With more and more complains about the US education system and the meager job prospects offered to fresh grads, making the right educational choice has never seemed more challenging. Fret not! This list features the most cost effective colleges based one the report from
You will be surprised to know that 50-70% students of these colleges graduate completely debt-free.
1. Babson College, Babson Park, MA.
Babson College specialized in business and entrepreneurship and offers just one degree – a B.S. in Business. However, a better half of the course load includes subjects in liberal arts and science.
Seniors are offered to choose their concentration in various areas ranging from political science and visual arts to sustainable development.
What makes this college particularly worth its price is that freshmen can obtain practical experience beginning from day one.
They are set to work in teams, with extensive mentorship, to launch their first business and earn actual profits (which go to charity).
Hands-on experience brings its results fast. Babson College alumni are reported to earn $60,000 on average within five years of graduation. That is $13,000 more compared to recent grads of comparable schools!
Did you know that the Gerber (15$ million annual revenue) and Home Depot (78.8$ billion annual revenue) founders graduated from Babson?
That is $13,000 more compared to recent grads of comparable schools! Did you know that the Gerber (15$ million annual revenue) and Home Depot (78.8$ billion annual revenue) founders graduated from Babson?
Bottom line: if you plan to become a millionaire in a few years, consider a business degree from Babson as your first successful investment.
Net price of degree: $198,917
2. Webb Institute, Glen Cove, NY.
Though Webb Institute attracts only 80 undergraduates on average, do not underestimate it by the class size. The perks of getting double major in naval architecture and marine engineering are tremendous.
First of all, the degree will cost you zero. Yes, you read correct. If you are a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you receive a scholarship covering all tuition fees worth $44,000 this year, thanks to a considerable endowment.
Secondly, you are expected to have four internships during four years of studies, where you can gain a ton of practical knowledge and prospective connections with possible employers. Lastly, Webb grads tend to land pretty awesome work gigs right after graduation, boasting an annual income of $65,000.
Possible drawbacks – you have to enjoy guys’ company a lot as 80% of the students are male. Plus, you are required to live on campus.
Net price of degree: $77,606
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
MIT is one of the world’s most renowned science schools and is an incredibly competitive place to get in to, with 25% of applicant having perfect scores on their math SAT. The school is famous for notorious workload in physics, biology, calculus and chemistry that are required subjects for all major.
The school is famous for notorious workload in physics, biology, calculus and chemistry that are required subjects for all major.
Yet the benefits of getting a degree from MIT are proportional. The academic staff reputation is impeccable and you will be able to attend classes taught by Nobel Prize laureates.
Straight after graduation students are reported to earn 22% more than graduates of similar elite institutions. While the price of a degree may slightly burn, MIT is still deemed to be one of the less expensive private schools.
It is also known for providing extensive tuition aid, covering up to 55% of the expenses, along with special financial aid for accredited online degrees and distance learning. Alternatively, you can always sign up to
Alternatively, you can always sign up to MIT’s Open Courseware and gain access to loads of valuable courses and study materials for free.
Net price of degree: $154,676
4. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.
Time Money named Princeton as the most affordable member of the Ivy League, as it is known to offer extremely generous tuition grants to 6 out of 10 families or no cost degrees to those making less than $60,000 annually. Ninety percent of students graduate from Princeton with no debt. However, the competition is tough with an undergraduate
However, the competition is tough with an undergraduate admission rate of 7.4% in 2014 and middle SAT scores of 700-800 in writing and 710-800 in Math.
If you got in, you are granted exclusive access to world-class professionals including Joyce Carol Oates – novelist, Pulitzer Price nominee, author of over 40 books, plays and novels; Paul Krugman – winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, author of over 20 books and numerous academic articles in New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography; Daniel Sigman – MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” awardee, with research published in Geological and Geophysical Sciences. The median pay of a recent Princeton grad is 56.000$ which is significantly premium over similar schools.
The median pay of a recent Princeton grad is $56,000, which is significantly higher than similar schools.
Net price of degree: $146,215
5. Stanford University, Stanford, CA.
The numbers say it: 22 Nobel laureates, 5 Pulitzer Prize winners and 27 MacArthur “genius” awardees are among Stanford’s staff. Among Standford alums are the founders of Google, Cisco, Yahoo and a great array of other successful companies.
As a student, be ready for entrepreneurial encouragement from day one, as one of the school’s main missions is to inspire and bring up future leaders and innovative thinkers.
Encouragements vary from special research grants offered to undergrads, to creative art projects and summer study camps. Students entering the workforce right after graduation are reported to earn $61,000, which is $12,000 more than similar universities.
