- College is expensive, and tuition prices are always rising, as is the average student-loan debt burden.
- Money’s 2019 ranking of the Best Colleges in America analyzed over 700 four-year colleges with a particular eye on value to determine which institutions are most worth the cost of attendance.
- The resulting top 25, determined from 19,000 cost and quality data points, include a mix of public universities (like the City University of New York, Baruch College at No. 2) and Ivy League schools (like Harvard University at No. 14).
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There’s no way around it: Getting a college degree is expensive. But in many industries, having (at minimum) a Bachelor’s degree is mandatory.
As tuition prices continue to soar — right alongside the national student-loan debt burden — many prospective college students and parents alike are wondering whether pursuing higher education is really worth the cost in the end.
In fact, as Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower previously reported, an INSIDER and Morning Consult survey showed that nearly half of indebted millennials think college wasn’t worth taking out loans.
While there’s no shortage of rankings that attempt to determine the "best" college by a variety of metrics, Money’s 2019 ranking of the Best Colleges in America puts a particular focus on value to determine which institutions are most worth their price.
Money looked at data collected and analyzed by American Institutes for Research (AIR) researcher Dr. Audrey Peek, research associate Deaweh Benson, and research assistant Merykokeb Belay, according to their breakdown of the ranking methodology. Using the 19,000 data points collected in the analysis, Money’s editorial staff made the final ranking decisions, considering 26 factors across categories including quality of education, affordability, and career earnings reported by alumni. The ranking factored in average aid amounts in determining the approximate "net" cost of tuition.
Read on to see which schools give graduates the most bang for their buck, according to Money, ranked in increasing order of value.
25. Massachusetts Maritime Academy — Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Maritime Academy/flickr
Estimated 2019-20 tuition, less average aid: $15,500
Percentage of students who receive grants: 48%
Average student-loan debt: $26,930
Early career earnings: $67,200
24. Rice University — Houston, Texas
Estimated 2019-20 tuition, less average aid: $25,800
Percentage of students who receive grants: 61%
Average student-loan debt: $11,200
Early career earnings: $69,200
T23. University of Washington-Seattle Campus — Seattle, Washington
Cody Logan/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0
Estimated 2019-20 tuition, less average aid: $10,100
Percentage of students who receive grants: 44%
Average student-loan debt: $15,000
Early career earnings: $59,900
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