There’s no doubt that a lot of colleges have high price tags, but those prices are sometimes misleading. Many schools offer generous financial aid which makes the actual cost much, much less.
For example, the sticker price for Soka University of America is just above $52,000. But the average institutional grant that Soka awards covers over $31,000 of that total cost! So really, the majority of students only pay a fraction of the sticker price.
Instead, students and families should look at the net price—what you’re actually likely to pay after scholarships and financial aid. Did you know that the average annual net price for colleges in America is about $15K?
For this ranking list, we looked at schools with average annual net prices under $15,000. We did not consider colleges that guarantee to cover the full cost of attendance for this particular list. And keep in mind, these colleges aren’t listed by price points, but by their overall College Raptor rank.
Looking for a quality education that won’t break the bank? Check out the list below!
With school colors of Carolina blue and white, this university is one of the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina system. Out of nearly 41,940 applicants, only 9,645 students were admitted into the university. The notable faculty includes Nobel Prize laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Rhodes Scholars.
Soka University of America has a unique and noble school motto: “Be philosophers of a renaissance of life; Be world citizens in solidarity for peace; Be the pioneers of a global civilization.” Which fits their mission of pacifism and human rights very well. Soka has three school colors: blue, white, and gold.
The United States Merchant Marine Academy is one of the five service academies in the US. Its motto is “Deeds not Words” and the official school colors are blue and gray. There is no undergraduate application fee and the academy is on a trimester calendar. The US Merchant Marine Academy offers six residence halls, and students are required to live on campus.
This school’s colors are orange and blue, with Florida students going by the Gators. The University of Florida has an acceptance rate of 39%, accepting around 15,100 students out of about 38,900 applicants. Popular majors at the university includes Biology, Psychology, Finance, and Mechanical Engineering.
The University of Wisconsin -- Madison was founded in 1848. UW Madison is the oldest and largest public university in the state. The school is known for many innovations, including the discovery of vitamins A and B. Its campus is located on Lake Mendota. Almost 73% of the student body studies at the undergraduate level.
One of the more recent University of California campuses, the UC San Diego was founded in 1960. UCSD offers a wide range of majors and programs, the most popular majors being Computer Science, Economics, and Biochemistry. While 77% of the incoming class call California home, many other students come from across the country.
Known as one of the Public Ivies, the University of Texas at Austin is also known for their Division I sports. There are nearly 600 student athletes at the school. A highly selective university, only 39% of applicants are accepted. The school’s official colors are burnt orange and white.
The University of Washington’s motto, translated into English, means “Let there be light.” The school colors of purple and gold. Their mascot is called Harry the Husky. Like their mascot, students go by the nickname of the Huskies. Their campus is located not far from Lake Washington.
This school has a relatively low student to faculty ratio of 14:1. The university’s most popular major is Business Administration. The school’s colors are red and white. Over 500 student athletes wear these colors when competing for NCSU. Students at the university go by the Wolfpack.
Florida State University’s school motto is “Vires, Artes, Mores” which translates to mean, “Strength, Skill, Character.” The average ACT and SAT scores of accepted students range between 26--30 and 1,200--1,350 respectively. Florida State is also an NCAA Division I-FBS school, with 121 football players on the varsity team.
Indiana University -- Bloomington has a motto of Lux et Veritas, meaning “Light and Truth.” The university has many notable alumni, including Grammy and Emmy Award winners, Olympic medalists, and Nobel laureates. The school’s colors are cream and crimson. IU Bloomington students have a nickname of the Hoosiers.
In addition to being a flagship school, Purdue is also a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university. Of all the majors offered, Business Administration, Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering are the most popular. Purdue’s colors are old gold and black. They’re part of the Big Ten conference and play as the Boilermakers.
Stony Brook University is a sea-grant and space-grant research university, which means that there are resources dedicated to sea- and space-related research. Their mascot is Wolfie the Seawolf and the official school colors are Red and Black. Students attending Stony Brook University can expect the average class to have 18 students to every 1 faculty member. Around 90% of all freshmen return for their sophomore year.
The University of Texas at Dallas was founded in 1961 and joined the University of Texas system in 1969. The school’s motto is Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis, which translates to “Education, the Guardian of Society.” Over 15,000 students apply annually, and the school accepts around 69% of those applicants. The most popular majors include Biology, Accounting, and Computer and Informational Science.
The Virginia Military Institute certainly has an interesting mascot---Moe the Kangaroo. VMI also has a total of three school colors: red, yellow, and white. The Institute has a 51% acceptance rate, and a first year retention rate of 89%. While about 60% of the first-year students do come from Virginia, many come across the country as well.
The first university to offer gender-neutral housing in the US, the University of California -- Riverside has an exceptionally diverse campus. Incoming students typically score between 22 to 28 on the ACT and 1,120 to 1,340 on the SAT. Students aren’t required to live on campus, but have 11 residences to choose from if they do decide to live on campus. The school colors are Sky Blue and Gold, and their mascot is Scotty Highlander.
The motto for the University of South Florida -- Main Campus is “Truth and Wisdom.” The university is fairly selective, accepting only 43% of applicants. Almost 90% of enrolled students are from Florida. Some of the most popular majors offered at the university include Health Services, Biomedical Sciences, and Registered Nursing.
UNSCA is a truly unique school. It’s a coeducational conservatory that offers degrees to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. It has a total of 5 professional schools---the Schools of Dance, Design & Production, Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNSCA is one of the younger universities in the US---founded only in 1963.
Bernard M. Baruch College, also called Baruch College, was founded in 1919. The college’s school colors are Blue and White, and their mascot is the Bearcat. Over 92% of attending students are from New York. Baruch College is pretty selective, accepting only 39% of all applicants. Around 88% of freshmen attending Baruch College return for their second year there.
Cy the Cardinal is the mascot of Iowa State University. With over 400 athletes, Iowa State is notably in the Big 12 athletics conference and a member of the NCAA Division I. Besides athletics, the school is also known for its engineering programs. The most popular majors are Mechanical Engineering, Kinesiology, and Marketing.
The University of Central Florida is one of the largest populated university in the US, boasting over 68,000 students in total. Thus, it’s not surprising that they receive over 41,000 applications annually, though the university only accepts 43% of all applicants. The average student-to-faculty ratio is 30 students to 1 faculty member. The top three majors offered include Psychology, Health Services, and Registered Nursing.
Principia College’s motto is “As the Sowing, The Reaping.” The school’s colors are blue and gold. Principia College is nonselective, with a 92% acceptance rate. The college offers a range of majors and programs. The most popular ones include Education, Business Administration and Management, and Mass Communication/Media Studies.
The State University of New York at New Paltz receives over 15,000 applications per year, and accepts around 41% of those applicants. Students attending the university can expect the average class to have 15 students to every 1 faculty member. The university’s school colors are Blue and Orange and their mascot is Hugo the Hawk.
Truman State University is named for the Missouri-born President Harry Truman. Business Administration, Biology, Psychology, Kinesiology, and Accounting are the top 5 most popular majors studied on campus. Their school seal features two bears and the US motto “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”
Appalachian State University was originally a teacher’s college, before it joined the University of North Carolina system in the 1970s. Today, over 19,000 students attend the university, and the most popular major is Kinesiology and Exercise Science. On average, incoming students score between 22 to 27 on the ACT and 1,120 to 1,300 on the SAT. Almost 90% of students attending are from North Carolina.
Colleges are ranked based on a combination of factors, including graduation rates, campus diversity, endowment per student, and other data as reported via the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the most recently-available enrollment year. Some colleges may have been excluded from rankings based on certain criteria, including specialization and classification. Learn about our full methodology.
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