10 Best Values in Public Colleges, 2015

For 2014-15, the average sticker price at an in-state, four-year public school rose 3% to $18,943 (including tuition, fees, and room and board), according to the College Board.

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For 2014-15, the average sticker price at an in-state, four-year public school rose 3% to $18,943 (including tuition, fees, and room and board), according to the College Board. Considering that the total average cost for private schools reached $42,419, attending school at an in-state public college remains an effective way of keeping costs in check.

We rank our top 100 public colleges and universities based on our definition of value: a quality education at an affordable price. Among the factors we consider: high four-year graduation rates, low student-faculty ratios, reasonable price tags and generous need-based aid for students who qualify. For the first time, we only give schools credit for four-year graduation rates because making it to graduation day on time keeps costs down.

Our public college rankings are based on in-state costs. These 10 schools lead the pack.

All of the schools featured here have a student-faculty ratio of 21:1 or less.

Kaitlin Pitsker
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Pitsker joined Kiplinger in the summer of 2012. Previously, she interned at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and with Chronogram magazine in Kingston, N.Y. She holds a BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.