The 50 Best Public Colleges

The majority of students attend a public college in their home state. For many, it’s the most affordable option. If you live in one of the states below, set your sights on these nationally competitive public universities.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations.

College Name
Overall
MONEY
Rank
Median SAT/ACT score
Est. price 2017-18 without aid
Est. price 2017-18 with avg. grant
% who get need-based grants
% who get merit grants
Early career earnings
College Name
Overall
MONEY
Rank
Median SAT/ACT score
Est. price 2017-18 without aid
Est. price 2017-18 with avg. grant
% who get need-based grants
% who get merit grants
Early career earnings
2
1
1240/NA $31,365 $9,845 51% 8% $51,600
3
2
1380/31 $29,495 $17,018 32% 24% $61,200
4
3
1370/32 $37,220 $17,929 48% 1% $62,100
5
4
1330/30 $35,253 $14,921 52% 1% $53,300
7
5
1160/26 $33,892 $15,835 62% N/A $52,000
9
6
1210/28 $36,294 $18,188 60% 1% $53,000
11
7
1360/31 $31,221 $15,702 27% 2% $58,000
13
8
1230/28 $28,541 $10,524 35% 2% $55,200
16
9
1400/32 $30,660 $13,755 38% 25% $65,600
18
10
Gainesville, FL
1270/29 $21,813 $15,779 33% 39% $49,800
20
11
1320/NA $26,538 $15,873 34% 3% $55,700
22
12
1390/29 $31,423 $18,188 38% 5% $57,700
23
13
1220/NA $26,241 $19,870 31% 15% $57,400
24
14
1220/27 $34,650 $21,758 20% 13% $52,100
26
15
1110/23 $24,762 $14,767 31% 1% $59,300
29
16
1130/25 $35,352 $14,434 76% 1% $47,000
30
17
1120/26 $27,507 $15,769 35% 13% $50,400
31
18
1290/29 $27,789 $18,755 33% 12% $53,900
33
19
1290/29 $27,020 $17,367 40% 3% $51,700
34
20
1200/27 $26,153 $14,821 39% 3% $55,000
36
21
1240/29 $37,166 $17,508 57% 1% $50,600
37
22
1240/28 $30,936 $20,445 41% 20% $55,200
37
22
1210/27 $24,316 $12,574 28% 16% $57,800
41
24
1160/26 $30,709 $16,413 44% 24% $55,600
42
25
1060/23 $24,244 $10,365 61% 20% $45,500
43
26
1090/NA $29,283 $9,777 75% 22% $43,800
45
27
1290/29 $26,049 $17,345 36% 3% $51,200
46
28
Harrisonburg, VA
1140/26 $25,984 $18,018 21% 4% $49,900
49
29
1220/NA $32,093 $17,139 39% 9% $52,200
50
30
1250/28 $23,647 $14,661 44% 6% $52,500
53
31
910/19 $20,580 $7,394 66% 32% $46,000
54
32
Stony Brook, NY
1250/28 $26,016 $14,583 48% 3% $50,600
57
33
1310/28 $27,770 $16,601 40% 3% $51,700
60
34
1320/30 $25,706 $11,648 41% 2% $46,800
61
35
1250/29 $29,371 $17,952 37% 23% $54,100
62
36
1240/28 $26,535 $14,342 40% 7% $47,800
64
37
1090/NA $28,414 $11,356 51% 2% $45,500
70
38
1190/27 $27,309 $19,238 60% 35% $47,200
73
39
1190/27 $29,108 $16,361 40% 3% $51,900
76
40
1370/31 $37,019 $15,455 28% 12% $50,400
77
41
1160/NA $22,642 $11,820 68% 11% $46,000
79
42
Albany, NY
1100/24 $26,307 $15,364 54% 1% $45,400
79
42
880/18 $25,149 $3,413 82% N/A $42,300
82
44
NA/NA $21,499 $7,978 70% 8% $44,900
89
45
1310/30 $33,220 $16,128 54% 1% $54,800
91
46
1230/28 $29,220 $17,961 50% 47% $63,400
93
47
1050/23 $24,442 $15,325 60% 15% $41,600
96
48
1120/25 $31,223 $12,414 62% 2% $52,100
98
49
1150/27 $27,287 $16,530 49% 19% $48,200
102
50
1280/29 $27,005 $19,982 40% 2% $51,500
1
Ewing, NJ
