The 50 most underrated colleges in America

University of Houston/FacebookThe University of Houston is one of the top five most underrated colleges.
  • There are many wonderful colleges and universities in the US that are sometimes overlooked in major rankings.
  • College preparation and admissions consulting firm CollegeVine identified 50 colleges that offer great educational and career opportunities but don’t always appear at the top of traditional lists.
  • Binghamton University, San Jose State, and City College of New York land in the top five.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

While top-rated US colleges are household names, there are plenty of other, sometimes overlooked, schools that offer great educational and career opportunities.

College preparation and admissions consulting firm CollegeVine assembled a ranking of the most underrated colleges and universities in the US. To compile the ranking, it evaluated several career- and outcome-based metrics for each of the schools, including cost of attendance and financial aid, career outcomes, and overall return on investment.

Read more: Here’s the most educated town in every state

Schools were given a score out of 100 for each of those metrics, with schools being rewarded for scoring better on those measures than their traditional rankings from publications like US News & World Report would suggest.

Here are the 50 most underrated colleges in the US, according to CollegeVine’s measures:


50. Hofstra University

Location: Hempstead, New York

Overall score: 79.0

Career outcomes score: 86

Cost and financial aid score: 64

Return on investment score: 87


49. Carnegie Mellon

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Overall score: 80.7

Career outcomes score: 99

Cost and financial aid score: 64

Return on investment score: 79


48. Stevens Institute of Technology

Location: Hoboken, New Jersey

Overall score: 81.0

Career outcomes score: 88

Cost and financial aid score: 70

Return on investment score: 85


47. University of Oklahoma

Location: Norman, Oklahoma

Overall score: 81.7

Career outcomes score: 76

Cost and financial aid score: 92

Return on investment score: 77


46. University of Arizona

Christian Petersen/Getty

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Overall score: 82.3

Career outcomes score: 76

Cost and financial aid score: 96

Return on investment score: 75


44 (tie). University of Delaware

Location: Newark, Delaware

Overall score: 83.0

Career outcomes score: 75

Cost and financial aid score: 93

Return on investment score: 81


44 (tie). Brigham Young University

Location: Provo, Utah

Overall score: 83.0

Career outcomes score: 81

Cost and financial aid score: 85

Return on investment score: 83


43. Bucknell University

Location: Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Overall score: 83.7

Career outcomes score: 89

Cost and financial aid score: 76

Return on investment score: 86


42. North Carolina State University

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Overall score: 84.3

Career outcomes score: 76

Cost and financial aid score: 92

Return on investment score: 85


41. American University

American University

Location: Washington, DC

Overall score: 84.7

Career outcomes score: 93

Cost and financial aid score: 68

Return on investment score: 93


40. Virginia Tech

Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Location: Blacksburg, Virginia

Overall score: 85.3

Career outcomes score: 76

Cost and financial aid score: 97

Return on investment score: 83


38 (tie). Saint Louis University

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Overall score: 86.0

Career outcomes score: 86

Cost and financial aid score: 84

Return on investment score: 88


38 (tie). Case Western

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Overall score: 86.0

Career outcomes score: 95

Cost and financial aid score: 79

Return on investment score: 84


37. University of Arkansas

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Overall score: 86.3

Career outcomes score: 79

Cost and financial aid score: 97

Return on investment score: 83


36. Louisiana Tech

Location: Ruston, Louisiana

Overall score: 87.3

Career outcomes score: 81

Cost and financial aid score: 99

Return on investment score: 82


35. Louisiana State

LSU

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Overall score: 88.0

Career outcomes score: 81

Cost and financial aid score: 99

Return on investment score: 84


33 (tie). Oregon State University

Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Overall score: 88.7

Career outcomes score: 82

Cost and financial aid score: 96

Return on investment score: 88


33 (tie). San Diego State

Location: San Diego, California

Overall score: 88.7

Career outcomes score: 82

Cost and financial aid score: 99

Return on investment score: 85


32. The College of New Jersey

Location: Ewing Township, New Jersey

Overall score: 89.0

Career outcomes score: 84

Cost and financial aid score: 97

Return on investment score: 86


31. Oberlin College

Location: Oberlin, Ohio

Overall score: 89.3

Career outcomes score: 97

Cost and financial aid score: 77

Return on investment score: 94


30. University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Overall score: 89.7

Career outcomes score: 87

Cost and financial aid score: 98

Return on investment score: 84


29. Ursinus College

Location: Collegeville, Pennsylvania

Overall score: 90.0

Career outcomes score: 92

Cost and financial aid score: 88

Return on investment score: 90


27 (tie). University of Illinois – Chicago

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Overall score: 90.7

Career outcomes score: 89

Cost and financial aid score: 96

Return on investment score: 87


27 (tie). University of Kansas

Jeff Zehnder/Shutterstock

Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Overall score: 90.7

Career outcomes score: 86

Cost and financial aid score: 99

Return on investment score: 87


25 (tie). Drexel University

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Overall score: 91.0

Career outcomes score: 95

Cost and financial aid score: 85

Return on investment score: 93


25 (tie). Kansas State University

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Location: Manhattan, Kansas

Overall score: 91.0

Career outcomes score: 87

Cost and financial aid score: 99

Return on investment score: 87


24. Miami University – Oxford

Wikipedia; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Location: Oxford, Ohio