Net price of degree: $168,780
6. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Harvard is the first school that pops into your mind when you think of the Ivy League and synonymous with a successful future, with a typical early career salary of $57,700 according to PayScale.
It’s quite unsurprising, as Harvard boasts one of the most impressive faculties including Nobel-prize winning economist Alvin Roth, prominent cognitive scientist Steven Pinker and Naill Ferguson, author of “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World.”
You’d be surprised to know that Harvard can be affordable. Twenty per cent of students coming from families with an income of $65,000 a year receive full tuition aid. Enrollees from families with an income up to $150,000 end up paying less than 10% of their income. As a result, a vast majority of graduates are debt-free.
Net price of degree: $181,221
7. Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA.
It took Harvey Mudd College less than a decade to earn the reputation as the leading engineering and science school US. Ranking #1 on the Liberal Arts school list Mudd only offers BS degrees in the following fields: computer science, engineering, biology, math,
Ranking #1 on the Liberal Arts school list, Mudd only offers BS degrees in the following fields: computer science, engineering, biology, math, physics and chemistry. However, students in these programs are also required to study an array of subjects in the social sciences and humanities.
Harvey Mudd is the country’s second largest producer of PhD’s in engineering and science, according to National Science Foundation, with just 800 students!
The faculty is particularly well known for focusing more on teaching rather than research, and most professors have top scores and loads of flattering reviews on Rate My Professors.
Moreover, Mudders entering the labor market earn around $70,000 on average within the first five years after graduation. That’s a whopping 18% more than recent grads from other schools with similar specializations.
Net price of degree: $187,694
8. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY.
Cooper is located in the artsy neighborhood of East Village and perfectly represents the programs offered – art, architecture, and engineering. Notoriously famous for its low admission rate, even compared to top Ivy League schools, getting to Cooper is highly profitable.
The degree opens up secret doors to the top artistic and creative circles, along with a median pay of $61,000 within the first three years.
Famous alumni include Daniel Libeskind, designer of NYC’s new Freedom Tower and Whitfield Lovell, successful installation artist and recent MacArthur “genius” awardee.
Yet, one of the best things about Cooper are tuition costs – $19,800 per year introduced in 2014, making it one of the cheapest private-schools in the States.
Net price of degree: $146,797
9. Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.
BYU private school is most known for two things: providing education for the Church of Latter Day Saints members and a high-acceptance rate compared to similar schools. Non-Mormons can get admitted as well. However, tuition costs are twice as high for them. Also, you are expected to follow a certain code of conduct including a modest dress code and abstaining from coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, and living a “virtuous life” on campus.
Yet these strict rules seem to bring amazing results. BYU graduates are reported to earn $50,000 a year in their early career stage which is $2,700 higher compared to students with similar test scores and economic background. Plus, the school is known to promote marriage and family values with an active dating scene. For instance, 56% of the graduation class in 2010 were already married.
Net price of degree: $82,037
10. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Getting admitted to Caltech is tough. You will have to compete with peers having a 1490 average on their SATs (higher than Harvard, Stanford and MIT). Expect no easy A’s if you get in either. CIT professors are known to be fair, but hard graders.
The opportunities you get in return, however, are pretty incredible. Think internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as one of the possible prospects. Or you may have a chance to conduct your research with one of the five Nobel Prize winners on the faculty. Moreover, if you plan to join the workforce straight after graduation, you can expect to earn over $68,000 within five years.
Moreover, if you plan to join the workforce straight after graduation, you can expect to earn over $68,000 within five years.
Net price of degree: $174,825
11. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Although having the largest first-year classes of up to 2,400 students, Penn State is still among the top selective schools with an acceptance rate of 13%. Business and economic departments are known to be particularly demanding. Expect to spend a bunch of over-nighters before midterms and a heavy workload through most of the courses.
However, Wharton business degrees literary pay off as graduates are reported to earn $67,000 within five years which is among top-5 incomes for undergraduate business programs. In general, Penn State graduates typically earn at least 20% more than the average with similar degrees.
Expect to spend a bunch of overnighters before midterms and a heavy workload through most of the courses. However, Wharton business degrees literary pay off as graduates are reported to earn $67,000 within five years which is among the top-5 incomes for undergraduate business programs. In general, Penn State graduates typically earn at least 20% more than the average with similar degrees.
In general, Penn State graduates typically earn at least 20% more than the average with similar degrees.
Net price of degree: $201,611
12. Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, ME
Maine Marine Academy attracts only a certain type of student with particular interest in engineering and marine science, thus boasting a high acceptance rate of 66%.
Well-known perks include loads of actual practical experience with trainings offered on actual ships and a solid career path afterwards with an estimated pay of $64,000 within five years after graduation.
However, there are certain drawbacks as well. Only 14% of the students are female and their is a lack of ethnic diversity, with just 3% of students being nonwhite.
