city life. The university is currently undergoing an impressive era of expansion, and it has opened a 110,000 sq. ft. informatics building, 144,000 sq. ft. student union building, and 9,400-seat sports arena in just the past few years. On the academic side, Northern Kentucky allows learners to choose from degrees in 67 different areas, from Anthropology to Visual Communications and everything in between.
Net Price: $9,044
Student Body: 15,263
58. Wichita State University
As a university, Wichita State emphasizes innovation and entrepreneurship in all its academic programs. Engaging professors encourage risk-taking and collaboration and often take advantage of the surrounding city to give students real-world insight into their desired fields. This “experience-based learning” spans every degree program and certificate offering, from Aerospace Engineering and Computer Networking to Special Education and Women’s Studies. WSU also supports an array of pre-professional programs in Chiropractic Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Optometry, Pharmacy, Podiatry, and Veterinary Medicine. Beyond the classroom, you can also sign up for Work Force Training, which can help you update your skills and better market yourself once you start the job hunt.
Net Price: $9,039
Student Body: 14,386
57. Cameron University
Cameron University offers academic majors in numerous areas across the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Agriculture, Communications, Organizational Leadership, and Romance Languages Education. Many areas of study also give students the choice of multiple concentrations; for example, Chemistry majors can specialize in ACS-certified chemistry, Non-ACS-certified chemistry, or Health Professions, while IT majors might choose to concentrate in Computer Info Systems, Management Info Systems, or Cyber Security/Information Assurance. Students at this cheap, accredited college can also explore study abroad opportunities and engage in research with experienced faculty members.
Net Price: $9,016
Student Body: 5,898
56. California State University – Sacramento
California State University at Sacramento, sometimes also called “Sacramento State,” is one of the largest campuses in the CSU system. Nearly 30,000 students each year don the name Hornets, attracted to CSU Sacramento for its focus on sustainability, its wide range of majors, and of course beautiful campus. 98% of faculty members teach full time, leading classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. More specifically, Sacramento offers 58 bachelor’s degrees and 41 master’s degrees, as well as an honors program for gifted freshmen. If you’re looking for an undergraduate degree, you might consider African Studies, Career and Technical Studies, Journalism, Physics, Theater and Dance, or more than 50 other choices.
Net Price: $9,006
Student Body: 28,811
55. Arkansas State University
With enrollment over 13,000, faculty and staff in excess of 1,300 members, and more than 70,000 alumni, Arkansas State University is one of the larger options on this affordable college ranking. The school’s athletic teams play in NCAA Division I, guaranteeing entertaining competition for sport-loving students. Although ASU has general accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, it also boasts additional, more specific accreditations for each of its sub-colleges – including the College of Business, College of Education, College of Education, and College of Fine Arts. ASU also has a museum on campus and an International Center for English to support visiting students from abroad.
Net Price: $8,984
Student Body: 13,552
54. University of Texas – Permian Basin
The Permian Basin campus of the UT system brings much more to the table than inexpensive tuition; mostly sunny skies, beautiful outdoor courtyards, NCAA Division II athletic teams, and state-of-the-art classrooms characterize this affordable college. You can take classes in business, engineering, social work, art, education, computer science, and technology – all of which feature special accreditations from such prestigious organizations as the Association to Advance College Schools of Business. UT at the Permian Basin officially achieved four-year status in 1991, and since has grown into an impressive academic force that offers a spread of bachelor’s, master’s, and online programs.
Net Price: $8,893
Student Body: 5,131
53. Southeastern Louisiana University
As the third largest public university in the state, SLU offers more than 60 degree programs to more than 15,000 students (based on the most up-to-date figures on the school’s website). Although the student body is large, it is located in a traditional small town, allowing learners to enjoy a close-knit community and small-campus feel despite the large enrollment. Southeastern Louisiana University also puts unique emphasis on sustainability and health. As such, it has made the entire campus smoke-free and continues to adapt new “green” features in buildings. Degree programs at SLU cover nearly every letter of the alphabet, from Accounting to Health and Kinesiology to Organizational Leadership to Special Education.
Net Price: $8,886
Student Body: 14,934
52. Nicholls State University
For such a low cost, it’s surprising that Nicholls State offers quite an extensive selection of academic programs. From associate’s to bachelor’s to master’s to specialist programs, NSU practically guarantees something to suit everyone’s interests. Whether you want to study Culinary Arts as a technical degree, earn a B.S. in Biology (choosing from one of nine concentrations!), or get an MBA, this university has you covered. You can also take distance education classes through “Nicholls Online,” study abroad in numerous countries, or join the Student Government Association. You might also enjoy the on-campus Greek life and have fun watching sporting events for one of the 12 different athletic teams.
