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CC Most Affordable Colleges and 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. If you’re interested in an affordable online degree, be sure to check out our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges.

Recommended Affordable Online Colleges

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Methodology: How We Ranked the Most Affordable Colleges & Universities

Our ranking of the 100 Most Affordable Colleges & Universities is ordered from lowest to highest out-of-state tuition & fees for full-time undergraduate students according to the most recent National Center for Education Statistics data. 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.

Out-of-state tuition & fees
$4,300
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$5,110
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$5,775
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$5,890
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.8
College Consensus
67
Publisher Consensus
84.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2022
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$5,970
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$6,480

Recommended Affordable Online Colleges

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

Out-of-state tuition & fees
$6,670
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$6,746
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$6,950
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$7,260
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$7,290
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$7,360
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$7,525
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$7,664
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$7,851
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$7,896
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$7,920
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$8,121
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$8,128

Recommended Affordable Online Colleges

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

Out-of-state tuition & fees
$8,280
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.6
College Consensus
62.8
Publisher Consensus
80.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2022
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$8,285
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$8,400
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$8,600
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$8,726
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,015
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,039
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,058
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,076
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,278
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,312
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,445
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,514
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,552
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,552
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,552
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,552
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,650
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,745
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,875

Recommended Affordable Online Colleges

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,900
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,903
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,942
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$9,992
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,000
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,016
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,116
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,160
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,394
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,589
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,800
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,800
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,861
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,896
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$10,998
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,025
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,166
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,204
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,322
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,407
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,480
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,505
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,646
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,720

Recommended Affordable Online Colleges

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,742
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,746
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,790
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,821
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,900
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$11,929
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,014
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,054
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,076
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,180
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,336
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,352
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
46.8
College Consensus
21.3
Publisher Consensus
72.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: April, 2022
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,376
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,480
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,532
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,606
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,619
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,630
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,640
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,650
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,675
Out-of-state tuition & fees
$12,675

Recommended Affordable Online Colleges

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

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.

Related:

2022 Best Value Colleges & Universities
2022 Best Value Online Colleges & Universities
Most Affordable Online MBA Programs


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