The Best Colleges That Cost Less Than $21,000 a Year

It is still possible to find a well-ranked college that does not cost a fortune. Here are five good bets.

The Best Colleges That Cost Less Than $21,000 a Year Photo (cc) by ellen forsyth

Attending one of the best universities in the country will cost at least $43,000 a year, according to the latest annual rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

That’s the cost of tuition and fees at the No. 1-ranked Princeton University — and the other schools in the top 10 this year are even more expensive.

But according to’s analysis of U.S. News’ new rankings, it’s also possible to find a well-ranked school for less than half of Princeton’s price tag. The website found more than two dozen universities in the top 200 and at least 10 universities in the top 150 that cost less than $21,000 a year.

So while nearly one-third of Americans workers regret taking out student loans to pay for college, reports:

It is possible to go to school without coming out under a mountain of debt … In U.S. News’s National University rankings (schools that “offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs, and emphasize faculty research”), there are 10 schools with annual tuition rates lower than $21,000 that are also among the top 150 schools in the country.

The best-ranked of these schools is Brigham Young University’s campus in Provo, Utah, which U.S. News placed at No. 66. Tuition and fees cost $5,150 annually.

The five best-ranked universities in’s analysis — and their annual in-state tuition costs — are:

  1. Brigham Young University-Provo — $5,150
  2. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities — $13,560
  3. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry — $7,770
  4. Iowa State University — $7,736
  5. University of Oklahoma — $7,695

To view the rest of the schools in the analysis, click on the link above.

If you are struggling with debt from college, be sure to visit the Money Talks News Solutions Center, where you can get help with student loan debt as well as other types of debt.

For more information about student debt, check out:

Are you surprised that it’s possible to get a quality education for less than $21,000 a year? Let us know what you think below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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