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 2018-19 without aid
Est. price 2018-19 with avg. grant
% with need who get grants
Average student debt
Early career earnings
College Name
Overall
MONEY
Rank
Median SAT/ACT score
Est. price 2018-19 without aid
Est. price 2018-19 with avg. grant
% with need who get grants
Average student debt
Early career earnings
2
1
1310/30 $32,900 $15,900 95% $18,500 $58,600
3
2
1200/27 $34,700 $14,800 96% $17,000 $54,900
4
3
1320/31 $34,700 $15,300 96% $16,300 $57,500
7
4
1410/33 $37,900 $18,400 99% $14,200 $65,400
8
5
1240/NA $32,500 $10,200 89% $10,800 $54,500
9
6
1410/31 $30,200 $17,300 82% $20,100 $59,300
10
7
1350/31 $33,000 $17,100 84% $19,500 $59,500
11
8
1190/28 $36,600 $17,200 96% $14,700 $56,700
17
9
1190/27 $29,200 $16,600 82% $18,800 $57,200
19
10
1410/32 $29,500 $14,300 87% $24,000 $68,100
19
11
1250/29 $27,200 $10,800 77% $15,000 $57,300
21
12
1050/23 $26,300 $15,100 71% $27,000 $63,100
22
13
1050/23 $24,600 $10,600 80% $15,000 $49,200
23
14
Gainesville, FL
1280/29 $21,600 $15,800 65% $15,800 $52,200
25
15
1380/29 $30,800 $17,900 64% $20,500 $58,600
26
16
1320/30 $26,700 $17,800 83% $19,500 $56,400
27
17
1280/29 $26,100 $17,200 80% $22,300 $56,900
28
18
1320/31 $27,100 $16,900 78% $19,500 $57,600
29
19
1210/NA $26,900 $18,500 71% $24,000 $58,600
31
20
1260/29 $24,300 $14,000 90% $20,800 $53,800
32
21
1070/24 $35,500 $13,800 96% $19,100 $51,600
34
22
Stony Brook, NY
1260/29 $26,100 $14,600 84% $19,000 $54,300
35
23
1200/28 $35,300 $24,100 39% $23,300 $54,400
38
24
1260/30 $37,000 $16,300 93% $16,500 $54,900
39
25
Harrisonburg, VA
1130/25 $26,700 $17,500 51% $20,900 $53,400
40
26
1200/28 $23,400 $12,600 64% $21,500 $58,000
41
27
1130/27 $29,200 $16,100 74% $25,500 $51,800
45
28
850/17 $22,900 $3,500 86% $14,000 $46,200
47
29
1030/24 $26,700 $13,500 79% $19,000 $53,600
48
30
1310/29 $26,300 $17,000 77% $22,300 $53,400
49
31
910/19 $21,000 $8,100 87% $15,000 $47,000
50
32
1230/29 $31,800 $20,500 72% $21,500 $55,400
51
33
880/18 $25,400 $4,200 95% $12,900 $47,100
57
34
1360/31 $38,300 $18,000 86% $19,500 $54,400
58
35
1320/31 $26,200 $10,800 88% $16,500 $51,200
61
36
1040/23 $28,800 $14,800 93% $15,000 $58,500
62
37
990/22 $25,000 $14,700 78% $17,000 $52,700
63
38
1150/26 $31,300 $17,400 81% $25,000 $62,200
64
39
1260/29 $27,800 $19,900 88% $18,700 $61,100
65
40
1230/NA $32,300 $16,800 70% $22,200 $55,800
66
41
910/19 $20,900 $6,600 88% $15,000 $47,800
67
42
880/18 $24,800 $6,900 89% $16,500 $45,500
68
43
1170/26 $28,500 $17,100 83% $24,200 $54,300
72
44
1250/29 $30,300 $19,100 82% $21,500 $54,300
75
45
1170/25 $28,000 $19,400 99% $19,800 $49,700
77
46
1320/29 $28,100 $17,400 84% $20,200 $53,400
79
47
1110/26 $28,900 $15,400 80% $15,300 $51,100
81
48
1090/NA $29,000 $9,300 86% $11,000 $48,700
84
49
1020/22 $28,000 $8,800 76% $15,000 $47,400
87
50
1230/28 $30,800 $21,600 87% $24,000 $53,500
Rank
1
Gainesville, FL
Money rank
23
Median SAT/ACT score
1280/29
2
Blacksburg, VA