Net Price: $8,850
Student Body: 6,532
51. Midwestern State University
Wichita Falls, Texas
Located midway between Oklahoma City and Dallas/Forth Worth, MSU is a great choice for students who want to pursue a cheap college education in the South. The approximately 6,000 students at Midwestern State sprawl out over 255 acres, living comfortably on a campus that supports 70 different buildings and an outdoor recreational facility. It’s also worth noting that although public schools typically offer very affordable in-state tuition, MSU stands apart in its commitment to keeping costs low for out-of-state residents also. The university offers U.S. residents outside of Texas a special rate, and U.S. News named it one of the cheapest accredited colleges (public schools) as a result.
Net Price: $8,745
Student Body: 5,870
50. Texas Woman’s University
Texas Woman’s University is one of the largest schools in the country that caters primarily to women, with an average enrollment exceeding 15,000. Its academic programs focus on the health sciences, business, education, and nursing, with traditional programs across the liberal arts and natural sciences available as well. Many of TWU’s degrees – which cover Biochemistry, Computer Science, Fashion Merchandising, Food Science, Medical Technology, and Social Work, among others – are available in both on-campus and online formats. TWU also offers a “High School Advantage” program that can help qualified regional high school students get ahead.
Net Price: $8,744
Student Body: 15,058
49. Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island College consists of a beautiful, 180-acre campus that straddles the metropolitan area of Providence and the suburban Mount Pleasant neighborhood. RIC has accreditations from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Council on Social Work Education, and many more. The school’s high academic standards inform rigorous curriculum across multiple areas of study, from Accounting and Africana Studies to Women’s Studies and Youth Development. You might also consider designing your own major or doing research with one of RIC’s many institutes, such as the Center for Addiction and Behavioral Health Studies or the “Innovation Lab.”
Net Price: $8,693
Student Body: 8,700
48. Fairmont State University
Fairmont, West Virginia
Many students choose a college with the hope that the next four years will bring them in contact with friendly classmates and caring faculty members. FSU meets these expectations and more in a location that is nicknamed “The Friendly City.” You’ll have plenty to do with these new friends, also; join one or more of 80 different student clubs, take a hike through one of the area’s many historic sites, or join the Spirit Team and cheer on the school’s “Fighting Falcons” at sporting events. In academic circles, you’ll bond with like-minded peers over discussions of architecture, aviation, engineering, education, forensics, library science, nursing, nutrition, retail management, and more.
Net Price: $8,672
Student Body: 4,232
47. University of New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
Many associate New Orleans with loud music, frequent drinking, and incredible Mardi Gras celebrations. While New Orleans residents certainly know how to have a good time, they also take education seriously, as evidenced by the nearby University of New Orleans. This cheap college attracts more than 9,000 new and returning students each year for its low cost, to be sure, but also for its honors program, study abroad initiatives, and service learning activities. Supplement your psychology degree by participating in the “Quality of Life Project,” your art degree by joining the “Recovery and Renaissance” exploration of the surrounding city, or your environmental studies degree by assisting with the “Global Community Impact” initiative.
Net Price: $8,601
Student Body: 9,323
46. Prairie View A&M University
Prairie View, Texas
Joining the list of Texan universities on this affordable college ranking is Prairie View A&M, the second oldest public school in the state. This Historically Black University has a proud reputation for producing top African American nurses, engineers, and educators through 50 diverse academic programs. In additional to regional accreditation, all of PVAMU’s colleges hold specialized accreditations in their field, including certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetics Education and the National Architectural Accreditation Board. Prairie View also boasts an active research hub and features the Solar Observatory, Cooperative Agricultural Research Center, and the Computational Biology and Bioengineering Research Lab.
Net Price: $8,576
Student Body: 8,283
45. Middle Georgia College
Middle Georgia State College loudly proclaims that students should “Find their Greatness,” an admirable goal that reveals just how much this school focuses on offering attendees a personalized experience on campus. MGSU supports a diverse student population of just under 8,000, offering applicants exciting interdisciplinary programs with a global emphasis in exchange for attractively affordable tuition. Major in Biology or Respiratory Therapy, Criminal Justice or Mathematics; Middle Georgia State’s varied selection of bachelor’s and associate’s degrees can help you get where you want to be. In addition, the school offers certificates and minors in everything from Flight Technology and Surveying to Gender Studies and Sustainability Policies, any of which can either supplement your main course of study or provide a nice addendum to your current professional skills.
