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
    • 1,087 reviews
    Sophomore:I've really enjoyed Stanford so far.
    Academics are certainly challenging, but rewarding, and students usually aren't excessively stressed about grades.
    Professors are, for the most part, incredibly knowledgeable and care about students, but there are some (particularly those teaching intro classes) who could use some improvement.
    The local area can be a bit expensive and far away (especially without a car).
    Currently, the administration is facing a lot of criticism about the school's handling of sexual assault. It's not the best situation, but a lot of the criticism also comes from Stanford's own professors and students, so I do still feel relatively safe and supported on campus.
    More about Stanford University
  2. 2

    Harvard University

    • Cambridge, MA
    • 619 reviews
    Alum:Harvard University offers the most incredible experience for its students. From the rich history to the esteemed faculty to the vibrant atmosphere of Harvard Square, it is truly one of a kind and inspiring. During my time at Harvard, I got to dance to Gangnam Style with Psy, read a Gutenberg Bible, study and work under my hero, perform fMRIs, and eat brunch in what is essentially the Great Hall of Hogwarts. I cannot begin to tell you the opportunities available here nor what you will learn from working and studying alongside people from all over the world. Harvard also tries to promote diversity further by offering a needs-blind application process and a financial aid package that guarantees you will not have to turn down your acceptance due to financial hardship! Harvard truly takes care of its students, giving them every opportunity imaginable and giving them an experience they will never forget.
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  3. 3
    College Freshman:I absolutely love my school and I wouldn't change it at all! It's probably the most stressful, hard, and demanding thing I've done up to now but that's what I love about it! It's a challenge and it really is intense but the people I've met, my friends, help me through it all and I love that! The community at MIT is amazing too, there are so many different people on campus both mainstream and off-stream(I guess that's how you say it?) but that makes everyday much better in an open and accepting campus.
    More about Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. 4

    Washington & Lee University

    • Lexington, VA
    • 388 reviews
    Alum:I graduated in 2002 and I still keep up with my professors, faculty, classmates, and most of all my fraternity brothers. The alumni connections are worth the tuition alone. It teaches you far more than what can be taught online or in a classroom alone. The best 4 years of my life!
    More about Washington & Lee University
  5. 5

    California Institute of Technology

    • Pasadena, CA
    • 106 reviews
    Freshman:As a freshman in the second term, the experience here has been pretty positive. The coursework is definitely challenging, but it keeps me motivated to pursue higher goals. I am extremely grateful for finding such a like-minded community of scholars who are supportive and caring.
    More about California Institute of Technology
  6. 6

    Duke University

    • Durham, NC
    • 1,003 reviews
    Freshman:If you aren't entirely decided on what you want to study, or want to combine two fields that don't seem to fit, Duke is the best school available to you. The flexible pathway through Duke is one of its best features, and it guarantees there's something academic for nearly everyone here. Not to mention everything that goes on outside of academics. Whether you're a performance artist, coder, engineer, service-learner, researcher, intense athlete, or a just for fun one, there's a place for you here. If you're anything at all, and looking to challenge yourself, then come to Duke!
    More about Duke University
  7. 7

    Princeton University

    • Princeton, NJ
    • 383 reviews
    Freshman:I love Princeton! The financial aid is incredible, the campus is beautiful, and the academics are really fantastic. While things can get stressful, the University tries to provide resources to combat that (even though CPS is massively backlogged, which can make things tough). Because the grade deflation policy is over, a lot of the old stress is gone!

    The social scene can be a little odd because of eating clubs (which is definitely something for incoming freshmen to be aware of), but it's definitely navigable and plenty of upperclassmen are really cool and helpful when it comes to social stuff.

    The experience of a lot of people of color tends to differ from white students (like myself), so this is definitely something to take into consideration. It can be tough because there's so much privilege on the campus, so a lot of the dialogue surrounding the experiences of people of color and people of lower classes can be difficult to navigate.
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  8. 8

    Colgate University

    • Hamilton, NY
    • 959 reviews
    Sophomore:Best college ever! I love everything about Colgate from the small class sizes to the food to the atmosphere to the people. Although, Colgate isn't every well known it shouldn't be looked over! Courses are challenging but very rewarding.
    More about Colgate University
  9. 9

    University of Pennsylvania

    • Philadelphia, PA
    • 1,105 reviews
    Graduate Student:Like any colleges, Penn has both pros and cons. As a graduate student in the School of Social Policy and Practice at Penn (Master's of Social Work), I find that the biggest strength of Penn is its wide reach of professional network, research, etc.

