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10 Best Values in Public Colleges, 2018

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Attending a public college in your home state, rather than an out-of-state public college or a private institution, continues to be an effective way to cut college costs. For the 2017–18 academic year, the average annual sticker price for in-state students attending four-year public colleges was $20,770, including tuition, fees, and room and board, according to the College Board. That's less than half the average sticker price of private schools ($46,950 in 2017–18) and about 40% less than the average cost for out-of-state students attending a public college ($36,420).

To help you weigh your options, we present our annual list of best public colleges. The schools that earn top honors on our public colleges list range from small schools to immense flagship universities, but they all meet our definition of value: a high-quality education at an affordable price. We start by looking for schools with strong academics, including a competitive admission rate, a low student-faculty ratio and a high four-year graduation rate. On the financial side, we look for schools with reasonable price tags, solid financial aid for students who qualify and low average debt among students who borrow. For our public colleges list, we rank the schools according to in-state costs and calculate out-of-state costs separately for the out-of-state ranking.


These 10 schools lead the pack among public colleges.

SEE ALSO: Find the Best College for You


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