100 Best Value Colleges in the US: Cost, Quality & Employment Rates

100 Best Value Colleges in the US: Cost, Quality & Employment Rates
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

For young people weighing on the pros and cons of college education, a crucial development that should factor in their decision is the fact that positions that require a college degree are increasingly becoming the norm, while jobs that only require a high school diploma are decreasing (Itzkowitz, 2019). Of course, there’s still the matter about the costs of college education. The latest student loan statistics indicate the worrying trend of young people relying on student loans and grants to finance their studies. to the point where their accumulated debt has reached $1.6 trillion as of 2020 (Friedman, 2020).

Furthermore, besides the cost and availability of financial assistance, students also need to look at academic quality when choosing a college or university. This is where the importance of looking for the best value colleges in America comes in. By finding the sweet spot between academic quality, cost, financial aid availability, and employability rate, a student may be able to find an institution fit for their goals. In this article, we aim to discuss these factors to help you find the ideal college or university for you.

2020 Best Value Colleges in the U.S.

  1. Best Value Colleges in the Northeast
  2. Best Value Colleges in the Southeast
  3. Best Value Colleges in the Midwest
  4. Best Value Colleges in the Southwest
  5. Best Value Colleges in the West

As of 2020, almost $120 billion worth of student loan debt fell into default (Friedman, 2020). While there are many reasons why graduates end up unable to pay off their student loans, it is not difficult to conclude that many of them do not generate enough income to cover loan premiums. Fortunately, students who have yet to tread the college path still have the opportunity to improve their chances in the future by carefully choosing a college that will give them the best value for their money.

Now, what makes a college a good one? Students who want to get the most out of their college education in the future need to look at a number of factors. Ideally, colleges that offer high academic quality at a lower cost will cut the deal. Additionally, it is also wise to see how graduates from particular institutions fare in the job market. However, due to the sheer number of universities and colleges in the country, picking a good school in the USA is more complicated than an Oxford vs. Cambridge debate. Below, we list down the 100 best value colleges in America chosen based on data that indicate academic quality, cost efficiency, and employability.

Best Value Colleges in the Northeast

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Location: Boston, MA
Four-Year Cost: $249,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 99%
Employability Rate: 97%

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university. It is globally known and reputed for its STEM majors, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics engineering, computer science, mathematics, and physics. As a research institute, it has several highly ranked graduate schools, such as the Sloan School of Management and the School of Engineering. According to estimates, more than 60% of its full-time undergraduate students receive need-based financial assistance. A substantial number of MIT graduates get hired in top technology companies such as Google, Inc., Microsoft Corp, Apple Computer, Inc., and Amazon.com Inc.

2. Harvard University

Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, MA
Four-Year Cost: $254,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 93.4%

One of the eight Ivy League schools in the country, Harvard University is a private research institution that offers a wide range of academic programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Its most popular majors among enrollees include biology, mathematics, computer science, history, and social sciences. Harvard has several highly ranked research centers, including the Graduate Education School, John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Over 50% of its undergraduate students get financial assistance. Plus, because of the prestige of the school, Harvard graduates often find employment in huge corporations like International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Microsoft, and Google, as well as Harvard University itself.

3. New York University (NYU)

New York University

Location: New York, NY
Four-Year Cost: $268,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Employability Rate: 92.20%

New York University is a private higher education institution known for its programs in visual and performing arts, liberal arts, liberal sciences, humanities, management, and marketing. As a research university, NYU also has many high-ranking graduate schools, such as the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the Silver School of Social Work. It is also home to the renowned Tisch School of the Arts. At least 40% of NYU undergraduate enrollees rely on some form of financial aid. Some of the higher-paying employers of NYU graduates are Amazon.com, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMCC), IBM, and NYU Medical Center.

4. Cornell University

Cornell University

Location: Ithaca, NY
Four-Year Cost: $258,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 92.65%

Another Ivy League school, Cornell University is also classified as a statutory college. It offers a broad array of undergraduate and graduate programs across a variety of disciplines. Some of its most popular majors are engineering, management, business, agriculture, and computer sciences. As a private research university, it also runs highly reputed research centers. These include the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, the Weill Cornell Medical College, and the School of Hotel Administration. Among its over 15,000 undergraduate students, around 47% acquire at least one form of financial aid. Meanwhile, it is common for Cornell graduates to earn substantial salaries when hired by leading companies, such as Lockheed Martin Corp, IBM, and JPMCC.

5. Yale UniversityYale University

Location: New Haven, CT
Four-Year Cost: $261,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 99%
Employability Rate: 91.95%

Yale University is one of the oldest private research universities in the U.S., having been chartered before the American Revolution. Also an Ivy League, it mainly follows a liberal arts curriculum. As such, it is known for its majors in social sciences, history, biological science, and mathematics, among other related disciplines. Yale’s Law School, in particular, is among the top-ranked professional schools in the country. Furthermore, its School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Art, School of Drama, School of Divinity, and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies are also well-ranked. Moreover, Yale offers different types of financial aid, depending on the situation of the student. It is estimated that about 54% of Yale’s undergraduate students receive some form of financial support. Some of the more popular employers of Yale graduates are The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Facebook Inc., and Yale University itself.

6. Princeton University

Princeton University

Location: Princeton, NJ
Four-Year Cost: $240,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 5:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 89%

Princeton University is a private research university and is one of the country’s eight Ivy League schools. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees across the fields of humanities, sciences, and engineering. Its popular majors include public administration, social service, computer science, and engineering, among others. It also offers high-ranking research programs through several graduate centers, including the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. More than 60% of full-time undergraduate enrollees receive various forms of financial assistance, ranging from full and partial grants to loans. It also has different payment schemes to accommodate the financial capacity of each student. Moreover, alumni who get hired at top corporations such as The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc, IBM Corp., and Amazon.com Inc. have been found to get higher average salaries.

7. University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)

University of Pennsylvania

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Four-Year Cost: $262,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 89.65%

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League institution known for establishing the Perelman School of Medicine, the first school of medicine in North America. The university also offers a variety of popular majors, including business management, marketing, social sciences, and engineering. Known for its stellar academic and research reputation, UPenn offers different degree programs through well-regarded schools and centers, including its Wharton School, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Medicine, and School of Design. Based on the latest available information, 46% of UPenn undergraduates acquire educational financial aid, which may come in the form of scholarships (partial or full), work-study funding, and parent or student loans. Meanwhile, UPenn alumni commonly get substantial salaries from companies such as Amazon.com, JPMCC, and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

8. Columbia University (Columbia University in the City of New York)

Columbia University

Location: New York, NY
Four-Year Cost: $272,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 99%
Employability Rate: 88.45%

Columbia University is an Ivy League research university. It is known for its various majors across multiple disciplines, including social sciences, biomedical sciences, engineering, information sciences, and visual and performing arts. Columbia offers professional and research programs through its high-ranking graduate centers, which include the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Law School, Teachers College, and Business School. Its Journalism School and College of Dental Medicine are also well-regarded. As of the latest data, 50% of Columbia undergraduate enrollees rely on some form of financial assistance, particularly the university’s need-based financial aid option. The university does not offer any talent-based, academic, or athletic scholarships. Meanwhile, Columbia graduates can expect to get good salaries when hired by employers such as Mount Sinai Hospital, The Goldman Sachs Group, and their own Alma Mater.

9. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Four-Year Cost: $260,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 83.55%

Carnegie Mellon University is a private, multidisciplinary research-intensive university. Among its offered majors, engineering, business management, computer science, information science, marketing, and interdisciplinary studies are deemed the most popular. The university offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs through its high-ranking institutes, including the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Institute of Technology, and Mellon College of Science. About 39% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students benefit from at least one form of financial assistance. However, note that Carnegie Mellon does not have financial aid programs for international students. As for employability, some of the popular companies that hire and have been recorded to pay Carnegie Mellon alumni with significant salaries are IBM, Google, Apple, and Amazon.

10. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, MD
Four-Year Cost: $258,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 80.95%

A private research institution, Johns Hopkins University is largely known for its high-ranked science majors. These include neuroscience, molecular biology, biomedical engineering, and chemical engineering. As a research-intensive university, it facilitates graduate programs through its comprehensive faculties, such as the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Whiting School of Engineering, Peabody Institute, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and Carey Business School. It is estimated that a little over 50% of bachelor’s degree students, including local and international students, at Johns Hopkins receive financial aid for their studies. Furthermore, among the popular employers of the university’s alumni are Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corp, Raytheon Co., and the university itself.

11. Brown University

Brown University

Location: Providence, RI
Four-Year Cost: $257,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 80.85%

Another Ivy League school, Brown University is a private research higher education institution most popular for the following majors: econometrics and quantitative economics, computer science, entrepreneurial studies, biology, and history. Students can pursue graduate programs through Brown University’s Graduate School. The university is also home to the high-ranking Warren Alpert Medical School. Its School of Engineering is also well-regarded. It is estimated that around 42% of Brown’s full-time bachelor’s degree enrollees obtain assistance for funding their education. Some of the top employers of Brown University graduates are Johnson & Johnson, Millipore Corporation, and Aetna, Inc.

12. Boston University (BU)

Boston University

Location: Boston, MA
Four-Year Cost: $259,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Employability Rate: 78.30%

Boston University is a private university with very high research activity. It is largely known for its majors in the fields of business administration, economics, communication, media studies, computer science, and psychology. The university runs a couple of highly reputed graduate schools, such as its School of Medicine, School of Law, School of Management, School of Education, and College of Engineering. It is estimated that more than 40% of its undergraduate students are awarded some kind of financial educational assistance. Aside from Boston University itself, which is one of the city’s biggest employers, other reputable companies where better-earning BU alumni are hired the most are Wayfair LLC, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Children’s Hospital, Boston.