Net Price: $8,565
Student Body: 7,989
44. Shepherd University
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
For such a small state, you might be surprised that so many colleges in West Virginia make this list. But given the state’s low cost of living and affordable real estate, it’s no wonder even the largest universities in the area qualify as attractively cheap colleges. Shepherd University is small in stature to match its equally small tuition, and the approximately 4,000 students who call Shepherdstown home each year get serious “bang for their buck.” You can get a degree in English or Environmental Studies, Chemistry or Communication, Music or Mathematics, but regardless of your specific career goals, SU will give you the resources, attention, and skills to be successful.
Net Price: $8,476
Student Body: 4,221
43. Marshall University
Huntington, West Virginia
Students who attend Marshall University don the title, “The Thundering Herd,” a fun nickname that aptly references the campus’ energetic spirit and sense of community. This engaged commitment to their school follows Marshall students wherever they go, from NCAA Division I athletic events to research activities in cellular biology, nanosystems, genetics, nutrition, rural health, and more. MU students are equally gung-ho about their academic pursuits, and they should be; entertaining professors and passionate classmates fuel intense study of computer science, economics, education, meteorology, international affairs, and modern languages…and the list goes on!
Net Price: $8,457
Student Body: 13,407
42. California State University – Monterey Bay
Sea Side, California
Joining our list of California State University is the Monterey Bay campus, a smaller school with big opportunities. One of the cheapest accredited colleges in the area, CSUMB gathers nearly 6,000 students a year just a mile from the beautiful Monterey Bay shoreline. The school also holds an impressive commitment to serving the needs of marginalized students; 56% of admitted students are the first in their family to go to college, and 75% receive some sort of financial aid. In addition, almost half of all learners live on campus, making it one of the most residential campuses in the CSU system.
Net Price: $8,384
Student Body: 5,732
41. Winston Salem State University
Winston Salem, North Carolina
We now return to North Carolina, where Winston Salem State ups the number of NC-representing schools on our affordable college ranking. WSSU curriculum focuses on the “whole student,” looking to produce successful community members who are flexible and creative in their problem solving. The primarily African American university offers some truly unique degrees, including an award-winning program in Motorsports Management. The university also boasts a nationally recognized art gallery and nine residence halls for its undergraduate students. Winston Salem’s core strengths are in education and health science, and over the years it has become the third-largest producer of nurses in the entire state.
Net Price: $8,340
Student Body: 9,166
40. University of Alaska – Fairbanks
If you’re not from the state, making it up to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks for college might seem like quite a trek. But UA will make the trip more than worth your time, offering great low tuition prices and interesting academic tracks in exchange for your relocation. After all, the trade-off has become attractive enough to motivate more than 35,000 students to select Fairbanks as their college home. Majors include Arctic Engineering, Cross-Cultural Studies, Environmental Politics, Ethnobotany, High Latitude Range Management, Indigenous Studies, Northern Studies, Oceanography, Rural Utilities Business Management, and a plethora of other degrees and certificates that you might not have even known existed!
Net Price: $8,281
Student Body: 35,586
39. California State University – Long Beach
Long Beach, California
There’s no end to the opportunities you’ll enjoy at California State University Long Beach, a cheap accredited college offering much more than great weather. Rock climb at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, study under water life at the Shark Lab, or catch a show at the Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center. CSU also features a breathtaking Japanese Garden and the Walter Pyramid – a recreational center full of basketball courts, volleyball courts, and a fitness center. Even students’ academic pursuits often take them outdoors as they study Kinesiology, Environmental Studies and Policy, Geological Sciences, and more. You might even take courses at the Ocean Studies Institute or visit a Renaissance Fair while earning a degree in Medieval Studies.
Net Price: $8,169
Student Body: 9,166
38. Brigham Young University – Idaho
Brigham Young University consists of three campuses in Utah, Idaho, and Hawaii, all of which offer excellent academics in a disciplined and ethical atmosphere. Based on the teachings of the Mormon Church, BYU courses offer “innovative teaching and learning” that also support “lifelong spirituality and leadership.” Significant funding from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps keep tuition costs low, giving students the freedom to shed their financial worries in favor of passionate pursuit of their goals. A student-centered framework permeates interdisciplinary courses that cover all areas of study, including agriculture, life sciences, visual and performing arts, business and communication, education, human development, engineering, and the physical sciences.
Net Price: $8,148
Student Body: 27,692
37. Arkansas Tech University
Whether you’re looking to Arkansas Tech University for its traditional or “e-Tech” programs, you won’t be disappointed. You can get a degree in engineering or nursing, computer science or world languages, agriculture or physical education, or a number of other degrees within one of ATU’s five undergraduate colleges. In addition, the Center for Leadership and Learning brings together ambitious students and faculty members in discussions that aim to improve the overall effectiveness of the school’s programs. This commitment to academic excellence permeates other areas as well, from ATU’s tutoring services to its hands-on service initiatives.