You’ll have to get used to a military-style regiments including standing watch, wearing a uniform and other duties.
Net price of degree: $104,958
13. University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Berkley is known to be one of the most selective public colleges in the US, with an admission rate of 22%.
However, you get exclusive access to world-class research facilities and an outstanding faculty including a number of MacArthur “geniuses,” Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel laureates.
Berkley is not all study and no play, as the school offers a huge variety of choices for non-academic pursuits – over 50 sororities and fraternities, plus hundreds of clubs featuring nearly any possible interest imaginable.
Moreover, sports are highly encouraged at Berkley with over 45 athletes sent to the 2012 Olympics.
Recent graduates can expect to earn $54,700 on average within five years. Steve Wozniak (Apple Co-founder) and Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) are among the most famous Cal alumni.
Net price of degree: $126,824
14. Williams College, Williamstown, MA
Williams College ranks #1 among liberal arts colleges according to Time Money. Having a huge faculty (the ratio is a low 7 to 1), students receive plenty of personalized attention and private consultations.
Williams is the only other college to adopt and enhance the Oxford tutoring system, which brings extra collaboration into the study process.
Students are usually paired in twos and are required to critique each other’s papers during the weekly sessions with their professor.
This method gives pretty solid results. Williams grads typically earn over $50,000 a year in the first five years.
Net price of degree: $168,573
15. Yale University, New Haven, CT
Yale’s impeccable reputation was created by the master minds at the faculty – Robert Shiller (Nobel Prize laureate in Economy), Pulitzer price awardee in poetry Louise Glück and one of most influential historians of our times Paul Kennedy.
The school allows students to have extra academic freedom and does not set any specific course requirements. However, all undergrads are required to take courses in a wide range of general subjects, plus demonstrate strong writing skills. They are further expected to master a foreign language.
The more unknown fact about Yale, however, is that the school offers more than generous tuition aid and grants. As the board states, “we meet the full demonstrated financial need.” Therefore, over 50% of student’s graduate without any debt.
Net price of degree: $182,795
16. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
The University of Virginia receives high of praises like most of the Ivy League members, yet it offers one of the lowest tuition fees among the country’s public universities. Plus, getting to Virginia State University means four years of living and studying at a stunning UNESCO world heritage sight. The campus was designed by Thomas Jefferson, the university founder.
With a great array of courses to choose from, the programs in History, Business, Astronomy and English being particularly well regarded, the University of Virginia introduced the first highly popular course based on the Game of Thrones series.
Net price of degree: $94,139
17. Amherst College, Amherst, MA
Amhest College boasts that there are no required courses for undergraduates to take, except for a first-year seminar in writing and critical thinking which got excellent reviews among all students.
Further, Amhest encourages taking extra classes from the nearby colleges of Hampshire, Smith, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst at no cost.
The Generosity does not end there, as the school tries to meet nearly 100% of all students’ demonstrated financial need. As a result, 70% graduates have no loans to pay off for decades.
Employment prospects are rather lucrative too, with an average reported income of $53,000 within five years after graduation.
Net price of degree: $156,651
18. Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA
Virginia Military Institute boasts a long lasting reputation as the top military school in the country, as well as being the oldest state-supported military institution in the country.
VMI offers BA degrees in engineering, liberal arts and the sciences and charges affordable tuition fees. Also, the school does not require a military service commitment after graduation making it significantly stand out among other similar institutions that do.
The first semesters are reported to be really tough, as freshmen have to get used to wearing a tidy uniform all day long, undergo strict military-style training and get accustomed to the regimentation.
Those who make it until the end, however, are rewarded with luxurious salaries averaging about $54,000 within five years which is $16,000 more compared to grads from similar schools.
Net price of degree: $89,134
19. Brown University, Providence, RI
Brown gives great creative and academic freedom to the students, asking them to take just one required writing course by the end of their sophomore year.
Other than that, undergrads can choose any subjects they like and even design their own majors. G
Grades are optional as well! Any class may be taken with a pass-fail credit.
The system does produce results, as Brown grads are reported to earn $52,300 within 5 years of graduation. which is $8,000 per year more compared to grads with similar degrees from other institutions.
Net price of degree: $192,028
20. Rice University, Houston, TX
Last, but not least, comes Rice, one of the most exclusive private colleges at the Southwest.
Most praised majors include biology, engineering and economics due to small classes and prominent faculty staff, including world-renowned researches you will have a chance to work with side by side.
After graduation, Rice students are reported to earn about $55,700 within five years, 8% over the median pay offered to recent graduates with similar majors.
Net price of degree: $149,851
Featured photo credit: Clint Mickel via flickr.com