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.

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.

Make Your Money Work for You
Sponsors of

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

State College Tuition and Fees
Alabama Auburn University $10,968
Alaska University of Alaska — Fairbanks $7,520
Arizona Arizona State University — Tempe $10,792
Arkansas University of Arkansas $9,062
California University of California — Berkeley $14,218
Colorado University of Colorado — Boulder $12,086
Connecticut University of Connecticut $15,730
Delaware University of Delaware $13,160
Florida University of Florida $6,380
Georgia Georgia Institute of Technology $12,618
Hawaii University of Hawaii — Manoa $10,872
Idaho University of Idaho $7,488
Illinois University of Illinois — Urbana-Champaign $16,004
Indiana Purdue University — West Lafayette $9,992
Iowa University of Iowa $9,189.50
Kansas University of Kansas $11,020
Kentucky University of Kentucky $11,772
Louisiana Louisiana State University — Baton Rouge $11,318
Maine University of Maine $10,902
Maryland University of Maryland — College Park $10,180
Massachusetts University of Massachusetts — Amherst $15,787
Michigan University of Michigan — Ann Arbor $14,826
Minnesota University of Minnesota — Twin Cities $14,488
Mississippi University of Mississippi $8,290
Missouri University of Missouri $11,258
Montana Montana State University $7,150
Nebraska University of Nebraska — Lincoln $9,242
Nevada University of Nevada — Reno $7,599
New Hampshire University of New Hampshire $18,067
New Jersey Rutgers University — New Brunswick $14,970
New Mexico University of New Mexico $7,146
New York Binghamton University — SUNY $9,808
North Carolina University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill $8,910
North Dakota University of North Dakota $8,447
Ohio Ohio State University — Columbus $10,591
Oklahoma University of Oklahoma $11,285
Oregon Oregon State University $10,797
Pennsylvania Temple University $15,768
Rhode Island University of Rhode Island $13,792
South Carolina Clemson University $14,712
South Dakota South Dakota State University $8,460
Tennessee University of Tennessee $12,970
Texas University of Texas — Austin $9,914
Utah Brigham Young University — Provo $5,620 – $11,240
Vermont University of Vermont $18,276
Virginia University of Virginia $16,076
Washington University of Washington $10,974
West Virginia West Virginia University $8,976
Wisconsin University of Wisconsin — Madison $10,534
Wyoming University 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.

Related Video

About the Author

Gabrielle Olya

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 People.com. 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. 

Read More