    The amount of resources/networking opportunities available for developing insight, experience, and others is unimaginable here at Penn. Having deep connections with all three sectors of the non-profit, for-profit, and governmental world brings its students enormous opportunities and information/knowledge to learn and grow from.

    The cons, however, is that Penn as a whole seems a bit lacking in terms of student activism and engagement. There are clubs to join. But, I rarely see them out in the quad or the walkway outreaching or being vocal about a variety of issues students are concerned with in this age and time.
    More about University of Pennsylvania
  10. 10

    Yale University

    • New Haven, CT
    • 913 reviews
    Freshman:Yale managed to exceed my expectations. I originally chose Yale because of how genuine every student I met was and that perception continues to persist. I have met the most interesting and talented people while at Yale and have made some of the closest friends. One moment we'll be discussing a bio problem set, the next discussing the real solution to economic disparity, the next talking about our upbringings. While it's easy to think of Yale as a competitive college, I think that's far from the truth. I have never collaborated as much as I have at Yale. Everyone wants the best for each other and grades are not a focus. The social scene at Yale is also great. Frat parties are open to anyone for the most part and it's very easy to get integrated with Greek life members even if you aren't in it yourself. Just based off of the year I've been here, I can already say that Yale has changed me to be a more well-rounded person.
    More about Yale University
  11. 11

    Georgia Institute of Technology

    • Atlanta, GA
    • 1,817 reviews
    Freshman:Georgia Tech really challenges its students, not only because of its prestige but because it wants to expand the minds and boundaries of those who study there. The university takes advantage of Atlanta, and its connections with industry leaders to exceptionally prepare its students for jobs. While some aspects of the campus leave something to be desired, like the food and the stress, Georgia Tech ultimately provides its students with a wonderfully fun and engaging experience!
    More about Georgia Institute of Technology
  12. 12

    Harvey Mudd College

    • Claremont, CA
    • 122 reviews
    College Freshman:Although Harvey Mudd is very difficult, and teachers will definitely push you with hard coursework, I've so far rarely felt alone. Teachers are accessible, there are always other classmates to work with and get help from, and the environment feels very positive in general, with a lot of interest in the wellbeing of the students. It's a great challenge.
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  13. 13

    University of Notre Dame

    • South Bend, IN
    • 1,216 reviews
    Niche User:I attended Notre Dame's Summer Scholars Program. So, I will give my perspective on that experience. At the beginning of the session, the Dean told us it would be "life changing." Indeed, it was. The friends, the environment, the professors and the spirituality of this campus is unmatched. The grounds are impeccable and incredibly gorgeous with flowers everywhere. Based on my experience, I have changed my career goals- a life changing experience. I have had lots of college experiences since age 3. Notre Dame, without exception, is the FINEST. I am a triplet and I speak for my siblings too. We are ND fans and always will be.
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  14. 14

    Rice University

    • Houston, TX
    • 968 reviews
    Sophomore:Rice is incredible. The people are so friendly and collaborative, and the residential college system gives you an automatic support system and built-in friends/family. While people are smart, the atmosphere is close-knit and not cutthroat, which I've come to realize is hugely important when I hear my friends at other top universities talk about the pressure and competition they suffer through. The academics aren't easy- especially the STEM programs, which are structured to be some of the most rigorous in the country, but that's why we have such a good reputation and ease with post-graduation placements. Compared to other colleges, there's a lot of freedom with social life/partying and distribution requirements. Overall, the campus is beautiful and quality of life (dorms/food/area) very high. I love Rice and wouldn't go anywhere else!
    More about Rice University
  15. 15

    St. Louis College of Pharmacy

    • Saint Louis, MO
    • 133 reviews
    College Student:So far at STLCOP, there are good things and bad things like any other school. One of the bigger draw backs is that most people are focused on studies rather then making the most of college. Although, if you come to the school realizing that this is a pharmacy school and you are expected to study and do well to more on. Here you do not have to compete with other students for spots in the professional program so everyone is willing to help each other out if they need it with tutoring or study guides for exams and even getting jobs. So for me the benefits out weigh the drawbacks because even if I went to a different school I would not have done much else besides studying.
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  16. 16

    Babson College

    • Wellesley, MA
    • 308 reviews
    Freshman:Babson has been a phenomenal experience thus far. The professors genuinely care and push you to be your best, and the courses are pleasingly challenging. Campus is gorgeous and the people the populate it are great. If I were to change anything about it, I would want it to be a bit bigger (maybe 3,000 students) so that you have the small campus feel and community but see more faces around.
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  17. 17