13. Drexel University

Drexel University

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Four-Year Cost: $267,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 89%
Employability Rate: 71.25%

Drexel University is a research-intensive institution. A private university, its strength lies in its popular majors that include those in the fields of visual and performing arts, health services, computer science, information science, engineering, and business. It is also famed for its cooperative (co-op) education program where students can work for up to 18 months before graduating. Furthermore, Drexel facilitates postgraduate and research programs through its well-ranked institutes, including the College of Engineering and schools of medicine and law. According to estimates, 64% of the university’s undergraduate students acquire financial aid in the form of grants, professional scholarships (Medical and Law School), direct federal loans, private loans, and work-study funding. Aside from Drexel University, alumni can get gainful employment in companies such as The Boeing Company, Comcast Cable, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., and Lockheed Martin Corp.

14. Tufts University

Tufts University

Location: Medford, MA
Four-Year Cost: $258,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Employability Rate: 68.35%

Another private research institution, Tufts University began as a liberal arts college before becoming a doctoral university with very high research activity. Its most popular majors today include interdisciplinary studies, social sciences, engineering, information science, computer science, and biological sciences. Tufts offers doctoral and research programs through its well-ranking graduate schools, such as the School of Medicine and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Around 36% of Tufts undergraduate enrollees rely on need-based financial assistance to support their studies. The university offers full need-based financial aid as well as partial scholarships. However, it offers limited financial assistance to international students. Alumni can expect considerable salaries when hired by companies such as The Boeing Company, Raytheon Co., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and their Alma Mater, Tufts University.

15. Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College

Location: Hanover, NH
Four-Year Cost: $265,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 68.85%

Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League school. As an interdisciplinary university, its popular majors include social sciences, biomedical sciences, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and statistics. Being a research institution, it facilitates postgraduate programs through its highly ranked professional and research centers. These include the Thayer School of Engineering, Tuck School of Business, and Geisel School of Medicine. To sustain their education, over 50% of full-time undergraduate students seek at least one form of educational financial assistance. The university offers both need-based and non-need-based financial aid to local and international students. Some of the popular companies that hire Dartmouth graduates include Amazon, Google, IBM, and Honeywell International Inc.

16. Lehigh University

Lehigh University

Location: Bethlehem, PA
Four-Year Cost: $240,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 95%
Employability Rate: 67.60%

Lehigh University is a private research-intensive university composed of five colleges, which facilitate the institution’s most popular majors: finance, accounting, marketing, industrial engineering, and mechanical engineering. Meanwhile, the university offers well-ranked graduate programs through its reputed research and professional institutes, such as the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, College of Education, and College of Business. According to the latest available data, about 41% of undergraduate students at Lehigh acquire need-based financial aid to support their education. Lehigh University alumni’s top employers include Lockheed Martin Corp, The Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and IBM.

17. University of Pittsburgh (Pitt)

University of Pittsburgh

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Four-Year Cost: $172,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 66.20%

The University of Pittsburgh, shortened as “Pitt,” is one of Pennsylvania’s state-related universities. The most popular majors at this public research university include business management, marketing, engineering, social sciences, health sciences, biological sciences, and biomedical sciences. Pitt gains national recognition for its highly ranked graduate schools, including the Swanson School of Engineering, School of Education, and School Medicine, which works in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Around 48% of Pitt undergraduate students receive financial assistance for their education. Moreover, Pitt alumni employers that are known to give substantial salaries include PPG Industries, Inc., The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., and The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BNY Mellon).

18. Northeastern University (NEU or NU)Northeastern University

Location: Boston, MA
Four-Year Cost: $247,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 63.65%

Northeastern University is a private research-intensive university known for offering a co-op program. Among its popular majors are management, marketing, engineering, social sciences, biological sciences, and health sciences. It runs a number of research centers and institutes to support its postgraduate programs and activities. These include the Advanced Scientific Computation Center, Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis, Northeastern University Center for Renewable Energy Technology, and the Network Science Institute. Around 27% of NEU’s full-time undergraduate students rely on need-based and income-based financial assistance. They also offer merit-based aid to highly skilled students. As for employment, some of the higher-paying companies that employ NEU alumni are Amazon, Raytheon, Wayfair LLC, and Dell, Inc.

19. University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass or UMass Amherst)

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Location: Amherst, MA
Four-Year Cost: $174,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 91%
Employability Rate: 63.15%

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is the flagship institution of the University of Massachusetts system. Among the majors the university is known for are social sciences, business management, marketing, biological sciences, health sciences, and psychology. The university operates a number of research centers across its colleges. These include the Massachusetts Center for Renewable Energy Science and Technology, the Center for Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Computation, and the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, among others. It is estimated that 53% of UMass Amherst full-time undergraduate students receive some kind of educational financing that often involves a mix of scholarships, federal/state grants, loans, and work-study funding. Moreover, top employers of the university’s alumni include IBM, Bose Corporation, Raytheon Co., and MassMutual Financial Group.

20. City University of New York (CUNY)

City University of New York

Location: New York, NY
Four-Year Cost: $51,060.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 86%
Employability Rate: 51.90%

The City University of New York, more commonly known as CUNY, is New York City’s university system. It comprises a total of 25 campuses, which include an undergraduate honors college, community colleges, senior colleges, and postgraduate institutes. As such, it offers a diverse curriculum and a multidisciplinary set of programs and degrees. CUNY-Baruch College, for instance, is popular for its journalism, communication, and social science programs. The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, also simply known as the Graduate Center, is CUNY’s principal institute for postgraduate degrees. In all, CUNY is known for offering affordable education with two in three of its undergraduate students attending tuition-free. Plus, more than 50% of CUNY students receive financial assistance for their studies but owe less post-graduation compared to their peers in other universities. Some of the top companies with CUNY alumni employees are Ernst & Young, Citigroup, Inc., and JPMCC.

21. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Location: Troy, NY
Four-Year Cost: $260,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 55.40%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research-intensive university. Its most popular majors include engineering, computer science, information science, business management, marketing, and physical sciences. Among these, the university’s engineering program is particularly high-ranked. Classified as a university with very high research activity, RPI runs several research centers, including the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies and the Low Center for Industrial Innovation. Based on current estimates, about 56% of the university’s undergraduate students receive financial assistance via need-based grants, merit-based scholarships, as well as loans. Some of the popular companies with RPI alumni as employees are General Electric, Raytheon Co., Northrop Grumman Corporation, and United Technologies Corporation.

22. Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Location: New Brunswick, NJ
Four-Year Cost: $181,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 54.40%

Rutgers University-New Brunswick is one of Rutgers University’s three regional campuses. Its top majors include psychology, biology, computer science, information science, human resources, and nursing. As a public research university, it is among the U.S. universities that award the most doctorate degrees. It is home to a highly ranked Graduate School of Education, as well as the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation. About half of the university’s full-time undergraduate students acquire need-based financial assistance with incoming freshmen receiving an average of $18,720 each in aid. These often come in the form of scholarships and grants but they also accommodate loans, student employment, as well as educational opportunity funds from the state of New Jersey. The top companies that hire Rutgers University-New Brunswick alumni include Johnson & Johnson, JPMCC, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.

23. Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology

Location: Hoboken, NJ
Four-Year Cost: $250,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 95%
Employability Rate: 54.90%

Stevens Institute of Technology is a private research-intensive university. It’s also one of the oldest technological universities in the U.S. Among its popular majors are mechanical engineering, computer engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, and business administration. Classified as having high research activity, it runs various research centers, including the Center for the Advancement of Secure Systems and Information Assurance, the Center for Maritime Systems, and the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education. Almost 70% of the university’s full-time undergraduate enrollees receive financial aid. The university also accommodates financial aid applications from graduate students and international students. Meanwhile, top employers for its graduates include Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Verizon Communications, Inc.

24. Temple University (TU or Temple)

Temple University

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Four-Year Cost: $166,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 90%
Employability Rate: 54.90%

Temple University is one of Philadelphia’s state-related universities. A public university, Temple is one of the biggest providers of professional degrees. Among its popular undergraduate majors are management, marketing, journalism, and communication. The university operates various research institutes, such as the Center for Sustainable Communities, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute, and the Center for Asian Health. Its professional schools, including the James E. Beasley School of Law and Richard J. Fox School of Business and Management, are well-regarded nationwide. According to current estimates, 66% of the student body receives financial assistance for their studies. Meanwhile, top employers for TU graduates include Lockheed Martin Corp, JPMCC, GlaxoSmithKline, and Comcast Cable.

25. United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA)

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Location: Kings Point, NY
Four-Year Cost: $34,900.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Employability Rate: 97%

United States Merchant Marine Academy is a U.S. service academy that mainly trains students to eventually become officers in the United States Merchant Marine, as well as the transportation industry and other branches of the military. As such, majors and programs offered in the school focus on marine engineering, ship administration, navigation, maritime law, international law, and others directly related to running large ships. As part of the school’s curriculum, students serve as cadets on U.S. merchant ships during their sophomore year. This provides them with hands-on experience even before they graduate. All of the school’s students receive financial aid through Federal Student Aid programs such as subsidized and unsubsidized loans as well as Pell Grants. Top companies that hire graduates from USMMA include General Electric, General Dynamics, Eaton Corporation, and Fincantieri.

26. Colgate University

Colgate University

Location: Hamilton, NY
Four-Year Cost: $255,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Employability Rate: 93%

Colgate University is a private university known for its liberal arts programs. Its top majors include political science, economics, econometrics, psychology, and computer science. The university also offers a master of arts in teaching program. Despite not being a research university, the school sends two-thirds of its students to study overseas, which is higher compared to other higher education institutions in the U.S. It is estimated that around 32% of Colgate University students obtain educational financial assistance. As of 2020, the average debt for students who took out aid is $14,992 which is far lower than their peers who attended other universities. Moreover, top companies with Colgate graduates as employees include Ernst & Young, Abbvie, Inc., Slalom Consulting, and The Bowdoin Group.

27. Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (ACPHS)

Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Location: Albany, NY
Four-Year Cost: $178,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 72%
Employability Rate: 98%

Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences is a private college that offers degree programs in the fields of medical science and public health. It offers bachelor of science degrees in biomedical technology, clinical laboratory sciences, microbiology, pharmaceutical sciences, and public health. Meanwhile, master of science programs for clinical laboratory sciences, cytotechnology and molecular cytology, health outcomes and informatics, molecular biosciences, and pharmaceutical sciences, are also offered. Students can also proceed to take a doctorate in pharmacy (Pharm.D.). At least 80% of ACPHS students receive a form of financial assistance. Meanwhile, ACPHS alumni get gainful employment in companies such as CVS / Pharmacy, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, and RBC Wealth Management.

28. Williams College

Williams College

Location: Williamstown, MA
Four-Year Cost: $261,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 90%

Williams College is a private college known for its liberal arts curriculum. Its popular majors include English language, literature, political science, government, history, econometrics, and biology. With three academic branches—arts and humanities, science, and social sciences—the institution applies Oxford-style tutorials where student participation is highly encouraged. Students can also take additional academic areas that are not considered as majors. Currently, around 52% of Williams College students benefit from the institution’s generous financial aid programs. Graduates, on the other hand, often get considerable salaries when hired by companies such as Amazon, HubSpot, CBRE Group, and Booz, Allen, and Hamilton.

29. Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA)

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Location: Buzzards Bay, MA
Four-Year Cost: $155,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 87%
Employability Rate: 97%

Massachusetts Maritime Academy, also known as Mass Maritime or simply Maritime, is a public college that focuses on maritime-related disciplines. As such, its top majors are engineering, business management, transportation, materials moving, law enforcement, and natural resources and conservation, all in relation to maritime operations and management. Aside from in-classroom education, students also participate in sea term, where they acquire hands-on training at sea. According to the latest data, around 58% of MMA students receive need-based financial education assistance. Graduates can find gainful employment in companies such as General Dynamics Electric Boat, Raytheon Co., Crowley Maritime Corporation, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

30. Babson College

Babson College

Location: Babson Park, MA
Four-Year Cost: $254,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 95%
Employability Rate: 91%

Babson College is a private university that focuses on entrepreneurship and business education. As such, some of its popular majors are management sciences, marketing management, economics, finance, and entrepreneurial studies. Despite not granting graduate degrees, the college facilitates a study abroad program, which is offered to juniors and seniors. Around 26 students every year are sent to visit and study in China, Russia, and India. Moreover, 42% of the school’s students, both graduate and undergraduate, rely on some kind of financial aid to support their education. With sufficient entrepreneurial skills on their back, graduates get hired by top companies like Wayfair LLC, Staples, Inc., Fidelity Investments, and Cardinal Health, Inc.

31. SUNY Maritime College

SUNY Maritime College

Location: Throggs Neck, NY
Four-Year Cost: $134,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 84%
Employability Rate: 95%

State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College is another public college that offers programs focused on maritime education. As such, its most popular majors are marine science, marine engineering, mechanical engineering, naval architecture, electronics engineering, electrical engineering, and business management. Although it does not facilitate research and postgraduate degree programs, SUNY Maritime College offers graduate professional mariner training certificates. It is also the only U.S. academic institution with a U.S. Navy/U.S Marine Corps Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program that prepares students for commissioned officer roles. It is estimated that about 54% of the school’s students receive some kind of financial aid. These can come in the form of the Federal Cares Act Fund, Petition for Special Circumstances, and Emergency Funds in addition to student loans and scholarships. Top employers for SUNY Maritime College graduates include General Dynamics Boat, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

32. Colby College

Colby College

Location: Waterville, ME
Four-Year Cost: $249,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Employability Rate: 92%

Colby College is a private institution that follows a liberal arts curriculum for its undergraduate programs. Its most popular majors include interdisciplinary studies, social sciences, psychology, social sciences, and biological sciences. Students are allowed the flexibility to design their own independent study programs and elect special majors. They are also encouraged to participate in study-abroad and internship programs. According to the latest available information, around 45% of Colby students receive full need-based financial assistance. Some of the top employers of Colby College alumni include Accenture, Ascensus, Inc., and Altria Group, Inc.

33. Lafayette College

Lafayette College

Location: Easton, PA
Four-Year Cost: $251,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Employability Rate: 93%

Lafayette College is another private college that focuses on liberal arts programs. As such, it is popular for the following majors: visual and performing arts, social sciences, psychology, engineering, biological sciences, and biomedical sciences. It does not offer postgraduate programs, but its students can combine courses from different undergraduate programs. Lafayette College students earn numerous national and global scholarships as well. More than half of its student body receives financial assistance from the school. Of which, at least 35% receive need-based financial aid. Lafayette College graduates who report considerable salaries mostly work at WSP Global Inc., The Boeing Company, Turner Construction Company, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Northrop Grumman Corporation.

34. Bentley University

Bentley University

Location: Waltham, MA
Four-Year Cost: $240,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 97%

Bentley University is a private university with a focus on business programs. Initially founded as a school for accounting and finance, its most popular majors include business administration, marketing, finance, and accounting. Offering more than 20 undergraduate degrees, Bentley also has a graduate school that emphasizes the role of technology in business. It also offers master of science degrees, doctorates in business and accounting, and graduate certificate programs. Around 46% of Bentley’s students benefit from financial assistance. Some of the top companies that have Bentley alumni as employees include Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Fidelity Investments, Akamai Technologies, and Penn Foster.

35. Maine Maritime Academy

Maine Maritime Academy

Location: Castine, ME
Four-Year Cost: $152,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 82%
Employability Rate: 96%

Another best-value school that focuses on maritime education and training, Maine Maritime Academy is a public college with popular majors such as naval architecture, marine science, marine engineering, systems engineering, international trade, and commerce. Unlike in public federal service academies, students of Maine Maritime are not required to go out to sea or enter the military after graduation. However, students are required to undergo at least one co-op program, with some majors requiring multiple co-ops. Almost 70% of the school’s students rely on some form of educational financial aid. Meanwhile, graduates can expect to get gainful employment in companies such as the American Bureau of Shipping, Moran Towing Corporation, Bath Iron Works Corporation, and New England Controls.

36. Villanova University

Villanova University

Location: Villanova, PA
Four-Year Cost: $248,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Employability Rate: 95%

Villanova University is a private Catholic higher education institution. Led by priests, the university maintains its Augustinian roots. As such, its undergraduate curriculum includes the Augustine and Culture Seminar course, taken during the freshman year. Among the university’s popular majors are business management, marketing, journalism, communication, social sciences, health sciences, and engineering. Classified as having high research activity, it facilitates graduate and professional programs through its well-regarded institutes such as the Charles Widger School of Law. It is estimated that 47% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students receive financial assistance. Furthermore, popular companies with Villanova University alumni include JPMCC, Comcast Cable, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

Best Value Colleges in the Southeast

37. Duke University

Duke University

Location: Durham, NC
Four-Year Cost: $262,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 87.50%

Duke University is a private research-intensive university. Currently divided into 10 colleges, its top five undergraduate majors are computer science, economics, public policy, biology, and psychology. As a research university, it facilitates graduate studies through its highly ranked graduate institutes, including the Fuqua School of Business, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Pratt School of Engineering. It is estimated that 46% of Duke University undergraduates rely on some form of educational financial aid. In addition, professionals and graduate students also benefit from their assistance. However, international students get limited aid. Some of the top employers of Duke alumni are the university itself, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com, Capital One Financial Corp, and Booz, Allen, and Hamilton.

38. Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology

Location: Atlanta, GA
Four-Year Cost: $180,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 83.70%

Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is a public research-intensive university. As an institute of technology, its strength lies in its engineering, physical science, biological science, biomedical science, information science, and computer science majors. It offers graduate studies and supports research work through its highly ranked graduate schools, including the Scheller College of Business and College of Engineering. It is estimated that almost 40% of its students enrolled in undergraduate programs acquire financial assistance. It is common for Georgia Tech graduates to be hired by top technology companies such as General Electric Co, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Lockheed Martin Corp.

39. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC or UNC-Chapel Hill)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Four-Year Cost: $196,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 81.75%

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university that serves as the University of North Carolina system’s flagship institution. Among its most popular majors are biology, biomedical science, psychology, business management, marketing, communication, and journalism. With very high research activity, the university facilitates graduate studies through its highly ranked institutes that include the Gillings School of Public Health, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Kenan-Flagler Business School. According to the latest available information, 44% of UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate students receive financial aid for their education. Moreover, top employers for the university’s alumni include IBM, Fidelity Investments, Relias Learning, and UNC-Chapel Hill itself.

40. University of Virginia (UVA or U.Va.)

University of Virginia

Location: Charlottesville, VA
Four-Year Cost: $229,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 74.75%

The University of Virginia is a public research-intensive higher education institution that serves as Virginia’s flagship university. UVA’s most popular majors include economics, business, commerce, international affairs, psychology, and biology. The university has highly ranked graduate programs facilitated through its several graduate institutes, such as the Curry School of Education, Darden Graduate School of Business, and School of Engineering and Applied Science. It is estimated that 36% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial assistance. Furthermore, top companies with UVA alumni as employees include Deloitte, Capital One Financial Corp, and Booz, Allen, and Hamilton.

