USMMA

100 Most Affordable Colleges & Universities
Top Consensus Ranked Schools 2018

August 27, 2018
Most Affordable Colleges Universities

In the age of rapidly rising tuition – college costs have risen far faster than the rate of inflation in the 21st century, and even faster than financial aid – affordability is no joke. With our Consensus Ranking of the 100 Most Affordable Colleges & Universities, College Consensus is lighting up the way to a college education students can actually afford. With student debt representing the second-largest consumer debt class (after mortgages), earning a college degree without setting yourself up for a life of loan repayment – which never goes away, not even in bankruptcy – has turned into the Holy Grail: much sought, found by only a lucky few.

To create our ranking of the 100 Most Affordable Colleges & Universities we started with schools that qualified for a College Consensus score and then ordered them from lowest to highest according to the most recent out-of-state tuition & fee information published by the National Center for Education Statistics. College Consensus is happy to show prospective students and their families where to find a school that not only won’t break the bank, but will also provide a quality, respected degree to take into the marketplace.

1

United States Merchant Marine Academy

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
69.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
71.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
68.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

2

Brigham Young University-Idaho

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
64.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
52
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

3

Brigham Young University-Hawaii

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
62.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

4

Brigham Young University-Provo

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
71.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
61
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
82.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

5

Alcorn State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
43
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

6

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
57.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
39.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

7

Youngstown State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
50.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
35
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
66.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

8

Dickinson State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
58.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
42.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

9

West Texas A & M University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
56.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
41
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

10

Midwestern State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
55.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
40
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
70.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

11

Northern State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
47
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

12

Lake Superior State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
54.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
45
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
63.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

13

University of Maine at Fort Kent

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
56.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
36
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

14

South Dakota State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
53.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
37.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
68.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

15

Alice Lloyd College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
64.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
62
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
67
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

16

University of South Dakota

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
54.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
38.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

17

University of Minnesota-Crookston

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
62.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
53
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

18

William Carey University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
64.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

19

Dakota State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
60.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
44.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

20

University of Nebraska at Kearney

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
63.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
51
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

21

Southeast Missouri State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
60.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

22

Northwest Missouri State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
62.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

23

Morehead State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
60.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

24

University of North Georgia

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
57.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
45
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

25

Bluefield State College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
54.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
40.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
68
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

26

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
57.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
45
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

27

Southwestern Christian University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

28

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
62.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
52.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

29

Eastern Illinois University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
62.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
53
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

30

CUNY City College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
54
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
65
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

31

Cleveland State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
49.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
35
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
64.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

32

CUNY Hunter College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
58.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
53.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
64.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

33

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
62.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
64.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

34

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
56.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
41.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

35

CUNY Lehman College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
52.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
40.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
64.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

36

Truman State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
67.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
61.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

37

CUNY Brooklyn College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
52.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
66
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

38

CUNY Queens College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
57.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
52.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
63.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

39

Missouri State University-Springfield

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
56.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
41.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

40

Arkansas State University-Main Campus

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
62.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
50.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

41

West Liberty University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
58.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
67.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

42

University of Central Arkansas

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
70.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

43

University of North Alabama

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

44

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

45

Jacksonville State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
46
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

46

Weber State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
50.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
32
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

47

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
55.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
42.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
68.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

48

Winona State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
51.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
70.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

49

University of South Alabama

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
52.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
39
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
66.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

50

University of Minnesota-Morris

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

51

Central Baptist College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
58.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
44.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

52

Henderson State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
58.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
43
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

53

Minnesota State University Moorhead

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
58.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
45.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

54

Northern Michigan University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

55

Worcester State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
51
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
68
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

56

Westfield State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
51
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
67.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

57

Framingham State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
56.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
50.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
63
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

58

Troy University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
53
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
36.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

59

Minnesota State University-Mankato

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
50.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
36
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
65.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

60

Albany State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
54
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
42
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
66
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

61

Bridgewater State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
57
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
51
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
63
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

62

Lee University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
51.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

63

Saint Cloud State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
53.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
39.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
67
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

64

Winston-Salem State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
54.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
42.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
66.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

65

Louisiana College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
54.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
43
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
66
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

66

Valley City State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

67

Delaware State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
55.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
47.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
64.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

68

Claflin University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
56
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
39
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

69

University of Wyoming

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
60.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
46.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

70

Fitchburg State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
57.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
46.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

71

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
62.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
52.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

72

Marshall University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
61
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
53
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

73

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
62.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

74

Grand Valley State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
70.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

75

University of Central Oklahoma

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
49.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
29
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

76

University of Southern Mississippi

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
57.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
43.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

77

Glenville State College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
41
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

78

Columbus State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
54.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
43.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
64.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

