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Best value colleges in every state

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ssguy // Shutterstock

Best value colleges in every state

When it comes to higher education, definitions of what constitutes a valuable collegiate experience and reasons for enrolling are as varied as the people providing the answers. A 2014 survey from the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA revealed that 86% of incoming freshman felt attending a university was an important step toward getting a better job. In the same survey, 70% of respondents said they attended the school in order to gain a more general appreciation of interdisciplinary ideas and 47% wanted to become “more cultured” during their time at UCLA.

A tuition-to-salary comparison is generally not sufficient in assessing the value a school offers. It’s important to take the immediate financial costs and benefits into consideration, but also consider the quality of life and campus culture it can offer its students. In an age where student debt is skyrocketing, many of America's students are anxious about whether their degree will be worthwhile in the long run. The average debt carried by one of the 45 million student-loan borrowers after graduation is nearly $30,000. As the student debt crisis grows alongside the staggering rise of college tuition, a school's overall value matters: namely, where scholarly investments will pay off with less debt to start and a higher-paying career within reach after graduation.

Stacker referenced a 2019 Niche list of Best Value Colleges in America to report the best value college in every state. The methodology accounted for student surveys, cost, post-graduate financial earnings, and a handful of other factors that capture a school’s well-rounded value. While some colleges may lure students in with a vibrant campus life or famous professors, those details are generally not good indicators of the value of a school to a student's lifelong career prospects. 

Read on to see if your alma mater is the best value college in its state.

You may also like: 25 oldest colleges in America

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Sweetmoose6 // Wikimedia Commons

Alabama: Samford University

- Location: Birmingham, AL
- Undergraduate enrollment: 3,266
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 83%
- Graduation rate: 76%
- Tuition: $30,490
- Six year median earnings: $49,900
- Two year employment rate: 94

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Enrico Blasutto // Wikmedia Commons

Alaska: University of Alaska Fairbanks

- Location: Fairbanks, AK
- Undergraduate enrollment: 3,022
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 77%
- Graduation rate: 30%
- In state tuition: $6,262
- Out of state tuition: $19,183
- Six year median earnings: $38,700
- Two year employment rate: 85

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Embry-Riddle Prescott // Wikimedia Commons

Arizona: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott

- Location: Prescott, AZ
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,471
- Student to faculty ratio: 18:1
- Acceptance rate: 77%
- Graduation rate: 60%
- Tuition: $34,662
- Six year median earnings: $66,200
- Two year employment rate: 94

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Brandonrush // Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas: Ouachita Baptist University

- Location: Arkadelphia, AR
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,500
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 71%
- Graduation rate: 64%
- Tuition: $25,870
- Six year median earnings: $41,200
- Two year employment rate: 93

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Jawed Karim // Wikimedia Commons

California: Stanford University

- Location: Stanford, CA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 7,064
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 5%
- Graduation rate: 94%
- Tuition: $49,617
- Six year median earnings: $94,000
- Two year employment rate: 94

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ChrisEngelsma // Wikimedia Commons

Colorado: Colorado School of Mines

- Location: Golden, CO
- Undergraduate enrollment: 4,584
- Student to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Acceptance rate: 56%
- Graduation rate: 78%
- In state tuition: $18,386
- Out of state tuition: $37,436
- Six year median earnings: $84,900
- Two year employment rate: 95

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Ragesoss // Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut: Yale University

- Location: New Haven, CT
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,743
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 7%
- Graduation rate: 97%
- Tuition: $51,400
- Six year median earnings: $83,200
- Two year employment rate: 92

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Ottawa80 // Wikimedia Commons

Delaware: University of Delaware

- Location: Newark, DE
- Undergraduate enrollment: 18,195
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 63%
- Graduation rate: 82%
- In state tuition: $13,160
- Out of state tuition: $33,150
- Six year median earnings: $57,000
- Two year employment rate: 9

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Spohpatuf // Wikimedia Commons