Net Price: $8,137
Student Body: 11,369
36. California State University – Bakersfield
What makes CSU at Bakersfield stand out from the myriad other California universities on this list? The unique combination of activities available at Bakersfield offers students an experience they couldn’t enjoy just anywhere, from NCAA Division I athletics to community engagement that has earned the school recognition from the Carnegie Foundation. You can also participate in Greek life, join any number of more than 80 campus organizations, and dive into one of 50 undergraduate majors. Explore Electrical Engineering, Physics, Religious Studies, or Supply Chain Logistics (to name but a few), and augment your degree with an interdisciplinary minor in Ethnic Studies, Film Studies, or Women’s and Gender Studies.
Net Price: $8,117
Student Body: 8,371
35. University of Texas – Dallas
There’s more to education than just affordability – no doubt you’re looking for value as well. This means finding a school that offers unexpected quality for its rock-bottom prices, and UT Dallas fits the bill nicely. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance recently named the university one of the 100 “Best Value” public colleges in America, so it’s no surprise UT Dallas made our affordable college ranking as well. The student-to-faculty ratio is just 22:1, which gives learners easy access to their impressive professors – four of whom are members of the National Academies and one of whom is a Nobel laureate. 70% of admitted students are in the top quarter of their graduating class, and every year UT Dallas invites more and more promising high school graduates to its campus. These students choose Dallas for its impressive research centers, rigorous academics, and state-of-the-art facilities.
Net Price: $8,064
Student Body: 21,193
34. Tennessee State University
Are you interested in biotechnology? Do you want to study agriculture? Have you thought about a future in homeland security? All these majors and more are available at Tennessee State University, a cheap college with academic programs available from A to [almost] Z. From Aeronautical and Industry Technology to Urban Planning, from Architectural Engineering to Speech Communication, TSU simply offers too many course options for you to ever be bored. TSU students can also take classes online, hone their skills through special leadership initiatives, take on a role in student government, or write for the award-winning student newspaper.
Net Price: $8,038
Student Body: 8,883
33. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Students at Northwestern State University of Louisiana choose an academic track that lands them in one of three undergraduate colleges: the Gallaspy Family College of Education and Human Development, the College of Nursing/School of Allied Health, or the College of Arts and Sciences. The latter college also houses the school’s graduate studies and supports the Louisiana Folklife Center – a fun way to learn about the region’s musical history. In addition, the Louisiana Scholars College supports undergraduate students who share an impressive academic track record; learners in this college can choose any major they want while enjoying small class sizes, special scholarships, and selective study abroad opportunities.
Net Price: $7,950
Student Body: 8,944
32. Indiana University East
Indiana University, or “IU,” boasts a fantastic reputation in the Midwest for its academic rigor and supportive collegiate environment. But not everyone wants to brave the big city of Bloomington and settle into a campus of many thousands. IU East serves as a nice alternative for students who want big-school resources with a small-school feel. You’ll feel much less overwhelmed on a campus with fewer than 5,000 students, making it easy to jump into student organizations and pipe up in class discussions. These discussions might address the best approach to macroeconomics, your analysis of a creative writing piece, the correct treatment for a potential patient, any many other topics. In other words, IU’s seemingly endless list of majors, minors, and certificates will give you plenty to talk about as you move toward graduation and into a successful career in your field.
Net Price: $7,948
Student Body: 4,456
31. Purdue University North Central
Purdue University will offer you a meaningful education at a price that gives new meaning to the term “affordable college.” The 269-acre campus supports more than 6,000 students and 200 faculty members who provide instruction at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate levels. Most students are part-time and reside in the surrounding community, but PUNC also welcomes full-time, out-of-state students who are attracted to the university-wide mission of “Learning, Discovery, and Engagement.” One of the more unique aspects of this school is its First-Year Learning Experience, a compassionate attempt to help freshmen make the transition to college; coursework includes developing a four-year graduation plan, improving note-taking skills, and investigating career options.
Net Price: $7,923
Student Body: 6,102
30. University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s motto is “Living, Learning, Ragin’.” Boasting apartment-style living on campus, as well as on-campus halls for those attending with families, campus life has much to offer. Learning at this institution in the Southern United States in the heart of Cajun country is more than creative. Students who are studying the same majors and who have the same general interests all live and study together in themed communities with events geared just for them. Ragin’ applies to the annual raves in the campus library during Finals Week – an unusual attempt to make studying fun! With such academic programs as Architecture, Education, and Chemical Engineering, this university promises a strong foundational education with a lot of room for individual expression.