41. Georgetown University

Georgetown University

Location: Washington, DC
Four-Year Cost: $263,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Employability Rate: 73%

Georgetown University is a private research-intensive university that offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. For undergraduates, the most popular majors include interdisciplinary studies, management, marketing, psychology, social sciences, and biological sciences. Moreover, the university runs several esteemed graduate and professional schools. Among these are the McCourt School of Public Policy, Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business, the Law Center, and the School of Medicine. According to estimates, 38% of the university’s full-time undergraduate enrollees receive financial aid. Furthermore, popular employers of Georgetown University alumni include Accenture, Deloitte, and the university itself.

42. North Carolina State University (NCSU or NC State)

North Carolina State University

Location: Raleigh, NC
Four-Year Cost: $153,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Employability Rate: 74%

North Carolina State University is a public research university. It is a land-grant institution that falls under the University of North Carolina school system. The most popular majors at NCSU include engineering, agriculture, computer science, information sciences, biology, biomedical sciences, management, and marketing. Classified as a university with very high research activity, NCSU facilitates research and offers graduate programs through well-reputed institutes. NCSU’s engineering school, in particular, is well-regarded for its biological/agricultural and nuclear engineering programs. At NCSU, about 45% of undergraduate students receive need-based financial assistance. Some of the popular companies that have NCSU alumni as employees are Cisco Systems Inc, IBM, Red Hat, Inc., SAS Institute Inc., and Relias Learning.

43. University of Florida (UF)

University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, FL
Four-Year Cost: $153,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 73%

The University of Florida is a public land-grant higher education institution classified as having very high research activity. It has several popular majors, among which are engineering, marketing, business management, biological sciences, social sciences, and health sciences. Furthermore, included in its well-regarded graduate and professional programs are those offered through institutes, such as the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, Levin College of Law, Warrington College of Business, and the College of Medicine. At UF, about 40% of the total undergraduate enrollees receive financial aid. Some of the top companies with UF alumni as employees are Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Harris Corporation, and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

44. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Location: Blacksburg, VA
Four-Year Cost: $168,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 67.20%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a public land-grant research-intensive university classified to have very high research activity. Its popular majors include management, marketing, engineering, biology, social science, and family and human sciences. Virginia Tech runs several research institutes, including the Fralin Life Science Institute, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and Hume Center for National Security and Technology. Around 38% of Virginia Tech undergraduate students rely on financial aid. Moreover, alumni that work in the following companies enjoy generally better salaries: Northrop Grumman Corporation, Capital One Financial Corp, and Lockheed Martin Corp.

45. George Washington University (GWU or GW)

George Washington University

Location: Washington, DC
Four-Year Cost: $257,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 92%
Employability Rate: 62.15%

George Washington University is a private research-intensive university that offers programs across a wide range of disciplines. Included in the most popular majors among students are social sciences, health sciences, marketing, management, journalism, communication, and engineering. It facilitates research and offers graduate programs through various research centers and institutes. These include the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington Institute for Public Policy, GW Cancer Institute, and the GW Institute for Biomedical Sciences, among many others. It is estimated that 45% of GWU students receive financial aid. Meanwhile, top companies with GWU alumni employees include Deloitte, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Booz, Allen, and Hamilton.

46. Vanderbilt University (VU or Vandy)

Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, TN
Four-Year Cost: $252,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 63.15%

Vanderbilt University is a private higher education institution considered to have very high research activity. Among its most popular majors are interdisciplinary studies, statistics, mathematics, social sciences, biological sciences, and engineering. As a research university, it runs high-ranking graduate schools and institutes, including the Peabody College of Education and Human Development and Owen Graduate School of Management. Around 49% of VU’s students receive financial aid. Alumni in the workforce that work in companies such as Vanderbilt LLC, Vanderbilt Medical Center, and Deloitte Consulting LLP are reported to have generally better salaries.

47. American University (AU)

American University

Location: Washington, DC
Four-Year Cost: $239,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 89%
Employability Rate: 59.80%

American University is a private research-intensive university. Its most popular majors include journalism, communication, visual arts, performance arts, interdisciplinary studies, social sciences, and health sciences. It offers various master and doctorate degrees across its eight schools, which include the well-regarded Washington College of Law that offers LLM, JD, and SJD programs. It is estimated that about 45% of American University’s undergraduate student body receives some form of need-based educational financial aid. Some of the top organizations with employees that graduated from American University are Deloitte, Johns Hopkins University, and Booz, Allen, and Hamilton.

48. University of South Florida (USF)

University of South Florida

Location: Tampa, FL
Four-Year Cost: $128,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 23:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 91%
Employability Rate: 59.30%

The University of South Florida is a research-intensive public university. Its popular majors include engineering, marketing, management, biology, health sciences, social sciences, and biomedical sciences. As a university with very high research activity, it facilitates research and grants graduate programs through well-reputed institutes such as the Morsani College of Medicine, College of Public Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, Patel College of Global Sustainability, and The Center for Urban Transportation Research. It is estimated that 55% of USF’s undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. Furthermore, some of the top U.S. companies with USF alumni in their workforce are Citibank, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Wellcare Health Plans, Inc.

49. Emory University

Emory University

Location: Atlanta, GA
Four-Year Cost: $249,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Employability Rate: 53.90%

Emory University is a private university classified as an institution with very high research activity. Some of the university’s most popular majors are business management and administration, biological sciences, nursing, economics, and psychology. Meanwhile, its high ranking graduate and professional schools include the Goizueta Business School, School of Medicine, and School of Law. Based on the latest estimates, about 48% of its undergraduate students receive some form of financial assistance. Emory graduates who get hired by the following companies are reported to have significant salary ranges: Accenture, Emory Healthcare, and Booz, Allen, and Hamilton.

50. Florida State University (FSU)

Florida State University

Location: Tallahassee, FL
Four-Year Cost: $148,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 54.40%

Florida State University is a research-intensive public university. Among its popular majors are psychology, finance, criminal justice, marketing, English language, and literature. As a research university, it runs graduate schools that focus on a variety of disciplines. These include the well-regarded College of Medicine, College of Business, and College of Law. It is estimated that 46% of FSU’s full-time undergraduate enrollees rely on at least one form of educational financial assistance. Some of the companies with FSU mid to high-earning alumni include Ernst & Young, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Lockheed Martin Corp.

51. Louisiana State University (LSU)

Louisiana State University

Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Four-Year Cost: $182,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 83%
Employability Rate: 54.40%

Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College is a public land-grant university with very high research activity. Its popular majors include Management, marketing, education, engineering, social sciences, biological sciences, and biomedical sciences. Students can choose from a wide range of programs, including graduate degrees offered through well-regarded colleges, such as the College of Engineering and E.J. Ourso College of Business. Around 52% of LSU’s undergraduate students receive need-based financial grants and aids. The university’s successful alumni can get gainful employment when hired by LSU itself, as well as companies such as Praeses LLC.

52. University of Georgia (UGA)

University of Georgia

Location: Athens, GA
Four-Year Cost: $169,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Employability Rate: 53.90%

The University of Georgia is a public sea- and land-grant university. Its most popular majors include finance, marketing, international relations, psychology, biology, and biomedical sciences. Classified to have very high research activity, UGA runs nationally renowned graduate programs through its numerous institutes, including the Law School and College of Education. The university is active in research that focuses on sea-based and agricultural programs. About 40% of the university’s undergraduate enrollees receive financial assistance for their education. Moreover, companies with UGA alumni who receive substantial salaries include Equifax Inc, Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and NCR Corp.

53. University of Alabama (UA)

University of Alabama

Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
Four-Year Cost: $173,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 87%
Employability Rate: 54.40%

The University of Alabama is a public research-intensive university that offers various programs across 13 academic divisions. Its most popular majors are marketing, business management, journalism, communication, engineering, and health sciences, among several others. As a research university, it offers graduate programs through highly ranked graduate and professional institutes, such as its School of Law and School of Medicine. It is estimated that about 41% of UA’s undergraduate students get financial aid to support their studies. Some of the top employers of UA graduates include Lockheed Martin Corp, Regions Bank, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Dynetics, Inc.

54. University of South Carolina (USC)

University of South Carolina
Location: Columbia, SC
Four-Year Cost: $187,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 88%
Employability Rate: 55.40%

The University of South Carolina is a research-intensive public university. The popular majors offered by the university include finance and financial management, public health, psychology, and marketing. As one of the U.S. universities with the highest research activity, USC facilitates graduate studies and research through well-ranked institutes, such as the Darla Moore School of Business, as well as its engineering, medical, and law schools. At least 48% of USC undergraduate students are granted some kind of need-based financial assistance for their education. Meanwhile, the latest data show that USC graduates employed by these companies have mid- to high-range salaries: Duke Energy Corp, The Boeing Company, Bank of America Corp., and The Vanguard Group.

55. University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK)

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Location: Knoxville, TN
Four-Year Cost: $191,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 87%
Employability Rate: 54.90%

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville is a public research-intensive university. It is most popular for majors such as communication, journalism, engineering, social sciences, management, marketing, leisure, parks, recreation, and fitness studies. Classified as a university with very high research activity, UTK offers graduate programs through its well-regarded schools, including its Graduate School of Business, College of Engineering, Law School, and the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Based on the latest estimates, around 54% of UTK full-time undergraduate students receive need-based educational financial aid. Top companies with UTK alumni earning significant salaries include HCA, Inc., The Tombras Group, Denso Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc, and the State of Tennessee.

56. Virginia Military Institute (VMI)

Virginia Military Institute

Location: Lexington, VA
Four-Year Cost: $201,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 86%
Employability Rate: 97%

Virginia Military Institute is a public military college. As such, it only accepts cadets and exclusively awards bachelor degrees while following strict military training. Some of the most popular majors offered by the university are international affairs and relations, civil engineering, economics, biological sciences, and computer science. Being a military institute, it requires all cadets to participate in the U.S Armed Forces’ ROTC programs. Cadets are also allowed to pursue civilian endeavors or accept an officer’s commission. According to currently available data, about 71% of VMI’s undergraduate students obtain some kind of financial grant. Aside from the country’s armed forces, top employers of VMI alumni include Emhart Glass, Timmons Group, Ernst & Young, and Corelogic, Inc.

