The 50 best colleges for your money

Scott Eisen/Getty ImagesHarvard University is among the best value colleges in America, according to Niche.
  • Attending college is expensive, especially for families taking out thousands of dollars in student loans.
  • Thankfully, there are dozens of affordable public and private schools that offer financial aid to students in need.
  • We compiled the 50 best colleges for your money, according to Niche, with MIT landing the top spot.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As another college semester is set to begin, students are getting ready to pick courses, find the right residence hall, and buy dorm supplies. Their parents, meanwhile, have already taken out their checkbooks, or maybe even thousands of dollars in student loans.

Attending a four-year university requires a long-term financial commitment, which sometimes lasts for decades. Some families are forced to take out student loans, but they never see a return on their investment. Other families let their children skip college altogether to join a trade school. And according to experts, college tuition is only going to keep rising.

Thankfully, some private universities offer generous financial aid packages, while many states offer financial aid to resident students in need. We looked at Niche.com‘s ranking for the best value schools, which measures value based on tuition, net price (the average cost after financial aid for students receiving grant or scholarship aid), and average income of alumni six years after graduating. The schools with only one tuition rate listed are private, and the schools with both in-state and out-of-state tuition are public.

Here are the 50 best colleges in America for your dollar.


50. Michigan Technological University — Houghton, Michigan

Tuition price:

In-state: $US15,346

Out-of-state: $US33,426

Net price: $US17,139

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US64,700


49. Virginia Tech — Blacksburg, Virginia

Rui Serra Maia/Shutterstock

Tuition price:

In-state: $US13,230

Out-of-state: $US31,014

Net price: $US18,700

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US60,500


48. Clarkson University — Potsdam, New York

Courtesy of Clarkson University

Tuition price: $US47,950

Net price: $US31,050

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US68,900


47. University of Chicago — Chicago, Illinois

Natalia Bratslavsky/Shutterstock

Tuition price: $US55,425

Net price: $US34,834

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US65,500


46. Johns Hopkins University — Baltimore, Maryland

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Tuition price: $US52,170

Net price: $US29,066

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US69,800


45. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute — Troy, New York

Tuition price: $US51,000

Net price: $US37,648

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US77,900


44. Worcester Polytechnic Institute — Worcester, Massachusetts

Tuition price: $US48,628

Net price: $US43,027

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US82,600


43. Massachusetts Maritime Academy — Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Tuition price:

In-state: $US8,398

Out-of-state: $US25,824

Net price: $US14,538

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US79,300


42. Washington University in St. Louis — St. Louis, Missouri

Tuition price: $US51,533

Net price: $US66,300

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US27,777


41. University of Virginia — Charlottesville, Virginia

ShutterstockUniversity of Virginia

Tuition price:

In-state: $US16,853

Out-of-state: $US47,273

Net price: $US16,594

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US60,700


40. College of the Holy Cross — Worcester, Massachusetts

Tuition price: $US49,980

Net price: $US27,005

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US65,200


39. Williams College — Williamstown, Massachusetts

Tuition price: $US53,550

Net price: $US20,380

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US54,100


38. Villanova University — Villanova, Pennsylvania

Tuition price: $US50,554

Net price: $US35,491

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US74,500


37. Northwestern University — Evanston, Illinois

Anthony Ricci/Shutterstock

Tuition price: $US52,678

Net price: $US26,099

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US65,900


36. Vanderbilt University — Nashville, Tennessee

Tuition price: $US47,664

Net price: $US23,295

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US64,500


35. Bentley University — Waltham, Massachusetts

Facebook/bentleyuniversity

Tuition price: $US48,000

Net price: $US36,613

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US80,600


34. Boston College — Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Tuition price: $US53,346

Net price: $US27,299

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US70,000


33. Columbia University — New York, New York

Tuition price: $US57,208

Net price: $US22,824

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US78,200


32. Carleton College — Northfield, Minnesota

Tuition price: $US52,782

Net price: $US28,148

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US52,600


31. Virginia Military Institute — Lexington, Virginia

Tuition price:

