University of Vermont
Sally McCay—UVM
By Kaitlin Mulhere
Updated: August 10, 2017 11:23 AM ET

Each year, MONEY digs into enrollment data and student outcomes to determine which colleges provide the best value for your tuition dollars—a process that, this year, yielded the 2017 Best Colleges for Your Money ranking.

But while that list is 711 schools long, we know many students are considering a much smaller set of colleges. In fact, 53% of freshmen at four-year colleges go to school within 100 miles of their home, and more than 80% attend one within 500 miles, according to an annual survey of freshmen from the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles.

For them, we produced the following list, identifying the best college in just about every U.S. state. (The exceptions are Alaska and New Mexico, neither of which had any colleges in MONEY’s 2017 rankings.) Alumni, feel free to use this for bragging rights—if you went to Clemson, say, and you’re looking to dis friends who attended that other South Carolina public university.

Some states can claim a top-ranking small liberal arts college, while others stand out for a large public university. All but six of the colleges fall in the top half of MONEY’s rankings, and 21 of the colleges ranked in top 50. A majority—32—are public colleges.

What follows are the highest-ranking colleges in 48 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia—along with their estimated net price for the coming year (tuition, housing, fees, and other costs, minus average grant aid), and the early career earnings of graduates, drawn from PayScale data on people who graduated in the past five years.


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