Best Value Colleges in the Midwest

57. University of Chicago (UChicago)

University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL
Four-Year Cost: $275,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 5:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 99%
Employability Rate: 91.65%

The University of Chicago is a private research-intensive university known for its outstanding programs in arts and sciences. Its most popular majors include social sciences, biology, biomedical sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and public administration. With very high research activity, UChicago facilitates research through more than 140 research institutes. These include the Oriental Institute and Center for Middle Eastern Studies. According to the latest data available, about 40% of UChicago’s full-time undergraduate enrollees receive financial assistance for their studies. Meanwhile, top employers for the university’s alumni include Accenture, JPMCC, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Enova International.

58. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (UM)

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Four-Year Cost: $226,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 89.10%

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is a public research university. Among its most popular majors are business management and administration, information and computer sciences, computer engineering, economics, and experimental psychology. As a research-intensive institution with very high research activity, it runs high-ranking graduate institutes such as the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Taubman College for Architecture and Urban Planning, as well as its own Law School and College of Engineering. It is estimated that 39% of UM’s full-time undergraduate students receive financial aid. Meanwhile, top companies with UM alumni as employees include General Motors Corporation, Amazon.com, Quicken Loans, and Ford Motor Company.

59. Northwestern University (NU)

Northwestern University

Location: Evanston, IL
Four-Year Cost: $267,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 86.50%

Northwestern University is a private research university that focuses on interdisciplinary education. Some of the popular majors among its students are quantitative economics and econometrics, psychology, political science and governance, journalism, and neuroscience. As a research institution, NU offers graduate programs and sponsors research through its well-ranked institutes that include the Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Feinberg School of Medicine. At least 46% of its undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. NU alumni who are employed by top companies such as the following have been reported to get considerable salaries: IBM, Accenture, and Abbott Laboratories.

60. Purdue University

Purdue University

Location: West Lafayette, IN
Four-Year Cost: $168,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 92%
Employability Rate: 86%

Purdue University is a public research university. Among its more than 200 majors, the most popular include management, marketing, engineering, humanities, liberal arts, and agriculture. The land-grant university offers professional and graduate programs through its highly regarded institutes, which include the Krannert School of Management, College of Engineering, College of Pharmacy, and College of Education. Based on current data, at least 40% of Purdue’s full-time undergraduate enrollees receive some form of financial assistance for their studies. Moreover, some of the top employers of the university’s alumni include Northrop Grumman Corporation, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Cummins, Inc.

61. University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW or UW-Madison)

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, WI
Four-Year Cost: $172,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 95%
Employability Rate: 81.60%

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public research university. As a land-grant institution, among its top majors are computer science, information science, economics, biology, psychology, and finance. The research-intensive university operates research and graduate institutes, including the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, as well as its own School of Medicine and Public Health, College of Engineering, and Law School. It is estimated that around 33% of UW-Madison’s undergraduate students receive financial aid. Some of the top companies that have UW alumni as employees are General Electric Healthcare, Target Corporation, and the university itself.

62. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

University-of-Illinois-at-Urbana-Champaign

Location: Champaign, IL
Four-Year Cost: $178,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 81.15%

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is a public research university. Among the top majors in this land-grant university are business management, marketing, engineering, social sciences, biology, journalism, and communication. UIUC is composed of several colleges and institutes, including the highly ranked College of Education, College of Business, and College of Law. It is estimated that at least 45% of the university’s undergraduate students rely on some form of financial aid. Furthermore, UIUC alumni employed at companies such as The Northern Trust Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Allstate, and The Boeing Company typically get significant salaries.

63. Ohio State University (OSU)

Ohio State University

Location: Columbus, OH
Four-Year Cost: $170,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Employability Rate: 77.45%

Ohio State University is a public research-intensive university. Offering a wide range of programs, its most popular majors include finance, marketing, psychology, speech communication, and biology. As one of the country’s universities with the highest research activity, it offers graduate programs through its well-ranked institutes, such as its College of Education and Human Ecology and College of Medicine, as well as the Max M. Fisher College of Business. According to the latest available information, around 45% of the university’s undergraduate students receive need-based financial grants. Furthermore, OSU alumni are likely to get good salaries when hired by companies such as Cardinal Health, Inc., OhioHealth, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, and JPMCC.

64. Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL)

Washington University in St. Louis

Location: Saint Louis, MO
Four-Year Cost: $266,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 76.40%

Washington State University in St. Louis is a private research-intensive university. Its popular majors include social sciences, biomedical sciences, biology, psychology, engineering, management, and marketing. With very high research activity, it offers graduate and professional programs through a number of highly regarded institutes, such as the George Warren Brown School of Work, Olin Business School, and Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. At least 42% of WUSTL’s full-time undergraduate enrollees receive financial assistance for their education. Meanwhile, top companies with WUSTL alumni as employees include The Boeing Company, Monsanto Company, and Amazon.com.

65. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMN)

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Location: Minneapolis, MN
Four-Year Cost: $136,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 72.90%

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a public land-grant university with very high research activity. Among its popular majors are engineering, marketing, management, biology, biomedical sciences, social sciences, and psychology. As a research institution, it runs highly ranked schools, including its College of Education and Human Development, Law School, and Carlson School of Management. It is estimated that around 46% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students receive financial grants to support their studies. Furthermore, companies with UMN, Twin Cities alumni with significant salaries include Target Corporation, Medtronic, Inc., 3M Company, and UnitedHealth Group.

66. Indiana University Bloomington (IU)

Indiana University Bloomington

Location: Bloomington, IN
Four-Year Cost: $190,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 91%
Employability Rate: 69.85%

Indiana University Bloomington is a public research-intensive university. As the flagship school of the Indiana University system, it offers a wide range of programs, including popular majors such as marketing, management, computer science, information science, journalism, communication, biological science, and public administration. Meanwhile, IU’s top-ranked graduate programs are offered in renowned institutes such as the Kelley School of Business, Maurer School of Law, and its School of Education. At least 39% of full-time undergraduate students get educational financial assistance. Furthermore, some of the top companies that employ IU alumni include Eli Lilly and Company, Humana, Inc., and IU Health.

67. University of Kansas (KU)

University of Kansas
Location: Lawrence, KS
Four-Year Cost: $158,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 84%
Employability Rate: 69.35%

The University of Kansas is a public university with very high research activity. Among its popular majors are marketing, business management, health sciences and professions, journalism, communication, and engineering. Meanwhile, it facilitates research and graduate studies through its well-reputed schools, including the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, School of Business, and School of Engineering. It is estimated that around 45% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students rely on some form of financial assistance. KU alumni with considerable salaries are typically employed in companies such as Garmin International, Black and Veatch, and Cerner Corporation.

68. University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

University of Illinois at Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL
Four-Year Cost: $169,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 80%
Employability Rate: 67.35%

The University of Illinois at Chicago is a research-intensive public university. Among its most popular majors are biology, biomedical science, health sciences, psychology, business management, marketing, and engineering. With very high research activity, it runs well-regarded institutes that facilitate research and graduate programs. These include the Liautaud Graduate School of Business, as well as UIC’s Engineering School and College of Education. About 71% of UIC’s full-time undergraduate enrollees acquire some form of financial assistance for their studies. Meanwhile, some of the top companies that have UIC alumni as employees are JPMCC, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Amazon.com.

69. University of Notre Dame (ND)

University of Notre Dame

Location: Notre Dame, IN
Four-Year Cost: $254,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 66.70%

The University of Notre Dame is a private Catholic research-intensive university. Its popular majors include economics, political science, governance, computer science, information science, finance, and mechanical engineering. As a research university, it facilitates graduate studies and research through its well-renowned Law School, School of Architecture, and Mendoza College of Business. Around 48% of its undergraduate student body receive some kind of educational financial assistance. Moreover, top companies with ND alumni employees include Accenture, Amazon.com, The Boeing Company, and Booz, Allen, and Hamilton.

70. Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)

Case Western Reserve University

Location: Cleveland, OH
Four-Year Cost: $242,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 63.15%

Case Western Reserve University is a private university classified as having very high research activity. Included in its most popular majors are biology, nursing, bioengineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science. As a research university, it sponsors research and facilitates graduate programs through many reputed institutes, such as its School of Law, School of Engineering, and the Waterhead School of Management. It is estimated that 47% of its full-time undergraduate student population receive some kind of educational funding aid. CWRU alumni employed at these companies are reported to enjoy significant salaries: General Electric, JPMCC, Rockwell Automation, Inc., and The Cleveland Clinic.

71. Iowa State University

Iowa State University

Location: Ames, IA
Four-Year Cost: $129,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 88%
Employability Rate: 55.90%

Iowa State University is a public land-grant university that is also one of the country’s higher education institutions with very high research activity. Its popular majors include business management, marketing, agriculture operations, biology, biomedical science, engineering, and education. It offers research and graduate programs through highly regarded schools and colleges, such as the College of Engineering and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Around 51% of Iowa State’s undergraduate enrollees receive need-based educational financial grants. Furthermore, some of the top companies that have Iowa State alumni as employees are The Boeing Company, Rockwell Collins, Inc., John Deere, and Principal Financial Group.