    Tufts University

    • Medford, MA
    • 857 reviews
    Freshman:Tufts is an amazing school! The intellectual environment is extremely is stimulative. The Professors are very passionate about what they teach and are open to helping any of their students. The food is good too! Students are generally friendly depending on the crowd you hang out with. The political environment is one of liberalism. I love this school and would attend it again when given the chance. There is diversity in terms of the many people from different backgrounds and categories. The surrounding area is beautiful! The school is not called the "Light on the Hill" for no reason
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  18. 18

    Colorado School of Mines

    • Golden, CO
    • 782 reviews
    College Junior:My overall experience with the school is amazing! Although it is very tough and competitive, I wouldn't trade it for any other school. I have met some amazing professors, students, mentors, and teammates. I am truly blessed to be going to school with the best engineering classes and professors in the U.S. My favorite experience at CSM is being a student-athlete because everyone is very familiar with the nights full of homework, projects, and practice.
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  19. 19

    Georgetown University

    • Washington, DC
    • 1,064 reviews
    Freshman:Academics are hard but it's worth it! The job opportunities, the connections you make, and everything in between makes it all worth it. Wouldn't change a thing if I had to relive my college decision process
    More about Georgetown University
  20. 20

    Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

    • Terre Haute, IN
    • 367 reviews
    Freshman:The academics are outstanding. I learn more each week than I ever learned in my high school career. The hands-on aspects of labs makes each class fun! Every day is an adventure! And I have already made lifelong friends, and everyone I meet is open to meeting people.
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  21. 21

    Dartmouth College

    • Hanover, NH
    • 653 reviews
    College Junior:I would definitely choose Dartmouth again. I love the spirit of the school, the people, the professors and all of the non-academic learning experiences that are available. I think in the Engineering school there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of consistently having consistently good teachers. For the most part, teachers are good in the entry level classes, occasionally there is a great teacher, but often ( so far 1 class out of three, every trimester) there is one teacher who isvery suboptimal in their ability to teach or communicate well. Not acceptable at this type of school.

    Additionally, because Dartmouth is out of the way for most companies, their engineering recruiting fairs are extremely lacking in depth and availability. Much of the fair is online. Being only 3 hours from Boston, The Thayer school of engineering should host a weekend or trip to Boston for a recruiting fair to coincide with all the other colleges there when there are HUNDREDS of companies available to talk to and connect with. Students could take a bus to Boston and even make up the classes that are missed at some later point if necessary. Job hunting and internship opportunities are far inferior than at many other schools, even if they are not as highly ranked as Dartmouth!
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  22. 22

    Brown University

    • Providence, RI
    • 918 reviews
    College Freshman:Professors, even in large lecture classes, are always approachable and friendly. They are open to extensions when asked and even small talk. However, with the amount of time you have with each professor (this also depends on the size of the class) it's unlikely for you to become very friendly with any teachers throughout college unless you take initiative.

    Classes can range from 7 people to 200. There are a variety of options, usually intro classes are big while seminars, language classes, and specific topic classes are smaller. With large classes there is an immense amount of TAs that are always available to help. They also run review/discussion sections to allow students to ask specific questions and get advice from experts who already aced the class.

    Most classes, in the humanities, make you do a lot of reading, have a smaller discussion section, and then 2-4 big assignments like midterms, finals, essays, take home exams, etc.

    The variety of courses speaks for itself. There are too many choices and they are all interesting!
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  23. 23
    College Freshman:My overall experience at the school so far has been great. One great thing about this school is that the students that are attending are extremely friendly. The transition for a transfer student like myself has been a real breeze. I have made amazing friends. The professors are always available and willing to help. The school work tends to be tedious however, it is manageable. There are a lot of activities around campus to get involved and to have fun. Overall, it is a great school to attend.
    More about Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
  24. 24

    Clarkson University

    • Potsdam, NY
    • 607 reviews
    Alum:I studied mechanical engineering at Clarkson University, where with the help my my peers and professors I excelled at learning the curriculum. I loved my time at Clarkson, but balancing a social life and school work was a challenge. Overall I really enjoyed my time there and I am contemplating going back for a masters!
    More about Clarkson University
  25. 25

    Lehigh University

    • Bethlehem, PA
    • 780 reviews
    Junior:I really have been enjoying my time here at Lehigh. The campus is beautiful! I am in the engineering school here and I have really enjoyed my classes. Lehigh is a great school for research. In fact, in the engineering school every professor is carrying out some sort of research. The downside of all the research here at Lehigh is that some of the professors are not the greatest teachers.
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