These Are the Best Colleges You Can Attend for Under $20K a Year

You don't need to spend a lot for a quality education.

Whether you’re sending a child to college or putting yourself through school, being able to afford college tuition is no easy feat. Fortunately, you can get a quality education in any state for less than $20,000 a year.

A new GOBankingRates report analyzed US News’ 2018 Best Colleges for National Universities list to determine the highest-ranking colleges in each state. We then looked at annual costs at the top-ranking colleges to determine the “best” college in each state that has the lowest overall in-state tuition and fees and the highest US News ranking. Keep reading to see the best college in every state that costs less than $20,000 a year.

If you’re looking to attend school or send a child to school in-state, the study’s data can help you choose where to apply to get a great education without accumulating too much debt.

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Tuition at the best affordable colleges in each state ranged from $5,218 per year to $18,276 per year. Four of the schools included in the list are top 30 schools — University of California, Berkeley, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill — which proves that you don’t need to spend a lot to get a college degree from a prestigious school.

Here is the complete list of the best college in every state that costs less than $20,000 a year:

StateCollegeTuition and Fees
AlabamaAuburn University$10,968
AlaskaUniversity of Alaska — Fairbanks$7,520
ArizonaArizona State University — Tempe$10,792
ArkansasUniversity of Arkansas$9,062
CaliforniaUniversity of California — Berkeley$14,218
ColoradoUniversity of Colorado — Boulder$12,086
ConnecticutUniversity of Connecticut$15,730
DelawareUniversity of Delaware$13,160
FloridaUniversity of Florida$6,380
GeorgiaGeorgia Institute of Technology$12,618
HawaiiUniversity of Hawaii — Manoa$10,872
IdahoUniversity of Idaho$7,488
IllinoisUniversity of Illinois — Urbana-Champaign$16,004
IndianaPurdue University — West Lafayette$9,992
IowaUniversity of Iowa$9,189.50
KansasUniversity of Kansas$11,020
KentuckyUniversity of Kentucky$11,772
LouisianaLouisiana State University — Baton Rouge$11,318
MaineUniversity of Maine$10,902
MarylandUniversity of Maryland — College Park$10,180
MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts — Amherst$15,787
MichiganUniversity of Michigan — Ann Arbor$14,826
MinnesotaUniversity of Minnesota — Twin Cities$14,488
MississippiUniversity of Mississippi$8,290
MissouriUniversity of Missouri$11,258
MontanaMontana State University$7,150
NebraskaUniversity of Nebraska — Lincoln$9,242
NevadaUniversity of Nevada — Reno$7,599
New HampshireUniversity of New Hampshire$18,067
New JerseyRutgers University — New Brunswick$14,970
New MexicoUniversity of New Mexico$7,146
New YorkBinghamton University — SUNY$9,808
North CarolinaUniversity of North Carolina — Chapel Hill$8,910
North DakotaUniversity of North Dakota$8,447
OhioOhio State University — Columbus$10,591
OklahomaUniversity of Oklahoma$11,285
OregonOregon State University$10,797
PennsylvaniaTemple University$15,768
Rhode IslandUniversity of Rhode Island$13,792
South CarolinaClemson University$14,712
South DakotaSouth Dakota State University$8,460
TennesseeUniversity of Tennessee$12,970
TexasUniversity of Texas — Austin$9,914
UtahBrigham Young University — Provo$5,620 – $11,240
VermontUniversity of Vermont$18,276
VirginiaUniversity of Virginia$16,076
WashingtonUniversity of Washington$10,974
West VirginiaWest Virginia University$8,976
WisconsinUniversity of Wisconsin — Madison$10,534
WyomingUniversity of Wyoming$5,218

Click through to see the most expensive college in every state.

Methodology: To determine qualitatively the “best” colleges, GOBankingRates sourced US News 2018 Best Colleges for National Universities with the highest ranking in each state. Annual costs are based on in-state tuition and fees (not counting room and board), sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and individual college websites. The “best” college in each state having the highest US News ranking and the lowest overall cost, i.e. in-state tuition and fees.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.