72. University of Cincinnati (UC)

University of Cincinnati

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Four-Year Cost: $172,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 87%
Employability Rate: 53.90%

The University of Cincinnati is a public university that also has very high research activity. Its popular majors include management, marketing, health sciences, biological sciences, biomedical sciences, engineering, and visual and performing arts. Its research and graduate programs, on the other hand, are offered through top-performing institutes such as the College of Allied Health Sciences, College of Law, College of Engineering and Applied Science, and College of Medicine. At least 43% of the university’s total undergraduate student population receive financial assistance for their education. Meanwhile, top companies with UC alumni as employees include The Kroger Company, General Electric Co, General Electric Aviation, and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

73. University of Iowa (UI)

University of Iowa

Location: Iowa City, IA
Four-Year Cost: $163,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 86%
Employability Rate: 55.90%

The University of Iowa is a public university that offers undergraduate, graduate, and research programs. Among its top majors are management, marketing, and related business majors, as well as social sciences, communication, journalism, and engineering. It also offers high ranking graduate programs through institutes such as the Henry B. Tippie School of Management, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, College of Law, and College of Education. It is estimated that 48% of UI’s full-time undergraduate enrollees receive some kind of financial aid. Prominent companies with UI graduates as employees include Rockwell Collins, Inc., Principal Financial Group, and Integrated Dna Technologies, Inc.

74. University of Missouri (MU)

University of Missouri

Location: Columbia, MO
Four-Year Cost: $158,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 87%
Employability Rate: 55.40%

The University of Missouri is a public land-grant university with very high research activity. Among its popular majors are health professions and sciences, biology, biomedical sciences, engineering, business administration, marketing, communication, and journalism. MU offers highly ranked graduate programs through several graduate and research institutes, such as its College of Education, School of Medicine, School of Law, and the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business. At least 49% of MU’s full-time undergraduate students receive financial assistance for their studies. Meanwhile, top U.S. companies with MU alumni as employees include The Boeing Company, Cerner Corporation, Centene Corporation, and Nestle Purina.

75. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT)

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Location: Terre Haute, IN
Four-Year Cost: $239,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 92%
Employability Rate: 97%

Rose-Hulman Institute Technology is a private college. Specializing in STEM programs, its most popular majors include computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics engineering, biomedical engineering, and bioengineering. Aside from its outstanding undergraduate programs, RHIT also awards master of science degrees in the fields of biomedical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, and optical engineering, among others. It is estimated that around 57% of the college’s students receive at least one form of need-based financial assistance. Furthermore, successful RHIT alumni find gainful employment in companies such as Northrop Grumman Corporation, General Electric, Stryker Corp, and Booz, Allen, and Hamilton.

76. Carleton College

Carleton College

Location: Northfield, MN
Four-Year Cost: $254,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Employability Rate: 91%

Carleton College is a private college that specializes in liberal arts education. As such, its most popular majors include physical sciences, biological sciences, biomedical sciences, social sciences, computer science, information sciences, mathematics, and statistics. A small liberal arts college, it is one of the most selective colleges in the country. Furthermore, Carleton students have the option to customize their own major. Around 56% of the institution’s students rely on educational financial assistance. Some of the top companies with employees that graduated from Carleton College include Northrop Grumman Corporation, Press Ganey Associates, TPI Composites, Target Corporation, and AGCO Corporation.

Best Value Colleges in the Southwest

77. University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)

University of Texas at Austin

Location: Austin, TX
Four-Year Cost: $203,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 95%
Employability Rate: 80.75%

The University of Texas at Austin is a public research-intensive university. It is also the University of Texas System’s flagship institution. Among the popular majors it offers are engineering, management, marketing, social sciences, journalism, communication, biology, and biomedical sciences. As one of the biggest universities in the country, UT Austin runs several graduate and research institutes, including the highly ranked Cockrell School of Engineering and McCombs School of Business. Around 40% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students receive financial aid. Meanwhile, top companies that employ UT Austin graduates include Lockheed Martin Corp, Indeed, Inc., Del, Inc., and IBM.

78. Arizona State University (ASU)

Arizona State University

Location: Tempe, AZ
Four-Year Cost: $160,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 87%
Employability Rate: 73.25%

Arizona State University is a public university. One of the biggest public higher education institutions in the country, its most popular majors are marketing, management, engineering, biomedical science, biological science, social science, visual arts, and performing arts. Classified as having very high research activity, it offers research and graduate programs through schools such as the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, W. P. Carey School of Business, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, and Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Around 54% of ASU’s undergraduate students receive financial aid. Meanwhile, top companies that have employees hailing from ASU include Amazon.com, Intel Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and The Boeing Company.

79. Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University

Location: College Station, TX
Four-Year Cost: $169,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 92%
Employability Rate: 73.40%

Texas A&M University is a public research university. It serves as the Texas A&M University System’s flagship institution. Among this land-grant university’s popular majors are marketing, management, engineering, agriculture science and operations, biological science, biomedical science, and interdisciplinary studies. Offering research and graduate programs, it runs highly regarded institutes that include the Mays Business School, Dwight Look College of Engineering, and the College of Education and Human Development. At least 43% of the university’s undergraduate student population receive financial assistance. Furthermore, top companies that employ A&M graduates include Lockheed Martin Corp, Intel Corporation, and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

80. University of Arizona (UA)

University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, AZ
Four-Year Cost: $183,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 82%
Employability Rate: 67.85%

The University of Arizona is a public university with very high research activity. Divided into 19 colleges, its most popular majors include marketing, business management, health sciences, biological sciences, biomedical sciences, social sciences, and engineering. As a research institution, it offers outstanding graduate and professional programs through several institutes, including the James E. Rogers College of Law, Eller College of Management, and the College of Medicine. It is estimated that half of the university’s students acquire financial assistance to support their education. Meanwhile, top U.S. companies that employ UA graduates include Raytheon Missile Systems, Intel Corporation, and Honeywell Aerospace.

81. Baylor College of Medicine (BCM)

Baylor College of Medicine

Location: Houston, TX
Four-Year Cost: $240,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3.5:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 69%
Employability Rate: 15.80%

Baylor College of Medicine is a private health sciences university. It is a stand-alone institution situated within the Texas Medical Center. BCM’s academic programs are consistently highly ranked. The university is divided into four components: the School of Health Professions, the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the National School of Tropical Medicine. Various funding sources and programs are available to BCM students. The university also provides financial aid counseling. BCM is affiliated with various hospitals, including the Texas Children’s Hospital, DeBakey VA Medical Center, and Ben Taub Hospital.

82. University of Houston (UH)

University of Houston

Location: Houston, TX
Four-Year Cost: $137,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 23:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 85%
Employability Rate: 53.40%

The University of Houston is a public research-intensive university. It also serves as the flagship school of the University of Houston school system. It offers various majors, among the most popular of which are marketing, business management, psychology, biology, biomedical science, computer science, information science, and engineering. UH also facilitates a number of graduate programs through different schools, such as the Cullen College of Engineering and C.T. Bauer College of Business. Around 59% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students receive some kind of financial assistance. Furthermore, among the top companies that employ UH graduates are National Oilwell Varco, Halliburton Co, Schlumberger, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

83. University of Oklahoma (OU)

University of Oklahoma

Location: Norman, OK
Four-Year Cost: $153,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 90%
Employability Rate: 54.40%

The University of Oklahoma is a public university with very high research activity. Offering more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs, its most popular majors include business management, marketing, engineering, liberal arts and sciences, social sciences, humanities, journalism, and communication. Meanwhile, among its well-ranked graduate institutes are its College of Engineering, College of Law, College of Medicine, and the Michael F. Price College of Business. At least 46% of OU’s undergraduate enrollees receive need-based financial aid for their studies. Successful OU alumni often get gainful employment in companies such as Northrop Grumman Corporation, The Boeing Company, Paycom, and the University of Oklahoma itself.

84. University of Texas at Dallas (UTD)

University of Texas at Dallas

Location: Richardson, TX
Four-Year Cost: $167,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 24:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 88%
Employability Rate: 53.40%

The University of Texas at Dallas is the largest public higher education institution in Dallas. It was originally founded to be the research arm of the technology company Texas Instruments. Among the popular majors it offers are business, marketing, and management; information and computer sciences; biomedical and biological sciences; health sciences and professions; and engineering. With its very high research activity, it runs various research institutes. These include the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory, and the Center for BrainHealth, which is part of UTD’s School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Around 49% of UTD students receive financial aid. Furthermore, top employers of UTD graduates include Texas Instruments, Inc., IBM, Amazon.com, and Raytheon Co.

85. University of Tulsa (TU)

University of Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, OK
Four-Year Cost: $217,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 89%
Employability Rate: 53.40%

The University of Tulsa is a private research-intensive university. Offering a wide range of programs in liberal arts, sciences, and professional studies, TU’s most popular majors include engineering, marketing, visual arts, performing arts, biological science, biomedical science, and computer science. TU offers graduate programs through its different colleges, including the Henry Kendall College of Arts & Sciences, Oxley College of Health Sciences, Collins College of Business, and the Graduate School. Around 55% of TU’s undergraduate enrollees acquire financial assistance for their education. Meanwhile, graduates who are employed by companies such as John Zink, L-3 Communications, BOK Financial Corporation, and ONEOK Inc are reported to enjoy significant salaries.

86. Rice University

Rice University

Location: Houston, TX
Four-Year Cost: $229,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 92%

Rice University, officially the William Marsh Rice University, is a private research-intensive higher education institution. Noted for its applied science programs, the university’s most popular majors include computer science, information science, cognitive science, biochemistry, and mechanical engineering. Furthermore, it also operates highly ranked graduate schools, including the George R. Brown School of Engineering, Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, and the School of Architecture. It is estimated that 42% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students receive need-based educational financial aid. Furthermore, top U.S. companies such as JPMCC, Microsoft Corp, Intel Corporation, and Amazon.com have Rice University graduates as employees.