Net Price: $7,920
Student Body: 16,646
29. State University of New York College at Old Westbury
West Bury, New York
With almost 60 bachelor’s and master’s degree choices, the State University of New York College at Old Westbury is one of the nation’s most diverse and affordable colleges. Their Schools of Arts & Sciences, Education, and Business offer affordability and smaller class sizes for more discerning students. Average class sizes of just 22 provide more individualized learning, and programs such as the Bachelor’s of Philosophy & Religion opens to door for students to delve more deeply into subjects that interest them. On-campus residents can take advantage of Greek life or look for leadership opportunities through the CSLI.
Net Price: $7,737
Student Body: 4,367
28. Saint Petersburg College
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg College, located in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, is one of the cheapest accredited colleges in the United States, with a yearly net price less than $7,700. Eleven different campus locations offer several instructional possibilities, such as Veterinary Technology – which is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Education and Activities – as well as Public Safety Training. While you’ll be just one of more than 30,000 students, campus activities to suit every interest and friend group abound, so there’s no excuse not to get involved! SPC also emphasizes student wellness, and offers useful resources like free counseling sessions.
Net Price: $7,695
Student Body: 31,820
27. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Greensboro, North Carolina
Excellence, Commitment, Engagement, and Discovery are the four core tenets of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Located in Greensboro, this affordable college has a variety of clubs and recreational activities in academic, faith-based, and recreational-oriented genres. In addition to the traditional arts and sciences, NC A&T also offers degree programs in nursing and technology. U.S. News & World Report ranks the College of Engineering in the top third among undergrad programs in the nation, lending support to the school’s decision to include “technical” right in their name.
Net Price: $7,613
Student Body: 10,561
26. University of Tennessee at Martin
Hailed as a modern and comprehensive university, the University of Tennessee at Martin is not only one of the cheapest accredited colleges; it also offers relatively low enrollment and thus a fantastic student-to-professor ratio. The main campus is located 150 miles northwest of Nashville, giving restless students easy access to all the entertainment the big city has to offer. The Paul Meek Library houses the Technology Center, which allows all faculty members to teach with an industry advantage. More than 100 on-campus organizations also help UT Martin maintain a strong sense of community, cultural awareness, and knowledge of broader world issues.
Net Price: $7,531
Student Body: 7,423
25. Hunter College of the City University of New York
New York, New York
Hunter College easily earns an affordable college ranking despite its residence in beautiful – and expensive – Manhattan. Established in 1870, this school offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in over 170 concentrations, such as Education and Urban Public Health. As of 2008, Hunter has also been providing Doctoral degrees in programs such as Biology and Physics. Hunter is home to the Schools of Arts & Sciences, Health Professions, and Urban Public Health, as well as top of the line research centers, such as the Center for Study of Gene Research and Function. Hunter also offers high school and elementary school classes for intellectually gifted children in the heart of New York City.
Net Price: $7,518
Student Body: 23,019
24. University of Texas – Brownsville
Located in downtown Brownsville and serving 12,285 students from the surrounding area, the University of Texas – Brownsville is one of the cheapest accredited colleges you could choose. With a low cost for tuition and relatively small class sizes, this university boasts excellent passing rates for professional certifications and accreditations from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for all of its coursework. In fact, their most recent pass rate for the Music Education certification exam was 100%. Students also have easy access to some of Texas’ biggest cities, and can even cross the border into Mexico to round out an already rich and diverse cultural environment.
Net Price: $7,438
Student Body: 12,285
23. East Central University
Ada, Oklahoma is home to East Central University, a Higher Learning Commission-accredited institution that is one of just two institutions in the United States to hold dual general accreditations. The majority of program offerings are located within the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, with such programs as Human Resources and Mass Communications. The small town feel and low number of enrollees make this school a perfect choice for those who enjoy a more one-on-one instructional environment, while the cheap college tuition makes ECU accessible to even the tightest financial budgets.
Net Price: $7,364
Student Body: 4,587
22. University of Alaska – Anchorage
The University of Alaska at Anchorage is situated in the state’s largest city, providing entertainment and cultural options rare in this largely rural Northern region. The Seawolves offer an incredible diversity of courses, extracurricular activities and clubs, as well as undergraduate and graduate programs across many areas. Many students gravitate toward career-focused degrees in automotive technology, criminal justice and corrections, or pre-medical tracks. Those who choose to live in campus will quickly forget the cold weather as they get busy exploring sororities, fraternities, sports, and professional groups, or opting for on-campus jobs in community advising or peer mentoring.
