2017 Best Value Colleges in America

Explore the colleges that are the best value for your money based on net price, alumni earnings, graduation rates, and student debt using data from the U.S. Department of Education and millions of reviews. The ranking compares the most affordable colleges with the best return on investment.
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Viewing 1-25 of 100
  1. 1

    Stanford University

    • Stanford, CA
    • 1,083 reviews
    College Sophomore:Stanford is truly the most amazing place in the world. Before my freshman year I never felt like a really had a home, but I have finally found one at the Farm. The academics are amazing and the people are even better. While I wish that the financial aid was better I still stand by my decision to attend because the experience I am having is priceless.
    More about Stanford University
  2. 2

    Harvard University

    • Cambridge, MA
    • 618 reviews
    College Sophomore:There's not a school out there quite like Harvard. Simply put, the quality and diversity of the student body has made my time so far a remarkable experience. The intellectual attitudes and uniqueness of students truly make it a worldly experience.
    More about Harvard University
  3. 3
    College Junior:Everyone around me is passionate about some topic. It's inspiring to see what my classmates are up to, whether it's research or startups or personal projects. The atmosphere can be stressful, but the community is incredibly supportive if you reach out for help.
    More about Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. 4

    Washington & Lee University

    • Lexington, VA
    • 388 reviews
    College Senior:I love this place. If I had to make this decision again 1000 times over, I would make the same choice every time. W&L has given me so many opportunities for personal and intellectual growth. I've had many firsts here, and some lasts as well. The professors are amazing and really care about the students and their success. I've house/pet sat and had dinner at my professors' homes, and I see them all the time at Kroger and at restaurants in town. I have close relationships with my academic advisors and can talk to them about anything. Residence life freshman year was awesome and everyone got the shared experience. By the time recruitment rolled around in January, we were all on even footing and more comfortable with the upperclass women, which made the experience more enjoyable. I pledged a sorority and never looked back. I love my sisters and the way the Greek Life and campus life fit together like two puzzle pieces; it's like no other college I've seen or heard of, in that respect. Because 85% of students participate, greek life at W&L is open and inclusive with minimal infighting. (That said, the rumor mill is unreal here. Everyone knows everything.) As an athlete I've gotten close with my team, but widespread student body support of athletics is nonexistent. For instance, it's school tradition to leave football games at halftime. I love living off campus and having my friends live off campus where we can hang out together in a more comfortable, relaxed environment. Some of my best memories are in off campus houses either partying or just having a quiet night with friends. The honor system is REAL. Yes, some do cheat, but as a school, we don't condone it at all. The professors trust us implicitly and I've enjoyed the freedom to take tests whenever I want (within a certain period) and have keys to all the classrooms in my department. I know this is really long, so some highlights to finish it off: House mountain hikes, Fancy Dress, and the greatest people ever.
    More about Washington & Lee University
  5. 5

    California Institute of Technology

    • Pasadena, CA
    • 105 reviews
    College Sophomore:Caltech is probably the best place for geology in the country. There are lots of field trips, brilliant professors (the tops in their fields), and it's easy even for freshman to find research opportunities.
    More about California Institute of Technology
  6. 6

    Duke University

    • Durham, NC
    • 1,001 reviews
    College Sophomore:Duke is difficult, but I would choose it again if I had to do it all over. The classes make me think, the basketball is fantastic, and the people are amazing.
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  7. 7

    Princeton University

    • Princeton, NJ
    • 382 reviews
    College Senior:As a graduating senior, I can definitively say that my four years at Princeton have been the best four years of my life. No-loan financial aid, a wealth of quality opportunities, and the best student and faculty body I could have ever wanted combine here to make a school which has rightly been rated #1 the whole time I've been in attendance. Princeton has some of the tightest-knit and most generous alums in the world, and it's easy to see why. If you get accepted, you'd be a fool not to come.
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  8. 8

    Colgate University

    • Hamilton, NY
    • 959 reviews
    College Junior:I'd be lying if I said I 100% loved everything about Colgate. It definitely has its downsides and I felt very uncomfortable during orientation when stuck with a bunch of rich kids talking about their summers on "the vineyard." HOWEVER, I eventually got used to this, found my own group of friends, and learned to accept that there are a ton of rich, wealthy kids here-- and that most of them are very nice.