Best Value Colleges in the West

87. Stanford University

Stanford University

Location: Stanford, CA
Four-Year Cost: $255,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 5:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 99%
Employability Rate: 96.30%

Stanford University is a private university with very high research activity. It offers a wide range of programs and majors, the most popular of which are engineering, computer science, information science, social sciences, mathematics, statistics, and multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary studies. Stanford’s high ranked graduate programs are offered through equally well-regarded institutes, such as its School of Engineering, School of Medicine, School of Education, and Graduate School of Business. At least 51% of the university’s undergraduate enrollees rely on financial assistance to support their studies. Moreover, successful alumni report enjoying considerable salaries when hired by top companies such as Apple, Facebook, Applied Materials, and Google.

88. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

University of California, Los Angeles

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Four-Year Cost: $181,500.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 93.65%

University of California, Los Angeles is a public university. More commonly known as UCLA, it has six undergraduate colleges that facilitate popular majors including biology, biomedical sciences, social sciences, psychology, mathematics, statistics, and engineering. Furthermore, UCLA also has seven professional schools and four institutes that focus on health sciences. Among these are the highly ranked Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and David Geffen School of Medicine. About 51% of UCLA’s undergraduate students rely on educational financial assistance. Meanwhile, top companies with UCLA graduates as employees include Northrop Grumman Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, Amazon.com, and Kaiser Permanente.

89. University of Southern California (USC)

University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Four-Year Cost: $264,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Employability Rate: 80.70%

The University of Southern California is a private university classified to have a very high research activity. Popular majors at USC include marketing, business management, social sciences, visual arts, performing arts, journalism, communication, and engineering. As a research university, it operates several colleges and institutes that facilitate top-ranked graduate programs: Marshall School of Business, Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering, Rossier School of Education, and Keck School of Medicine. At least 37% of USC’s students acquire financial assistance. Furthermore, some of the top U.S. companies that employ outstanding USC graduates include The Boeing Company, Amazon.com, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Kaiser Permanente.

90. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

California Institute of Technology

Location: Pasadena, CA
Four-Year Cost: $250,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 76.45%

Also known as Caltech, the California Institute of Technology is a private research university known for its strong programs in science and engineering. As such, its popular majors include engineering; physical, biological, and biomedical sciences; and information and computer sciences. Caltech continuously conducts and sponsors research in the fields of engineering and sciences, receiving support from NASA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other related institutes. About half of full-time Caltech undergraduates receive financial assistance. Caltech alumni are often hired by companies in the technology industry, such as Apple Computer, Inc, Spacex, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

91. University of California, Davis (UCD)

University of California, Davis

Location: Davis, CA
Four-Year Cost: $233,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 66.70%

University of California, Davis is a public university with very high research activity. Some of the majors popular among its students are social sciences, biomedical and biological sciences, psychology, agriculture, and engineering. Meanwhile, its highly ranked graduate programs are facilitated through reputed institutes, such as the Graduate School of Management, College of Engineering, School of Medicine, and School of Law. It is estimated that around 57% of UC Davis students rely on some form of need-based financial aid. Furthermore, top American companies that have UCD alumni as employees include Intel Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, and Genentech, Inc.

92. University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder)

University of Colorado Boulder

Location: Boulder, CO
Four-Year Cost: $210,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 88%
Employability Rate: 62.15%

The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university. It serves as the flagship institution of the University of Colorado school system. CU Boulder is known for several majors, including business management, communication, marketing, journalism, social sciences, engineering, and biological sciences. The university also offers well-reputed graduate programs through its high-ranking institutes that include the School of Education and College of Engineering and Applied Science. According to the latest information available, 33% of CU Boulder undergraduate enrollees receive financial aid. Furthermore, its alumni employed by some of the top companies in the U.S., such as Ball Aerospace, Dish Network Corporation, and Seagate Technology, Inc., report significant salaries.

93. Brigham Young University (BYU)

Brigham Young University

Location: Provo, UT
Four-Year Cost: $71,100.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 90%
Employability Rate: 47.90%

Brigham Young University is a private research-intensive university. It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) and as such is known to be highly selective. Its popular majors include business management, marketing, and other related professions, as well as biology, social sciences, health sciences, and engineering. BYU facilitates research and offers graduate programs through several well-reputed institutes, including the Marriott School of Management and Reuben Clark Law School. Around 47% of the university’s undergraduate students acquire financial assistance for their studies. Furthermore, top companies with BYU graduates as employees include Lucid Software, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Qualtrics, and LDS Church.

94. Colorado State University (CSU)

Colorado State University

Location: Fort Collins, CO
Four-Year Cost: $162,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 85%
Employability Rate: 54.90%

Colorado State University is a research-intensive public land-grant university. Among its most popular majors are biological science, biomedical science, engineering, management, marketing, social sciences, and parks and recreation. Meanwhile, its outstanding graduate programs are offered through its various academic colleges, including the College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Business, and Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. At least 44% of the university’s undergraduate students receive some kind of financial assistance. Moreover, top companies with CSU alumni as employees include Medtronic, Inc., EnCompass Technologies, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

95. University of California, Irvine (UCI)

University of California, Irvine

Location: Irvine, CA
Four-Year Cost: $224,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Employability Rate: 52.90%

University of California, Irvine is a public research-intensive university. Among its most popular majors are social sciences, psychology, biological science, biomedical science, management, and marketing. Moreover, UCI also offers graduate programs through its highly ranked colleges and institutes such as the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, Paul Merage School of Business, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences. Around 59% of UCI’s full-time undergraduate students receive financial assistance. Meanwhile, top companies that employ UCI graduates include Northrop Grumman Corporation, Medtronic, Inc., Kaiser Permanente, and The Boeing Company.

96. University of California, Riverside (UCR)

University of California, Riverside

Location: Riverside, CA
Four-Year Cost: $230,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 22:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 90%
Employability Rate: 53.40%

University of California, Riverside is a public research-intensive university. It offers a number of well-regarded majors, among which are social sciences, psychology, biological science, biomedical science, engineering, marketing, and management. Furthermore, it also offers several graduate programs, facilitated through highly regarded institutes such as UCR’s Graduate School of Education and Bourns College of Engineering. According to the latest estimates, 76% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students receive need-based financial assistance. Meanwhile, successful alumni can enjoy significant salaries when hired by top companies such as Kaiser Permanente, Amazon.com, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Northrop Grumman Corporation.

97. University of Denver (DU)

University of Denver

Location: Denver, CO
Four-Year Cost: $236,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 87%
Employability Rate: 52.90%

The University of Denver is a private university classified as among the country’s universities with high research activity. Among the majors that DU offers, the following are rated the most popular: psychology, social sciences, biology, marketing, management, journalism, and communication. DU also operates several well-regarded schools that offer graduate programs. These include the Sturm College of Law, Daniels College of Business, and the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. According to current estimates, at least 43% of the university’s full-time undergraduate students receive financial assistance. Furthermore, graduates are reported to enjoy considerable salaries when they get hired by leading companies such as Western Union, Comcast Cable, Inc., DaVita Inc., and Lockheed Martin Corp.

98. Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College

Location: Claremont, CA
Four-Year Cost: $272,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 98%
Employability Rate: 89%

Harvey Mudd College is a private residential college that specializes in undergraduate programs in the fields of engineering and science. As such, its most popular majors include engineering, computer science, information science, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and interdisciplinary studies. HMC is one of the institutions that make up the Claremont Colleges consortium. As such, HMC allows its students to take classes at the other undergraduate institutions that compose the consortium. It is estimated that around 48% of HMC’s students rely on need-based financial assistance to support their studies and expenses. Meanwhile, some of the top companies with HMC alumni as employees include General Dynamics Corp., United Launch Alliance, Applied Materials Inc, and Microsoft Corp.

99. Colorado School of Mines

Colorado School of Mines

Location: Golden, CO
Four-Year Cost: $195,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 92%
Employability Rate: 95%

The Colorado School of Mines is a public research university with undergraduate and graduate course offerings focused on energy and the environment. Among its popular majors are engineering, computer and information sciences, and mathematics. The institution provides research opportunities through its multiple research centers, which include the Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute and the Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. According to the latest data, around 46% of its full-time undergraduate students receive financial aid.  The university accommodates federal student aid, financial aid from the state of Colorado, grants, loans, and work study programs. Its graduates commonly get hired by top technological companies, such as Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corp, Ball Aerospace, and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

100. Pomona College

Pomona College

Location: Claremont, CA
Four-Year Cost: $255,000.00
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Employability Rate: 90%

Pomona College is a private college that specializes in liberal arts education. Among the 48 undergraduate majors that it offers, the following are named the most popular: multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary studies, social sciences, physical sciences, computer science, information science, mathematics, and statistics. Like Harvey Mudd, Pomona is one of the colleges that make up the Claremont Colleges consortium. As a result, its students can also choose to take classes at the consortium’s six other colleges. At least 55% of the college’s students rely on financial aid, which includes loans, graduate fellowships, and student employment arrangements. Furthermore, some of the top companies that hire outstanding Pomona graduates are Procter & Gamble Co, Curriculum Associates, Inc., CLEAResult, and Medica.

College Education: A Best-Value Investment

Going to college in America is expensive and higher education statistics prove that. However, investing time and money in a college education offers returns, some of which are beyond monetary value. But for one to ensure that going to college proves a blessing rather than a burden, the key lies in making the right choice of institution and major from the get-go.

To do this, it is best to measure a university’s cost against the employability of the graduates that they produce. The higher the employability rate, the better the chances that you can get your return on investment faster. Going by this factor alone, among the best value colleges in the US include MIT (97%), Stanford (96.3%), the University of California (93.65%), Harvard (93.4%), Cornell (92.65%), NYU (92.2%), Yale (91.95%), University of Chicago (91.65%), and UPenn (89.65%).

But of course, to more accurately measure a college’s value, it is also important to take a look at the quality of education they can provide. This is where it comes in handy to assess the ratio of faculty members to students as well as how many students stay with the institution for the duration of their academic career. In doing so, incoming students have a better idea of how hands-on educators will be and how satisfied the students are with the curriculum.

