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10 Great Colleges That Cost Less Than $20,000


Today, trying to find a private college with a sticker price of less than $20,000 a year can feel like hunting for a Tiffany diamond at TJ Maxx. The average annual cost of a private college—including tuition, fees, and room and board--runs $43,921, according to the College Board, and many private colleges post prices well into the $60,000 range. Public colleges are more affordable if your student stays in state (the average annual cost is $19,548), but if he or she attends a public college elsewhere, you will feel the pinch: The average annual cost for out-of-state students is $34,031.

The secret to finding a great school that fits your pocketbook? Consider the net cost, not just the sticker price. These 10 colleges, culled from our top 300 values among public and private institutions, deliver tuition, fees, and room and board for less than $20,000 annually, after average financial aid is factored in. If you meet the criteria, you’ll pay a bargain-basement price for a top-notch education. (Costs for the public colleges are for out-of-state students.)

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