79

Wichita State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
53.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
40.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
66
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

80

Mississippi University for Women

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
65.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
51.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
78.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

81

Mississippi College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
58.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
68.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

82

Oakwood University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
60.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

83

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
58.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
43
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

84

Georgia Southern University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
56.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
40
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

85

Western Illinois University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
55.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
42.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
67.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

86

Texas A & M International University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
43
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

87

Converse College

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
60.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
49
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

88

Texas Woman’s University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
54.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
39
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

89

Wright State University-Main Campus

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
50.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
36.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
63.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

90

Western Carolina University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
66.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
57
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

91

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
60.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
44.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.7
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

92

Florida Atlantic University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
55.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
42
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
68.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

93

University of South Florida-Main Campus

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
59.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
47.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

94

University of Mary

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
55.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
48
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
63.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

95

California State University-Fresno

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
55.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
42.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

96

University of Minnesota-Duluth

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
58.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
47.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
69.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

97

Flagler College-St Augustine

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
68.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
71
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
66.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

98

Morgan State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
50.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
35.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
65
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

99

Stephen F Austin State University

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
57.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
42
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

100

California State University-Los Angeles

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs=
55
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
44.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
65.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed August, 2018

What Makes the Most Affordable Colleges and Universities?

So how does College Consensus determine what makes the most affordable colleges and universities? It’s pretty easy to say what makes a college affordable: low tuition, obviously. But as for what makes an affordable college really worthwhile – that takes a little more explanation. After all, it’s no secret that college is more expensive than ever. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition rate for public universities in 2015-2016 academic year was more than $19,000; by contrast, 30 years earlier, the same education would have cost $3800. But everything was cheaper in 1985 – except that, adjusted for inflation, 1985 tuition was less than $8500 in 2015 dollars. That means tuition is going up insanely fast – way faster than inflation.

That raises the question: is a college degree still worth it? The short answer is, yes, almost without a doubt. Why? Because, on average, people still make a lot more money with a college degree than without – more than 60% higher, according to NCES data. Male and female, young and old, every race, the stats hold true: a college degree holder makes more money than a worker without a college degree. However, that average can be a bit misleading. For one, a Georgetown University study shows that the major you choose – and, therefore, the career you go into – makes a huge difference. Engineering and science majors make far more than the average, while social work and education majors make far lower; business majors fall right along the median. Some jobs just make more money than others.

Meanwhile, the average 2016 graduate is more than $37,000 in student debt, and considering that many people have no student debt, thanks to loans, grants, or helpful parents, that means plenty of graduates are entering with workforce with far more debt than that. So, when you’re thinking about an affordable college degree, the most affordable colleges and universities aren’t just the ones with the lowest tuition – they’re the ones with the most value.(And almost as good as a tuition-free college). So plan carefully; think very seriously about how you are preparing for college, because financial smarts are just as important as book smarts. Reasonable costs, market-ready skills, in-demand professions: these are the things that make the most affordable colleges in the US a smart investment for tomorrow’s professionals and leaders.

How Do We Rank the Most Affordable Colleges & Universities?

College Consensus is the most unique college ranking site you’re likely to see. The Consensus method combines two different sets of data: first, we gather results from the most reputable rankings, including the Academic Ranking of World Universities, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. Then, we pull together the most legitimate, verified student reviews from sites like Students Review, My Plan, and Cappex. Combining the Publisher Rating and the Student Review Rating, we calculate the Consensus Rating, which provides a solid average that we use to rank colleges and universities across a wide range of specializations, regions, and other categories.

For the Consensus ranking of the Most Affordable Colleges & Universities, College Consensus took a long, detailed look at the colleges and universities with the lowest tuition rates. That makes for a highly diverse assortment of colleges, including large regional public universities, small liberal arts colleges, evangelical and Catholic colleges, military academies, historically black colleges and universities, and even some of the fastest-growing up-and-coming universities in the US. The most affordable colleges and universities recognize that college students are real people with real needs, real dreams, and real futures, and they work to make sure students can live up to their potential without being dragged down by debt. They’re the heroes in the higher education landscape, and with the College Consensus ranking, they get to stand on their own merits, recognized not only for excellence and reputation, but for being the most affordable colleges in the US.

What’s Different About the College Consensus Ranking?

Most college rankings don’t take the long view – they look at their own particular criteria and make their rankings from a narrow set of qualifications. That’s precisely where College Consensus is different. Instead of working from its own subjective standards, College Consensus aggregates rankings and reviews to take in all of the perspectives. College Consensus brings together the expert assessment and the lived experience, all treated on an equal plane so that no voice gets the priority. With the Consensus method, every college and university gets its due place in the higher education landscape. Read more about our ranking methodology and sources on our about page.