Net Price: $7,276
Student Body: 17,363
21. California State University – Stanislaus
California State University at Stanislaus provides impeccable learning opportunities for nearly 9,000 students in the heart of the Central Valley. CSU Stanislaus offers nearly 200 varied programs covering everything from Agricultural Studies to Theatre, and almost 85% of the faculty members hold doctoral degrees in their specification. And given a student-to-faculty ratio of just 21:1, it’s easy for students to get to know the experts who stand at the front of their classrooms. Counting diversity as one of its main tenets, CSU ensures its programs incorporate community concerns and explore multiple perspectives across subject matters. Thanks to a net price that falls under $7,200 per year, Cal State Stanislaus really is one of the nation’s cheapest colleges.
Net Price: $7,190
Student Body: 8,917
20. University of Louisiana – Monroe
The University of Louisiana at Monroe prides itself on superior academic delivery that helps students not only understand the coursework, but also conduct independent research, come up with creative solutions to problems, and apply their skills to the real world. Enrollment falls into the “midsized” category, offering students a comfortable balance between small classes and big opportunities. UL at Monroe offers typical liberal arts and business classes as well as some more unique options; it is one of the only schools in the nation to offer a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences. As a “Warhawk,” you’ll also discover many ways to entertain yourself, from watching collegiate sports to participating in campus activities and spirit groups.
Net Price: $7,162
Student Body: 8,645
19. College of Staten Island
Staten Island, New York
The College of Staten Island in Staten Island, New York, has a reputation for focusing on graduate and advanced level programs, but students will find undergraduate opportunities as well. You will find plenty of majors that suit your career interests within the Schools of Business, Education, and Health Services, which adhere strictly to national academic standards and expectations for the highest quality curricula. On-campus attendees also enjoy the fairly luxurious surroundings and proximity to New York entertainment venues. The campus is the largest college site in New York City, and you’ll find 16 commissioned works of art throughout the well-maintained buildings. Even so, the tuition remains one of the lowest in the nation, making it one of the cheapest private colleges.
Net Price: $7,117
Student Body: 14,441
18. Louisiana State University – Shreveport
Louisiana State University at Shreveport boasts one of the more prestigious academic programs in the region and maintains a strong mission to produce graduates who are critical thinkers and problem solvers above all else. More than 20 undergrad options include Community Health, Early Childhood Education, and Math and Physics, and the most advanced students can attend honors classes or apply to one of 12 master’s programs. The eight-week semester format might also appeal to you, as it is designed to help students graduate on a shorter timescale. Students who live on campus enjoy more than 70 student organizations and extracurricular activities, as well as the measly $7,000 yearly average net price – which makes LSU Shreveport one of the cheapest accredited colleges in the United States.
Net Price: $7,042
Student Body: 4,114
17. California State University – Fullerton
California State University at Fullerton is located just 30 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles and about 20 miles from the coastal beaches. Enrollment nearly reaches 40,000 students, and it’s no wonder there’s such a high volume of applicants; the average net price is under $7,000, placing this school near the top of our affordable college ranking. The school claims one of the nation’s best performing arts programs, supported by a state-of-the-art performing arts complex and frequent student-run shows and concerts. CSU at Fullerton has a reputation that extends beyond the fine arts – its business and accounting programs are some of the best in California, and it is also ranked 1st in the state for awarding degrees to those of Hispanic heritage.
Net Price: $6,885
Student Body: 38,325
16. Daytona State College
Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona State College offered its first bachelor’s degree program in 2006. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the school offers varied general and technical courses, such as the Bachelor’s is Engineering and Technology. Over the past 50 years, the school has worked hard to move beyond a small community college and is proud to have finally earned state college status. As a four-year school, DSC now offers all of the extracurricular opportunities and on-campus events you’d expect form a traditional institution, including intramural sports, spirit clubs, and varied student organizations. For example, clubs like the Gay-Straight Alliance provide outlets for students to explore their identities and celebrate diversity on campus.
Net Price: $6,811
Student Body: 14,865
15. Brooklyn College
Brooklyn, New York
Students who are serious about their future will find Brooklyn College a great place to kick start their careers and gain the valuable skills they need to be successful. Tracking surveys show that nearly 80% of graduates find solid employment shortly after graduation, and an impressive number immediately find work within their desired field. If you’re an undergraduate applicant you can consider a degree in the arts, business and management, or music, among others, while graduate students may gravitate toward the unique program in Public Health Studies. If you choose to live on campus, you’ll find no shortage of opportunities to engage with your 17,000 fellow learners, whether it’s through spiritual political, or academic groups. BC also hosts athletic teams and events that help build school spirit and remind students that this school is much more than just a cheap college.