Florida: University of Florida

- Location: Gainesville, FL
- Undergraduate enrollment: 31,384
- Student to faculty ratio: 19:1
- Acceptance rate: 42%
- Graduation rate: 88%
- In state tuition: $6,381
- Out of state tuition: $28,659
- Six year median earnings: $56,000
- Two year employment rate: 92

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

Georgia: Georgia Institute of Technology

- Location: Atlanta, GA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 13,974
- Student to faculty ratio: 22:1
- Acceptance rate: 23%
- Graduation rate: 85%
- In state tuition: $12,418
- Out of state tuition: $33,014
- Six year median earnings: $79,100
- Two year employment rate: 95

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Rytut // Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii: Chaminade University of Honolulu

- Location: Honolulu, HI
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,524
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 92%
- Graduation rate: 54%
- Tuition: $24,514
- Six year median earnings: $38,400
- Two year employment rate: 84

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Tamanoeconomico // Wikimedia Commons

Idaho: University of Idaho

- Location: Moscow, ID
- Undergraduate enrollment: 7,166
- Student to faculty ratio: 14:1
- Acceptance rate: 73%
- Graduation rate: 55%
- In state tuition: $7,864
- Out of state tuition: $25,500
- Six year median earnings: $41,900
- Two year employment rate: 92

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Madcoverboy // Wikimedia Commons

Illinois: Northwestern University

- Location: Evanston, IL
- Undergraduate enrollment: 8,205
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 9%
- Graduation rate: 94%
- Tuition: $52,678
- Six year median earnings: $69,000
- Two year employment rate: 92

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Ssantera // Wikimedia Commons

Indiana: University of Notre Dame

- Location: Notre Dame, IN
- Undergraduate enrollment: 8,557
- Student to faculty ratio: 10:1
- Acceptance rate: 19%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Tuition: $51,505
- Six year median earnings: $78,400
- Two year employment rate: 95

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Picture Des Moines // flickr

Iowa: Drake University

- Location: Des Moines, IA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,955
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 69%
- Graduation rate: 79%
- Tuition: $39,062
- Six year median earnings: $58,300
- Two year employment rate: 95

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Arnhem // Wikimedia Commons

Kansas: University of Kansas

- Location: Lawrence, KS
- Undergraduate enrollment: 17,151
- Student to faculty ratio: 17:1
- Acceptance rate: 93%
- Graduation rate: 63%
- In state tuition: $10,824
- Out of state tuition: $26,592
- Six year median earnings: $48,800
- Two year employment rate: 94

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Arwcheek // Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky: Centre College

- Location: Danville, KY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,449
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 76%
- Graduation rate: 82%
- Tuition: $40,500
- Six year median earnings: $45,500
- Two year employment rate: 93

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Tulane Public Relations // Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana: Tulane University

- Location: New Orleans, LA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,716
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 21%
- Graduation rate: 83%
- Tuition: $52,960
- Six year median earnings: $61,700
- Two year employment rate: 91

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

Maine: Bowdoin College

- Location: Brunswick, ME
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,813
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 14%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Tuition: $51,848
- Six year median earnings: $65,500
- Two year employment rate: 93

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Lester Spence // Wikimedia Commons

Maryland: Johns Hopkins University

- Location: Baltimore, MD
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,668
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 13%
- Graduation rate: 93%
- Tuition: $52,170
- Six year median earnings: $73,200
- Two year employment rate: 91

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Fcb981/Thermos // Wikimedia Commons

Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

- Location: Cambridge, MA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 4,510
- Student to faculty ratio: 3:1
- Acceptance rate: 7%
- Graduation rate: 94%
- Tuition: $49,892
- Six year median earnings: $104,700
- Two year employment rate: 94

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Michigan Technological University Photo Services // Wikimedia Commons

Michigan: Michigan Technological University

- Location: Houghton, MI
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,492
- Student to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Acceptance rate: 74%
- Graduation rate: 67%
- In state tuition: $15,346
- Out of state tuition: $33,426
- Six year median earnings: $66,400
- Two year employment rate: 97

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Dogs1337 // Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota: Carleton College

