Best Colleges

22. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Value Grade/Ranking Score: A-/3.76
Enrollment: 27,979
Net Price of Degree: $94,523
Acceptance Rate: 37%
Average H.S. GPA: 3.79
Avg. Annual Salary Within 5 Yrs: $54,000
Scott C. Soderberg—UM Photography

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of an alumni association that has a chapter on the moon? The crew of Apollo 15, all U of M grads, actually left a club charter behind on the lunar surface.

One of the country’s most affordable elite schools, the University of Michigan accepts only about a third of the nearly 50,000 students who apply annually. Michiganders who get in receive an especially good deal at the school, which is one of only nine in Money’s top 50 where the average in-state cost of a degree totals less than $100,000.

The National Science Foundation ranks Michigan as the top public research university in the country. Yet, the faculty prides itself on teaching acumen: Chemistry professor Brian Coppola, for example, was named one of the country’s “Teachers of the Year” in 2009.

Sports permeates campus life. The school’s Division I football and basketball teams draw national televisions audiences as well as hoards of student fanatics; meanwhile, the lesser-known swimming and diving team each won national championships in 2013. For non-athletes, U of M offers countless clubs, organizations, and opportunities for civic engagement. And Ann Arbor, a quintessential college town, offers a distracting number of music venues, restaurants, museums, and theatres.

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