Net Price: $6,637
Student Body: 17,004
14. California State University – San Bernardino
San Bernardino, California
Cal State at San Bernardino works hard to challenge students in and out of the classroom while supporting their interest in innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. Experienced professors cultivate a supportive learning environment that feels much more intimate than a campus of nearly 20,000 students would imply. The annual average net price of just $6,500 makes CSUSB one of the cheapest accredited colleges in the state. Academic opportunities abound, from certificate programs through master’s degrees, and many majors also include specialization options. You can delve deeply into the study of Chemistry, Archaeology, or Bioinformatics, and then unwind by watching your fellow Coyotes compete in basketball, baseball, soccer, and more.
Net Price: $6,571
Student Body: 18,398
13. Northeastern State University
Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma offers traditional learning in a homey environment, with plenty of entertainment options available on- and off-campus. Athletics, campus clubs, and academics provide students with a typical, well-rounded collegiate experience, while organizations like the Northeastern Student Government Association provide more unique outlets for both fun and skill-building. Students choose NSU for both its undergrad and graduate programs, and some also attend the reputable School of Optometry. For students who want to experience the world as part of their collegiate experience, the Office of International Studies offers study abroad adventures that offer value far beyond what a net price under $6,500 would suggest.
Net Price: $6,418
Student Body: 8,548
12. University of Arkansas – Fort Smith
Fort Smith, Arkansas
There truly is something for everyone at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Academic superstars love the varied programs from which they can choose, which range from Animation Technology to Dental Hygiene, while intriguing minors in Anthropology and Creative Writing can be hard to pass up. Athletes often take to one of the school’s sports teams, while social butterflies can dive into a whole host of other campus activities, from “Cub Camp” to fitness programs. Of course, regardless of their college goals, everyone agrees that the school’s low net price is one of its biggest selling points, and UA at Fort Smith certainly deserves its ranking as one of the nation’s the cheapest accredited colleges.
Net Price: $6,351
Student Body: 7,170
11. California State University – Fresno
Cal State University at Fresno, or Fresno State, offers degree programs across the entire undergraduate to PhD spectrum. Majors are available in Communications, Business Administration, and Industrial Technology, plus many more areas of study. In addition, CSU at Fresno’s 35+ specialized academic accreditations provide more than enough evidence that its programs are high quality and useful. But students choose Fresno State for more than its scholastic reputation – the Arboretum Walking Tours, Downing Planetarium, and Bulldog sporting events ensure that students here are never bored. The large student body appeals to applicants who want a traditional state school experience, while the low net price ensures that experience stays well within financial reach.
Net Price: $6,228
Student Body: 23,060
10. Queens College of the City University of New York
Flushing, New York
“Invigorate your mind” is the apt motto for Queens College of the City University of New York, a school that supports this mission through an incredible selection of academic programs. Undergraduate degrees cover everything from Animation and Illustration to Women’s Studies, with unique minors in Ancient Greek, Irish Studies, Linguistics, and even Yiddish. Queens College also boasts more than 100 graduate and certificate programs, which might encourage you to stick around after graduation to pursue more advanced study. You can also get involved in community outreach programs that work with local high school students, elderly citizens, and deaf and blind students across the region. Add to this the overwhelming selection of student organizations and school spirit activities and you’ll soon realize that there’s nothing cheap about this cheap college other than its low cost.
Net Price: $6,200
Student Body: 18,974
9. CUNY New York City College of Technology
Brooklyn, New York
The New York City College of Technology is the largest public technological university in the Northeast. Students travel from far and wide to take advantage of this school’s high caliber STEM courses, which cover architecture, IT, graphic design, the natural sciences, and mathematics. That being said, students who prefer the liberal arts will also find plenty of opportunities to explore public service, teaching, legal studies, and the humanities. If you’re just starting out, you might consider City Tech’s “Accelerated Study in Associate’s Programs,” a remarkably affordable initiative that helps students fly through their classes while offering financial assistance for tuition, tutoring, counseling, textbooks, and even Metro Cards.
Net Price: $6,157
Student Body: 16,860
8. University of Texas – El Paso
El Paso, Texas
The University of Texas at El Paso is not only one of the most affordable colleges in Texas; it’s also one of the most popular, thanks to an average student enrollment of 23,000. Why do so many students choose UT El Paso? No doubt the varied academic coursework – which offers majors in Computer Information Systems, Art Education, Environmental Engineering, and Clinical Laboratory Science, to name but a few – and vibrant campus life make a convincing case for attending this school. Not only that, but UTEP has recently declared a goal to spend an incredible $100 million on research every year, a level of funding that supports undergraduate interest in pursuing advanced research and independent study with highly qualified faculty.