Money rank
24
Median SAT/ACT score
1220/27
2
Vestal, NY
Money rank
33
Median SAT/ACT score
1290/29
3
West Lafayette, IN
Money rank
37
Median SAT/ACT score
1210/27
4
Lexington, VA
Money rank
41
Median SAT/ACT score
1160/26
5
Long Beach, CA
Money rank
42
Median SAT/ACT score
1060/23
6
Brooklyn, NY
Money rank
43
Median SAT/ACT score
1090/NA
7
New Brunswick, NJ
Money rank
49
Median SAT/ACT score
1220/NA
8
Williamsburg, VA
Money rank
76
Median SAT/ACT score
1370/31
9
New York, NY
Money rank
77
Median SAT/ACT score
1160/NA
10
Turlock, CA
Money rank
82
Median SAT/ACT score
NA/NA
11
Chicago, IL
Money rank
96
Median SAT/ACT score
1120/25
12
Irvine, CA
Money rank
7
Median SAT/ACT score
1160/26
13
Seattle, WA
Money rank
13
Median SAT/ACT score
1230/28
14
Atlanta, GA
Money rank
16
Median SAT/ACT score
1400/32
15
Gainesville, FL
Money rank
18
Median SAT/ACT score
1270/29
16
Champaign, IL
Money rank
22
Median SAT/ACT score
1390/29
17
Santa Barbara, CA
Money rank
36
Median SAT/ACT score
1240/29
18
Raleigh, NC
Money rank
50
Median SAT/ACT score
1250/28
19
Stony Brook, NY
Money rank
54
Median SAT/ACT score
1250/28
20
Minneapolis, MN
Money rank
57
Median SAT/ACT score
1310/28
21
Chapel Hill, NC
Money rank
60
Median SAT/ACT score
1320/30
22
Los Angeles, CA
Money rank
79
Median SAT/ACT score
880/18
23
Ann Arbor, MI
Money rank
3
Median SAT/ACT score
1380/31
24
Los Angeles, CA
Money rank
5
Median SAT/ACT score
1330/30
25
Davis, CA
Money rank
9
Median SAT/ACT score
1210/28
26
Buzzards Bay, MA
Money rank
26
Median SAT/ACT score
1110/23
27
College Station, TX
Money rank
34
Median SAT/ACT score
1200/27
28
Madison, WI
Money rank
45
Median SAT/ACT score
1290/29
29
Clemson, SC
Money rank
61
Median SAT/ACT score
1250/29
30
Athens, GA
Money rank
62
Median SAT/ACT score
1240/28
31
Syracuse, NY
Money rank
70
Median SAT/ACT score
1190/27
32
Albany, NY
Money rank
79
Median SAT/ACT score
1100/24
33
New York, NY
Money rank
2
Median SAT/ACT score
1240/NA
34
Charlottesville, VA
Money rank
11
Median SAT/ACT score
1360/31
35
Blacksburg, VA
Money rank
23
Median SAT/ACT score
1220/NA
36
Riverside, CA
Money rank
29
Median SAT/ACT score
1130/25
37
Austin, TX
Money rank
31
Median SAT/ACT score
1290/29
38
Harrisonburg, VA
Money rank
46
Median SAT/ACT score
1140/26
39
Newark, DE
Money rank
73
Median SAT/ACT score
1190/27
40
Houghton, MI
Money rank
91
Median SAT/ACT score
1230/28
41
Buffalo, NY
Money rank
98
Median SAT/ACT score
1150/27
42
Berkeley, CA
Money rank
4
Median SAT/ACT score
1370/32
43
College Park, MD
Money rank
20
Median SAT/ACT score
1320/NA
44
East Lansing, MI
Money rank
30
Median SAT/ACT score
1120/26
45
Storrs, CT
Money rank
37
Median SAT/ACT score
1240/28
46
Fresno, CA
Money rank
53
Median SAT/ACT score
910/19
47
Flushing, NY
Money rank
64
Median SAT/ACT score
1090/NA
48
La Jolla, CA
Money rank
89
Median SAT/ACT score
1310/30
49
Brockport, NY
Money rank
93
Median SAT/ACT score
1050/23
50
Columbus, OH
Money rank
102
Median SAT/ACT score
1280/29
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