- Location: Northfield, MN
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,055
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 21%
- Graduation rate: 94%
- Tuition: $52,782
- Six year median earnings: $54,200
- Two year employment rate: 91

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A Chelsea Clinton visit to Millsaps College during Hillary Clinton's campaign—Natalie Maynor // Wikimedia Commons

Mississippi: Millsaps College

- Location: Jackson, MS
- Undergraduate enrollment: 797
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 49%
- Graduation rate: 67%
- Tuition: $38,930
- Six year median earnings: $48,100
- Two year employment rate: 91

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Paul Sableman // flickr

Missouri: St. Louis College of Pharmacy

- Location: Saint Louis, MO
- Undergraduate enrollment: 435
- Student to faculty ratio: 9:1
- Acceptance rate: 72%
- Graduation rate: 71%
- Tuition: $28,451
- Six year median earnings: $124,100
- Two year employment rate: 98

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Dngvandaele // Wikimedia Commons

Montana: Carroll College

- Location: Helena, MT
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,287
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 78%
- Graduation rate: 72%
- Tuition: $34,480
- Six year median earnings: $45,900
- Two year employment rate: 93

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Troy Johnson // Wikimedia Commons

Nebraska: Creighton University

- Location: Omaha, NE
- Undergraduate enrollment: 4,011
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 72%
- Graduation rate: 81%
- Tuition: $38,750
- Six year median earnings: $59,700
- Two year employment rate: 95

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Nesnad // Wikimedia Commons

Nevada: University of Nevada - Reno

- Location: Reno, NV
- Undergraduate enrollment: 15,572
- Student to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Acceptance rate: 88%
- Graduation rate: 55%
- In state tuition: $7,599
- Out of state tuition: $21,788
- Six year median earnings: $47,000
- Two year employment rate: 91

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Kane5187 // Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire: Dartmouth College

- Location: Hanover, NH
- Undergraduate enrollment: 4,360
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 10%
- Graduation rate: 96%
- Tuition: $53,496
- Six year median earnings: $75,500
- Two year employment rate: 94

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Carol M. Highsmith // Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey: Princeton University

- Location: Princeton, NJ
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,260
- Student to faculty ratio: 5:1
- Acceptance rate: 6%
- Graduation rate: 97%
- Tuition: $47,140
- Six year median earnings: $74,700
- Two year employment rate: 87

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TDBurleigh // Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico: New Mexico Tech

- Location: Socorro, NM
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,294
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 22%
- Graduation rate: 47%
- In state tuition: $7,183
- Out of state tuition: $20,991
- Six year median earnings: $50,000
- Two year employment rate: 90

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United States Merchant Marine Academy // Wikimedia Commons

New York: United States Merchant Marine Academy

- Location: Kings Point, NY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 954
- Student to faculty ratio: 13:1
- Acceptance rate: 22%
- Graduation rate: 81%
- Tuition: $1,020
- Six year median earnings: $88,100
- Two year employment rate: 97

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Ildar Sagdejev // Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina: Duke University

- Location: Durham, NC
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,669
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 10%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Tuition: $53,744
- Six year median earnings: $84,400
- Two year employment rate: 94

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St. James Basilica in Jamestown, North Dakota—Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

North Dakota: University of Jamestown

- Location: Jamestown, ND
- Undergraduate enrollment: 871
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 65%
- Graduation rate: 53%
- Tuition: $20,578
- Six year median earnings: $43,800
- Two year employment rate: 95

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

Ohio: Case Western Reserve University

- Location: Cleveland, OH
- Undergraduate enrollment: 4,978
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 33%
- Graduation rate: 83%
- Tuition: $47,074
- Six year median earnings: $74,600
- Two year employment rate: 94

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Camerafiend // Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma: University of Tulsa

- Location: Tulsa, OK
- Undergraduate enrollment: 3,203
- Student to faculty ratio: 11:1
- Acceptance rate: 39%
- Graduation rate: 69%
- Tuition: $41,509
- Six year median earnings: $48,500
- Two year employment rate: 91

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Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