    The opportunities are amazing, and that's what I came here for. I go to classes with ton of smart, beautiful, interesting people. I learn from great professors and read challenging but thought-provoking books. I live on a beautiful campus, and even though there's not much to do in the surrounding area, that means that we're forced to appreciate each other and our time on campus :)

    I especially love the great offerings and opportunity to make friends within the hundreds of clubs, organizations, club sports, intramural sports, and a capella groups on campus. (Join something! Right away! Don't hesitate!) There are so many great opportunities through these clubs for fun outings (like Ski Club!) and interesting lectures (like International Relations Council!).

    I also think Colgate is the perfect size. I'm always meeting new, interesting people, but I see friends everywhere I go!

    Career Services is really helpful, and this is great considering a lot of people worry that going to a liberal arts school makes it harder to get hired. I really recommend the SophoMORE Connections event available sophomore year. It's a great way to practice networking, meet alumni, and learn about different career options. Students who are interested in an unpaid summer internship also apply for grant money-- about half of people who apply receive it and you can get over $4,000 if you need it!

    The Study Abroad offerings are amazing too! --and students on financial aid get extra grant money for that semester to help them out! (Thank god!)

    We're #1
    More about Colgate University
  9. 9

    University of Pennsylvania

    • Philadelphia, PA
    • 1,104 reviews
    College Junior:Very diverse undergraduate class socioeconomically and culturally. Penn's resources spanning across all 12 graduate schools are available to undergraduates, truly enhancing the learning experience. Great and friendly atmosphere. Great professors who challenge and engage with students.
    More about University of Pennsylvania
  10. 10

    Yale University

    • New Haven, CT
    • 911 reviews
    College Junior:I absolutely love attending Yale University. I feel that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am entering my third year in the fall and couldn't imagine being anywhere else. What drew me to Yale was the close knit community and the welcoming and inclusive social space. I have friends from all walks of life and love to interact with people form all different backgrounds. I truly feel that I have grown as an individual as I have become equipped with the vocabulary to express eloquently just who I am and where I stand on certain issues to my peers.
    More about Yale University
  11. 11

    Georgia Institute of Technology

    • Atlanta, GA
    • 1,815 reviews
    College Sophomore:The amount of internships and job opportunities are fantastic. Most students have offers before graduation. Employers are always recruiting at Tech.
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  12. 12

    Harvey Mudd College

    • Claremont, CA
    • 122 reviews
    College Junior:Great academics. Very tough load. It is possible to do the work, but the reason why it is so hard is that it is hard to consistently keep up the studying for the entire semester when u will likely be sleeping late every week.
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  13. 13

    University of Notre Dame

    • South Bend, IN
    • 1,214 reviews
    College Junior:The community aspect of the University of Notre Dame is unmatched by any other school that I applied to during my college application process. It was the perfect fit for me from a social, an academic, and a religious perspective.
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  14. 14

    Rice University

    • Houston, TX
    • 959 reviews
    College Sophomore:I'm incredibly happy with my decision to come to Rice. It's a small campus, so you'll have pretty small class sizes (max 150 for intro STEM classes, once you get past those its usually 15-40 people in a class) and personal relationships with your professors. It's pretty easy to make friends since you see a lot of familiar faces everywhere and you'll see a lot of the same people at events you're interested in (i.e. make sports friends at athletic events, party friends when you go out, school friends in classes- and a lot of these overlap). Rice academics very heavily favors the natural sciences, then social sciences, then humanities. That being said, there are still humanities majors at Rice, they just aren't as dominant as engineers or pre-meds. Students here really (really) care about doing well, so sometimes you'll get caught up in the "Rice bubble" where there's a lot of pressure to do everything (i.e. be involved in a ton of clubs, hold leadership positions, and get great grades), but as long as you learn to balance and keep thing in perspective you'll be fine. Professors aren't trying to fail you, students help each other, and it's a lot of fun. I would very highly recommend Rice, it's an amazing experience and I've learned so much.
    More about Rice University
  15. 15

    St. Louis College of Pharmacy

    • Saint Louis, MO
    • 133 reviews
    College Freshman:Academics are taken very seriously at STLCOP. Everyone is in the accelerated program for Pharmacy. Going to a school with everyone with the same major makes it convenient.
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  16. 16