Last but not least, before finally settling for a particular college, it is important to understand what kinds of financial assistance they can apply for. Some universities are more generous than others, offering full scholarships as well as complete need-based assistance. Meanwhile, others can only offer limited financial aid.

The bottom line here is that students should take extra care in choosing a college. After all, it is among the most expensive and crucial investments one can make in one lifetime. Hopefully, with this list, you’ll be able to better evaluate your prospects and get everything you need to make an informed decision.

 

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  55. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Graduates. Payscale
  56. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Rice University Graduates. Payscale
  57. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) Graduates. Payscale
  58. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Rutgers University-New Brunswick Campus Graduates. Payscale
  59. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Stanford University Graduates. Payscale
  60. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Stevens Institute of Technology Graduates. Payscale
  61. Payscale (2021). Salaries for SUNY – Maritime College Graduates. Payscale
  62. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Temple University Graduates. Payscale
  63. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Texas A&M University-Main Campus Graduates. Payscale
  64. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Tufts University Graduates. Payscale
  65. Payscale (2021). Salaries for United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) Graduates. Payscale
  66. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Alabama – Main Campus Graduates. Payscale
  67. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Arizona Graduates. Payscale
  68. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of California – Irvine (UCI) Graduates. Payscale
  69. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) Graduates. Payscale
  70. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of California – Riverside (UCR) Graduates. Payscale
  71. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Chicago Graduates. Payscale
  72. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Cincinnati (UC) Graduates. Payscale
  73. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Colorado – Boulder (UCB) Graduates. Payscale
  74. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Denver Graduates. Payscale
  75. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Florida (UF) – Amherst Campus Graduates. Payscale
  76. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Georgia (UGA) Graduates. Payscale
  77. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Houston (UH) Graduates. Payscale
  78. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Illinois at Chicago Graduates. Payscale
  79. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Graduates. Payscale
  80. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Iowa (IU) Graduates. Payscale
  81. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Kansas Graduates. Payscale
  82. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Massachusetts (UMass) – Amherst Campus Graduates. Payscale
  83. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Graduates. Payscale
  84. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Graduates. Payscale
  85. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Missouri – Columbia Graduates. Payscale
  86. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Graduates. Payscale
  87. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Notre Dame Graduates. Payscale
  88. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Oklahoma Graduates. Payscale
  89. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Pennsylvania Graduates. Payscale
  90. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Pittsburgh – Main Campus Graduates. Payscale
  91. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of South Carolina – Main Campus Graduates. Payscale
  92. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Southern California (USC) Graduates. Payscale
  93. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of South Florida – Main Campus Graduates. Payscale
  94. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Tennessee Graduates. Payscale
  95. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Texas at Dallas. Payscale
  96. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Texas (UT). Payscale
  97. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Tulsa. Payscale
  98. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Virginia (UVA) – Main Campus Graduates. Payscale
  99. Payscale (2021). Salaries for University of Wisconsin (UW) – Madison Graduates. Payscale
  100. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Vanderbilt University Graduates. Payscale
  101. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Villanova University Graduates. Payscale
  102. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Graduates. Payscale
  103. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Graduates. Payscale
  104. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Washington University in St. Louis Graduates. Payscale
  105. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Williams College Graduates. Payscale
  106. Payscale (2021). Salaries for Yale University Graduates. Payscale
  107. QS Top Universities (2020). Graduate Employability Rankings 2020. QS Top Universities
  108. U.S. News (2021). Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. U.S. News
  109. U.S. News (2021). American University. U.S. News
  110. U.S. News (2021). Arizona State University–Tempe. U.S. News
  111. U.S. News (2021). Babson College. U.S. News
  112. U.S. News (2021). Baylor College of Medicine. U.S. News
  113. U.S. News (2021). Bentley University. U.S. News
  114. U.S. News (2021). Boston University. U.S. News
  115. U.S. News (2021). Brigham Young University–Provo. U.S. News
  116. U.S. News (2021). Brown University. U.S. News
  117. U.S. News (2021). California Institute of Technology. U.S. News
  118. U.S. News (2021). Carleton College. U.S. News
  119. U.S. News (2021). Carnegie Mellon University. U.S. News
  120. U.S. News (2021). Case Western Reserve University. U.S. News
  121. U.S. News (2021). Colby College. U.S. News
  122. U.S. News (2021). Colgate University. U.S. News
  123. U.S. News (2021). Colorado School of Mines. U.S. News
  124. U.S. News (2021). Colorado State University. U.S. News
  125. U.S. News (2021). Columbia University. U.S. News
  126. U.S. News (2021). Cornell University. U.S. News
  127. U.S. News (2021). CUNY–Baruch College. U.S. News
  128. U.S. News (2021). CUNY–City College. U.S. News
  129. U.S. News (2021). Dartmouth College. U.S. News
  130. U.S. News (2021). Drexel University. U.S. News
  131. U.S. News (2021). Duke University. U.S. News
  132. U.S. News (2021). Emory University. U.S. News
  133. U.S. News (2021). Florida State University. U.S. News
  134. U.S. News (2021). Georgetown University. U.S. News
  135. U.S. News (2021). George Washington University. U.S. News
  136. U.S. News (2021). Georgia Institute of Technology. U.S. News
  137. U.S. News (2021). Harvard University. U.S. News
  138. U.S. News (2021). Harvey Mudd College. U.S. News
  139. U.S. News (2021). Indiana University–Bloomington. U.S. News
  140. U.S. News (2021). Iowa State University. U.S. News
  141. U.S. News (2021). Johns Hopkins University. U.S. News
  142. U.S. News (2021). Lafayette College. U.S. News
  143. U.S. News (2021). Lehigh University. U.S. News
  144. U.S. News (2021). Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge. U.S. News
  145. U.S. News (2021). Maine Maritime Academy. U.S. News
  146. U.S. News (2021). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. News
  147. U.S. News (2021). Massachusetts Maritime Academy. U.S. News
  148. U.S. News (2021). New York University. U.S. News
  149. U.S. News (2021). North Carolina State University. U.S. News
  150. U.S. News (2021). Northeastern University. U.S. News
  151. U.S. News (2021). Northwestern University. U.S. News
  152. U.S. News (2021). Ohio State University–Columbus. U.S. News
  153. U.S. News (2021). Pomona College. U.S. News
  154. U.S. News (2021). Princeton University. U.S. News
  155. U.S. News (2021). Purdue University. U.S. News
  156. U.S. News (2021). Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. U.S. News
  157. U.S. News (2021). Rice University. U.S. News 
  158. U.S. News (2021). Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. U.S. News
  159. U.S. News (2021). Rutgers University-New Brunswick. U.S. News
  160. U.S. News (2021). Stanford University. U.S. News
  161. U.S. News (2021). Stevens Institute of Technology. U.S. News
  162. U.S. News (2021). SUNY Maritime College. U.S. News
  163. U.S. News (2021). Temple University. U.S. News
  164. U.S. News (2021). Texas A&M University. U.S. News
  165. U.S. News (2021). Tufts University. U.S. News
  166. U.S. News (2021). United States Merchant Marine Academy. U.S. News
  167. U.S. News (2021). University of Alabama. U.S. News
  168. U.S. News (2021). University of Arizona. U.S. News
  169. U.S. News (2021). University of California–Irvine. U.S. News
  170. U.S. News (2021). University of California–Los Angeles. U.S. News
  171. U.S. News (2021). University of California–Riverside. U.S. News
  172. U.S. News (2021). University of Chicago. U.S. News
  173. U.S. News (2021). University of Cincinnati. U.S. News
  174. U.S. News (2021). University of Colorado Boulder. U.S. News
  175. U.S. News (2021). University of Denver. U.S. News
  176. U.S. News (2021). University of Florida. U.S. News
  177. U.S. News (2021). University of Georgia. U.S. News
  178. U.S. News (2021). University of Houston. U.S. News
  179. U.S. News (2021). University of Illinois–Chicago. U.S. News
  180. U.S. News (2021). University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign. U.S. News
  181. U.S. News (2021). University of Iowa. U.S. News
  182. U.S. News (2021). University of Kansas. U.S. News
  183. U.S. News (2021). University of Massachusetts–Amherst. U.S. News
  184. U.S. News (2021). University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. U.S. News
  185. U.S. News (2021). University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. U.S. News
  186. U.S. News (2021). University of Missouri. U.S. News
  187. U.S. News (2021). University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. U.S. News
  188. U.S. News (2021). University of Notre Dame. U.S. News
  189. U.S. News (2021). University of Oklahoma. U.S. News
  190. U.S. News (2021). University of Pennsylvania. U.S. News
  191. U.S. News (2021). University of Pittsburgh–Pittsburgh Campus. U.S. News
  192. U.S. News (2021). University of South Carolina. U.S. News
  193. U.S. News (2021). University of Southern California. U.S. News
  194. U.S. News (2021). University of South Florida. U.S. News
  195. U.S. News (2021). University of Tennessee. U.S. News
  196. U.S. News (2021). University of Texas at Austin. U.S. News
  197. U.S. News (2021). University of Texas at Dallas. U.S. News
  198. U.S. News (2021). University of Tulsa. U.S. News
  199. U.S. News (2021). University of Virginia. U.S. News
  200. U.S. News (2021). University of Wisconsin–Madison. U.S. News
  201. U.S. News (2021). Vanderbilt University. U.S. News
  202. U.S. News (2021). Villanova University. U.S. News
  203. U.S. News (2021). Virginia Military Institute. U.S. News
  204. U.S. News (2021). Virginia Tech. U.S. News
  205. U.S. News (2021). Washington University in St. Louis. U.S. News
  206. U.S. News (2021). Williams College. U.S. News
  207. U.S. News (2021). Yale University. U.S. News

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