Oregon: University of Portland

- Location: Portland, OR
- Undergraduate enrollment: 3,792
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 70%
- Graduation rate: 82%
- Tuition: $44,026
- Six year median earnings: $58,800
- Two year employment rate: 96

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Teutonia25 // Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania

- Location: Philadelphia, PA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 10,496
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 9%
- Graduation rate: 96%
- Tuition: $53,534
- Six year median earnings: $85,900
- Two year employment rate: 91

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Dale182 // Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island: Brown University

- Location: Providence, RI
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,666
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 8%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Tuition: $53,419
- Six year median earnings: $67,500
- Two year employment rate: 91

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hager.angie // Wikimedia Commons

South Carolina: Clemson University

- Location: Clemson, SC
- Undergraduate enrollment: 18,642
- Student to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Acceptance rate: 47%
- Graduation rate: 82%
- In state tuition: $15,116
- Out of state tuition: $36,058
- Six year median earnings: $52,400
- Two year employment rate: 94

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PatrickRohe // flickr

South Dakota: South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

- Location: Rapid City, SD
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,997
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 83%
- Graduation rate: 51%
- In state tuition: $10,560
- Out of state tuition: $14,820
- Six year median earnings: $56,500
- Two year employment rate: 94

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Vortex895 // Wikimedia Commons

Tennessee: Vanderbilt University

- Location: Nashville, TN
- Undergraduate enrollment: 6,805
- Student to faculty ratio: 7:1
- Acceptance rate: 11%
- Graduation rate: 92%
- Tuition: $47,664
- Six year median earnings: $69,000
- Two year employment rate: 94

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

Texas: Rice University

- Location: Houston, TX
- Undergraduate enrollment: 3,916
- Student to faculty ratio: 6:1
- Acceptance rate: 16%
- Graduation rate: 91%
- Tuition: $45,608
- Six year median earnings: $65,400
- Two year employment rate: 92

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Jules Coswig // Wikimedia Commons

Utah: Brigham Young University

- Location: Provo, UT
- Undergraduate enrollment: 28,156
- Student to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Acceptance rate: 52%
- Graduation rate: 83%
- Tuition: $5,620
- Six year median earnings: $59,700
- Two year employment rate: 80

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Funuk // Wikimedia Commons

Vermont: Middlebury College

- Location: Middlebury, VT
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,528
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 17%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Tuition: $52,496
- Six year median earnings: $58,200
- Two year employment rate: 87

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

Virginia: Washington & Lee University

- Location: Lexington, VA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 1,823
- Student to faculty ratio: 8:1
- Acceptance rate: 22%
- Graduation rate: 92%
- Tuition: $67,150
- Six year median earnings: $76,100
- Two year employment rate: 94

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SCUMATT // Wikimedia Commons

Washington: Gonzaga University

- Location: Spokane, WA
- Undergraduate enrollment: 5,106
- Student to faculty ratio: 12:1
- Acceptance rate: 65%
- Graduation rate: 87%
- Tuition: $42,370
- Six year median earnings: $56,100
- Two year employment rate: 94

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Aparkswv // Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia: West Virginia University

- Location: Morgantown, WV
- Undergraduate enrollment: 20,712
- Student to faculty ratio: 20:1
- Acceptance rate: 72%
- Graduation rate: 57%
- In state tuition: $8,376
- Out of state tuition: $23,616
- Six year median earnings: $45,800
- Two year employment rate: 93

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Dori // Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin: Milwaukee School of Engineering

- Location: Milwaukee, WI
- Undergraduate enrollment: 2,508
- Student to faculty ratio: 16:1
- Acceptance rate: 63%
- Graduation rate: 67%
- Tuition: $39,039
- Six year median earnings: $71,300
- Two year employment rate: 97

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ProgWork1 // Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming: University of Wyoming

- Location: Laramie, WY
- Undergraduate enrollment: 8,281
- Student to faculty ratio: 15:1
- Acceptance rate: 97%
- Graduation rate: 58%
- In state tuition: $5,217
- Out of state tuition: $16,827
- Six year median earnings: $47,300
- Two year employment rate: 93%

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