Net Price: $6,089
Student Body: 23,003
7. Dalton State College
Dalton State College offers wide-ranging academic opportunities across five primary academic departments: the School of Business; the School of Education; the School of Liberal Arts; the School of Health Professions; and the School of Science, Technology, and Mathematics. Degree options include subjects at the certificate, associate’s, and bachelor’s degree levels, as well as “mini certificates” for students who simply need to supplement their professional knowledge. Despite its smaller size, DSC still offers plenty of resources for students beyond the classroom, from free personal training sessions at the campus gym to student organizations to fit every interest. And if you don’t find something that gets you excited, never fear – you only need eight like-minded friends to start a new club and start bonding over your shared hobbies, career goals, or cultural similarities.
Net Price: $5,914
Student Body: 5,015
6. Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Fayetteville State University’s mission is to develop citizens who can lead productive and meaningful lives. Academic programs in Accounting, Communications, Political Science, and many other areas support this goal, and prestigious scholarship opportunities keep students motivated. Students living on campus can even compete in the annual Miss Fayetteville State University Scholarship Pageant or the Mr. FSU Scholarship Competition as a way to both have fun and lower their tuition costs. Although, with an average net price less than $6,000, you’ll be able to afford this cheap college whether you join the pageant or not!
Net Price: $5,914
Student Body: 6,179
5. City College of New York
New York, New York
With campuses all over the city, City College of New York is one of the largest school systems in the nation. It represents the original CUNY institution and has inspired numerous other regional locations (some of which make this list!). The school has a reputation for supporting important research and consistently encourages undergraduates to explore independent projects and present their findings. Students can earn funding, work side-by-side with academic experts, and even publish their results – a great way to earn access to some of the nation’s best graduate programs. Although it’s easy to get distracted by the surrounding metropolis of Manhattan, students at CUNY nonetheless take their academics seriously, whether they are studying Advertising, Chemical Engineering, Electronic Design, or Popular Music.
Net Price: $5,820
Student Body: 15,331
4. Lehman College City University of New York
Bronx, New York
Students are attracted to this university for its self-described “Lehman Edge.” From world-class academic programs to state-of-the-art facilities spotting a beautiful campus, Lehman College boasts an endless list of reasons you should consider attending. Of course, the net price of just $4,800 certainly doesn’t hurt, and you won’t feel like you’re making a sacrifice to save your budget. This affordable college takes an internationalist approach to education that centers around public service, motivating students to engage with the surrounding community and travel abroad to Korea, Greece, Chile, and many other countries.
Net Price: $4,790
Student Body: 12,085
3. California State University – Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Located a mere five miles from the heartbeat of Los Angeles, Cal State LA calls the cultural epicenter of one of the most diverse cities in the entire world home. CSULA also has one of the most prestigious reputations on the West Coast, and Time Magazine recently named it one of the nation’s top 100 universities. While all colleges offer typical classes and traditional learning opportunities, Cal State LA goes a step beyond; the Minorities Opportunities in Research (MORE) program helps prepare ambitious students for graduate-level work, while the Health Insurance Education Project has attracted attention from high-profile politicians – Joe Biden included!
Net Price: $4,756
Student Body: 23,258
2. California State University – Dominguez Hills
Cal State University at Dominguez Hills in Carson has a valued reputation for academic excellence. This university is broken into six different colleges of study, such as Arts and Humanities, Business, and Education. Outside of the classroom you can get involved in the annual art and design competition, support one of your favorite “Toros” teams at an athletic event, or celebrate Native American culture at the annual “Pow Wow.” And competition isn’t confined to the athletic field or stage; Dominguez Hills students also participate in academic contests that showcase their unique talents.
Net Price: $2,791
Student Body: 14,670
1. University of Texas – Pan American
The University of Texas at Pan American places a premium on community engagement, and draws many students to its campus from the surrounding towns. The large university divides its academic concentrations between seven different colleges, including the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the College of Science and Mathematics. You can choose from myriad traditional liberal arts degrees as well as more unique concentrations in Global Security Studies, Military Science, and more. The UTPA “Broncs” provide a source of pride for the school, as do the other opportunities for campus life outside of the classroom. The Wellness and Recreational Sports Complex offers students a chance to maintain their health and stay in shape also. With a net yearly cost that averages less than $3,000, this is one of the most affordable colleges in the nation.
Net Price: $2,485
Student Body: 20,053
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About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.