    Babson College

    • Wellesley, MA
    • 308 reviews
    College Sophomore:Love the environment and community. The professors know what they are talking about and have experience in their respective fields. The college does a lot for their students and the opportunities afterwards are awesome.
    More about Babson College
  17. 17

    Tufts University

    • Medford, MA
    • 855 reviews
    College Sophomore:I am very happy with my choice of Tufts University. The size of the student body, the size of my classes, my major, my instructors and playing on the lacrosse team. I have made significant friends here at the university. My chemical engineering classes are so very hard, but I am driven to study hard and succeed. I am in a study group with friends and we are all very dedicated. I only wish the weather was better my first year...it snowed like crazy and was so cold!
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  18. 18

    Colorado School of Mines

    • Golden, CO
    • 780 reviews
    College Sophomore:Although the first semester of freshman year went rough with tough homework assignments, I was used to the atmosphere similar to my high school (a college preparatory school). Ever since then, I knew I wanted to go to Colorado School of Mines because not only dd it have great academic courses like math and physics but it is also one of the top-10 engineer schools for many career opportunities. In addition, it is close to my home and the view of the Rocky Mountains is picturesque! Be aware however that you have to really do well with your GPA or ACT scores to be admitted to Mines (at least the average).

    The professors are fantastic and there are so many resources to help you do well, including the course help program CASA. Most importantly, the college stresses about collaboration; students are encouraged to work with others on certain problems and significantly with projects. Colorado School of Mines has certain classes involving actual work ethics that industries participate through teams, such as designing, organizing the best possible outcomes, and finalizing the results with presentations. All of these show that a student can even do more with team effort alone!

    In addition to having great faculty and classes, there are so many attractions you and your friends can visit. The City of Golden has small businesses booming where students can walk from campus and even enjoy Clear Creek flowing East from the Rocky Mountains. Golden also has its unique history of certain places, including a mine near campus from the late 1800s. Fun activities include high gliding, water rafting, rock climbing, and so much more.

    Overall, with a nice school fight song, Mines can make you a helluva engineer as long as you take advantage of its many opportunities! Good luck to anyone who wants to come to Mines; it is worth a lot to be a student there!
    More about Colorado School of Mines
  19. 19

    Georgetown University

    • Washington, DC
    • 1,060 reviews
    College Sophomore:The campus is beautiful, professors and faculty truly care about students, and the student body itself is brilliant and kind. Best school ever.
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  20. 20

    Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

    • Terre Haute, IN
    • 366 reviews
    College Sophomore:The people at Rose are what make it a special place. Students are friendly and there is a definitive collaborative spirit that runs free on campus. The teachers genuinely want to help students. Close relationships can be formed because of the small style environment. The education is top notch and requires a lot of hard work. But I wouldn't have it any other way!
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  21. 21

    Dartmouth College

    • Hanover, NH
    • 652 reviews
    College Junior:Although Dartmouth has its problem, I've had an amazing time. I've grown as a person in so many respects, learned so much about my field, and have had the opportunity to study abroad twice.
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  22. 22

    Brown University

    • Providence, RI
    • 915 reviews
    College Sophomore:I just transferred into Brown and I honestly have to say that it's one of the best decisions I've made in my life. Brown is a wonderful place to be and being here made me realize how great the college experience can be. Everyone at Brown is incredibly intelligent yet down-to-earth and there's always something to do on campus (e.g. Jane Goodall just gave a lecture last week). The food here is great and the campus is stunning as well. All in all, Brown really takes care of their undergraduates and is an amazing place to be.
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  23. 23
    College Junior:It's a good place to be if you are dedicated to pharmacy because pretty much all students can answer your questions. The school is 100% out for your money and will screw you over whenever they can. For instance they strongly suggest you buy a $1800 laptop and scare you from not purchasing it, meanwhile, its a piece of junk. Rotations are impossibly frustrating and you will be in so much debt just to get through the program.
    More about Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
  24. 24

    Clarkson University

    • Potsdam, NY
    • 604 reviews
    College Sophomore:I would choose this school again because all of the people are great and the community is very strong. The people are supportive and admissions is flexible with circumstances.
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  25. 25

    Lehigh University

    • Bethlehem, PA
    • 779 reviews
    College Junior:The program I'm taking here is very hard to find at other colleges, and is one of the best out of all the schools that offer it. Additionally, being a bus and train ride away from home is really nice. And most of all the people that go here are all really great. I've made amazing friends here.
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