Money rank
29
Median SAT/ACT score
1210/NA
3
Stony Brook, NY
Money rank
34
Median SAT/ACT score
1260/29
4
Santa Barbara, CA
Money rank
38
Median SAT/ACT score
1260/30
5
Harrisonburg, VA
Money rank
39
Median SAT/ACT score
1130/25
6
West Lafayette, IN
Money rank
40
Median SAT/ACT score
1200/28
7
Pomona, CA
Money rank
47
Median SAT/ACT score
1030/24
8
New Brunswick, NJ
Money rank
65
Median SAT/ACT score
1230/NA
9
Fresno, CA
Money rank
66
Median SAT/ACT score
910/19
10
Clemson, SC
Money rank
72
Median SAT/ACT score
1250/29
11
Queens, NY
Money rank
81
Median SAT/ACT score
1090/NA
12
New York, NY
Money rank
8
Median SAT/ACT score
1240/NA
13
Davis, CA
Money rank
11
Median SAT/ACT score
1190/28
14
College Station, TX
Money rank
17
Median SAT/ACT score
1190/27
15
Atlanta, GA
Money rank
19
Median SAT/ACT score
1410/32
16
Buzzards Bay, MA
Money rank
21
Median SAT/ACT score
1050/23
17
Riverside, CA
Money rank
32
Median SAT/ACT score
1070/24
18
Madison, WI
Money rank
48
Median SAT/ACT score
1310/29
19
Storrs, CT
Money rank
50
Median SAT/ACT score
1230/29
20
Los Angeles, CA
Money rank
51
Median SAT/ACT score
880/18
21
Williamsburg, VA
Money rank
57
Median SAT/ACT score
1360/31
22
San Bernardino, CA
Money rank
67
Median SAT/ACT score
880/18
23
Irvine, CA
Money rank
3
Median SAT/ACT score
1200/27
24
Berkeley, CA
Money rank
7
Median SAT/ACT score
1410/33
25
Ann Arbor, MI
Money rank
9
Median SAT/ACT score
1410/31
26
Champaign, IL
Money rank
25
Median SAT/ACT score
1380/29
27
Raleigh, NC
Money rank
31
Median SAT/ACT score
1260/29
28
East Lansing, MI
Money rank
41
Median SAT/ACT score
1130/27
29
Chapel Hill, NC
Money rank
58
Median SAT/ACT score
1320/31
30
San Jose, CA
Money rank
61
Median SAT/ACT score
1040/23
31
Lexington, VA
Money rank
63
Median SAT/ACT score
1150/26
32
Newark, DE
Money rank
68
Median SAT/ACT score
1170/26
33
La Jolla, CA
Money rank
2
Median SAT/ACT score
1310/30
34
Charlottesville, VA
Money rank
10
Median SAT/ACT score
1350/31
35
Long Beach, CA
Money rank
22
Median SAT/ACT score
1050/23
36
Vestal, NY
Money rank
26
Median SAT/ACT score
1320/30
37
College Park, MD
Money rank
28
Median SAT/ACT score
1320/31
38
Carson, CA
Money rank
45
Median SAT/ACT score
850/17
39
San Luis Obispo, CA
Money rank
64
Median SAT/ACT score
1260/29
40
Minneapolis, MN
Money rank
77
Median SAT/ACT score
1320/29
41
Fullerton, CA
Money rank
84
Median SAT/ACT score
1020/22
42
Los Angeles, CA
Money rank
4
Median SAT/ACT score
1320/31
43
Seattle, WA
Money rank
19
Median SAT/ACT score
1250/29
44
Austin, TX
Money rank
27
Median SAT/ACT score
1280/29
45
Ewing, NJ
Money rank
35
Median SAT/ACT score
1200/28
46
Turlock, CA
Money rank
49
Median SAT/ACT score
910/19
47
Chico, CA
Money rank
62
Median SAT/ACT score
990/22
48
Syracuse, NY
Money rank
75
Median SAT/ACT score
1170/25
49
San Diego, CA
Money rank
79
Median SAT/ACT score
1110/26
50
Amherst, MA
Money rank
87
Median SAT/ACT score
1230/28
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