Overall score: 91.3

Career outcomes score: 92

Cost and financial aid score: 89

Return on investment score: 93


21 (tie). University of New Mexico

Underawesternsky/Shutterstock

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Overall score: 91.7

Career outcomes score: 85

Cost and financial aid score: 99

Return on investment score: 91


21 (tie). Oklahoma State University

Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma

Overall score: 91.7

Career outcomes score: 85

Cost and financial aid score: 100

Return on investment score: 90


21 (tie). University of Texas – El Paso

Location: El Paso, Texas

Overall score: 91.7

Career outcomes score: 83

Cost and financial aid score: 100

Return on investment score: 92


20. Texas Tech University

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Overall score: 93.0

Career outcomes score: 88

Cost and financial aid score: 99

Return on investment score: 92


19. University of Utah

Jason Finn/Shutterstock

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Overall score: 93.3

Career outcomes score: 89

Cost and financial aid score: 100

Return on investment score: 91


18. University of Idaho

Location: Moscow, Idaho

Overall score: 93.7

Career outcomes score: 90

Cost and financial aid score: 100

Return on investment score: 91


14 (tie). Santa Clara University

Location: Santa Clara, California

Overall score: 94.0

Career outcomes score: 98

Cost and financial aid score: 87

Return on investment score: 97


14 (tie). University of Missouri

Amanda Macias/Business Insider

Location: Columbia, Missouri

Overall score: 94.0

Career outcomes score: 91

Cost and financial aid score: 98

Return on investment score: 93


14 (tie). University of Wyoming

Location: Laramie, Wyoming

Overall score: 94.0

Career outcomes score: 90

Cost and financial aid score: 100

Return on investment score: 92


14 (tie). Washington State University

Facebook/Washington State University

Location: Pullman, Washington

Overall score: 94.0

Career outcomes score: 93

Cost and financial aid score: 97

Return on investment score: 92


13. Loyola University Maryland

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Overall score: 94.3

Career outcomes score: 98

Cost and financial aid score: 87

Return on investment score: 98


10 (tie). Wellesley College

Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts

Overall score: 95.0

Career outcomes score: 100

Cost and financial aid score: 86

Return on investment score: 99


10 (tie). University of Iowa

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Overall score: 95.0

Career outcomes score: 93

Cost and financial aid score: 97

Return on investment score: 95


10 (tie). West Virginia University

Steve Heap/Shutterstock

Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Overall score: 95.0

Career outcomes score: 91

Cost and financial aid score: 100

Return on investment score: 94


9. Babson College

Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts

Overall score: 95.3

Career outcomes score: 100

Cost and financial aid score: 86

Return on investment score: 100


7 (tie). Fordham University

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Location: New York, New York

Overall score: 95.7

Career outcomes score: 99

Cost and financial aid score: 89

Return on investment score: 99


7 (tie). University of Texas – Austin

Location: Austin, Texas

Overall score: 95.7

Career outcomes score: 95

Cost and financial aid score: 92

Return on investment score: 100


6. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Location: Worcester, Massachusetts

Overall score: 96.0

Career outcomes score: 96

Cost and financial aid score: 94

Return on investment score: 98


5. George Mason University

Location: Fairfax, Virginia

Overall score: 96.3

Career outcomes score: 99

Cost and financial aid score: 91

Return on investment score: 99


4. City College of New York

Location: New York, New York

Overall score: 97.0

Career outcomes score: 97

Cost and financial aid score: 98

Return on investment score: 96


3. Binghamton University

Location: Binghamton, New York

Overall score: 97.3

Career outcomes score: 99

Cost and financial aid score: 95

Return on investment score: 98


2. University of Houston

Location: Houston, Texas

Overall score: 98.0

Career outcomes score: 95

Cost and financial aid score: 99

Return on investment score: 100


1. San Jose State

Associated Press

Location: San Jose, California

Overall score: 99.3

Career outcomes score: 99

Cost and financial aid score: 99

Return on investment score: 100

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