In-state: $US27,650

Out-of-state: $US53,338

Net price: $US16,085

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US63,200


30. Lafayette College — Easton, Pennsylvania

Tuition price: $US51,600

Net price: $US26,148

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US67,500


29. Claremont McKenna College — Claremont, California

Tuition price: $US52,825

Net price: $US28,712

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US75,000


28. Tufts University — Medford, Massachusetts

Tuition price: $US54,318

Net price: $US29,449

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US66,500


27. Brown University — Providence, Rhode Island

Tuition price: $US53,419

Net price: $US25,651

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US63,100


26. Dartmouth College — Hanover, New Hampshire

Dan Lewis/Shutterstock

Tuition price: $US53,496

Net price: $US22,303

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US70,000


25. Stevens Institute of Technology — Hoboken, New Jersey

Tuition price: $US52,394

Net price: $US38,469

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US87,300


24. Colorado School of Mines — Golden, Colorado

Tuition price:

In-state: $US18,386

Out-of-state: $US37,436

Net price: $US25,472

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US82,100


23. Carnegie Mellon University — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tuition price: $US53,910

Net price: $US29,817

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US81,800


22. Georgetown University — Washington, DC

Wikimedia CommonsGeorgetown University.

Tuition price: $US52,300

Net price: $US27,420

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US90,100


21. Lehigh University — Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Tuition price: $US50,740

Net price: $US26,933

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US77,200


20. Cornell University — Ithaca, New York

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Tuition price: $US52,853

Net price: $US31,449

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US73,600


19. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology — Terre Haute, Indiana

Elliott McCrory/Getty Images

Tuition price: $US48,012

Net price: $US41,536

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US79,200


18. Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences — Albany, New York

Tuition price: $US32,840

Net price: $US30,359

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US122,600


17. Colgate University — Hamilton, New York

Tuition price: $US55,530

Net price: $US22,182

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US61,300


16. Harvey Mudd College — Claremont, California

Tuition price: $US54,636

Net price: $US38,135

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US74,200


15. Babson College — Wellesley, Massachusetts

Tuition price: $US51,104

Net price: $US29,847

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US91,400


14. St. Louis College of Pharmacy — St. Louis, Missouri

Tuition price: $US28,451

Net price: $US29,836

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US120,400


13. Washington & Lee University — Lexington, Virginia

Tuition price: $US67,150

Net price: $US25,029

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US72,300


12. Georgia Institute of Technology — Atlanta, Georgia

Rob Hainer/Shutterstock

Tuition price:

In-state: $US12,418

Out-of-state: $US33,014

Net price: $US15,873

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US75,800


11. Rice University — Houston, Texas

Tuition price: $US45,608

Net price: $US24,131

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US64,300


10. Princeton University — Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University

Tuition price: $US47,140

Net price: $US16,302

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US80,500


9. University of Pennsylvania — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wikimedia Commons

Tuition price: $US53,534

Net price: $US24,539

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US82,400


8. California Institute of Technology — Pasadena, California

Tuition price: $US49,908

Net price: $US24,466

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US74,200


7. University of Notre Dame — Notre Dame, Indiana

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Tuition price: $US51,505

Net price: $US27,453

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US71,600


6. United States Merchant Marine Academy — Kings Point, New York

Spencer Pratt/ Getty

Tuition price: $US1,020

Net price: $US4,870

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US78,900


5. Yale University — New Haven, Connecticut

f11photo/Shutterstock

Tuition price: $US51,400

Net price: $US18,053

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US83,200


4. Duke University — Durham, North Carolina

Chadarat Saibhut/Shutterstock

Tuition price: $US53,744

Net price: $US22,011

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US77,900


3. Harvard University — Cambridge, Massachusetts

Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Tuition price: $US48,949

Net price: $US17,030

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US90,900


2. Stanford University — Stanford, California

Tuition price: $US49,617

Net price: $US16,562

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US85,700


1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tuition price: $US49,892

Net price: $US22,230

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US94,200

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