Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Best public colleges in every state

  • Best public colleges in every state
    1/ Creative Commons // Wikimedia Commons

    Best public colleges in every state

    Public colleges and universities come with far less sticker shock than their private sector counterparts, but that isn't to say they offer a substandard education or even diminished cache. Recent coverage of the breaking college admission scandal has exposed the underhanded—and illegal—lengths some affluent parents will employ to ensure their child's admission not just to the Ivy League, but also top-tier public schools, including UCLA, Berkeley, and the University of Texas at Austin.

    Using the most recent data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education, as well as feedback from millions of current students and alumni, Niche ranked over 500 public colleges and universities based on academic programs, student life, affordability, and admission statistics. Stacker, extrapolating from Niche's findings, has compiled a list of the top public universities in every state.

    The vast majority of the schools that made the cut were created or repurposed as a result of the Morrill Land Grant Act, signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1862. The Morrill Act gifted 30,000 acres of public land to every state, with the caveat that it would be sold and the profits used to create and sustain agricultural and engineering colleges. Many of these new institutions had fewer than a dozen students and struggled to survive, in some instances battling the landscape as well as enrollment challenges. Today, a handful of land-grant schools continue to specialize in agriculture, science, and engineering, although most have grown exponentially over the years and currently offer programs in an array of disciplines, including business, medicine, law, and the humanities. With access to multi-million dollar budgets and state-of-the-art facilities, public universities are frequently at the forefront of some of the most innovative and life-changing research in science and technology.

    Click through the list to see which school took top honors in your home state, as well as which one took the number one spot on the 2019 list of America's Best Public Colleges.
     

    You might also like: Best private colleges in every state

     

  • Alabama: Auburn University
    2/ Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

    Alabama: Auburn University

    - Location: Auburn, AL
    - In-state tuition: $10,968
    - Out-of-state tuition: $29,640
    - Acceptance rate: 84%
    - Applicants: 18,072
    - SAT scores: 1130-1310
    - ACT scores: 24-30
    - Student faculty ratio: 19:1

    Famous for its football team as well as its southern charm, Auburn began life as East Alabama Male College in 1856. Just a few years later, students were forced to abandon their studies while the college waited out the Civil War. Women were admitted at the end of the 19th century, and in 1960 the school's name was officially changed to Auburn University. The first college in the U.S. to pioneer a wireless engineering program, Auburn's notable alumni include astronaut Kathryn Thornton—the second American woman to walk in space.

  • Alaska: University of Alaska Southeast
    3/ Gillfoto // Wikimedia Commons

    Alaska: University of Alaska Southeast

    - Location: Juneau, AK
    - In-state tuition: $6,828
    - Out-of-state tuition: $19,533
    - Acceptance rate: 71%
    - Applicants: 449
    - SAT scores: data not available
    - ACT scores: data not available
    - Student faculty ratio: 10:1

    The University of Alaska Southeast enjoys a spectacular setting along the Tongass National Forest and the Juneau Icefield—an ideal location for it's highly rated marine science program. With fewer than 650 students and enviably small classes, UAS delivers a first-class education with a small college vibe.

  • Arizona: Arizona State University
    4/ Kevin Dooley // Flickr

    Arizona: Arizona State University

    - Location: Tempe, AZ
    - In-state tuition: $10,552
    - Out-of-state tuition: $28,336
    - Acceptance rate: 84%
    - Applicants: 24,127
    - SAT scores: 1120-1350
    - ACT scores: 22-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 20:1

    As if plenty of sunshine and a campus with a decidedly southwestern flavor wasn't enough to recommend it, Arizona State University is also a top breeding ground for Fulbright scholars. In 2018 “U.S. News & World Report” recognized Arizona State as the nation's most innovative university, thanks in part to its prestigious NASA Space Grant Program, which enables student to participate in NASA-related research.

  • Arkansas: University of Arkansas
    5/ Brandonrush // Wikimedia Commons

    Arkansas: University of Arkansas

    - Location: Fayetteville, AR
    - In-state tuition: $9,062
    - Out-of-state tuition: $24,308
    - Acceptance rate: 66%
    - Applicants: 21,715
    - SAT scores: 1110-1280
    - ACT scores: 23-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    The University of Arkansas, nestled in the magnificent Ozark Mountains, is one of the leading research institutions in the United States. In the mid-1970s, newlyweds Bill and Hillary Clinton joined the school's law school faculty before launching their political careers. Sen. J. William Fulbright, a UA alumnus and former university president, sponsored a bill in 1945 that was to become the vaunted international exchange program bearing his name.

  • California: University of California - Los Angeles
    6/ Prayitno // Flickr

    California: University of California - Los Angeles

    - Location: Los Angeles, CA
    - In-state tuition: $13,261
    - Out-of-state tuition: $41,275
    - Acceptance rate: 16%
    - Applicants: 102,225
    - SAT scores: 1220-1450
    - ACT scores: 29-34
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, UCLA will celebrate its centennial this coming May. The upcoming anniversary has helped catapult the school to the #1 spot with respect to philanthropic funds raised by a public university during the 2017–18 fiscal year, bringing in a record breaking $786,650,878. UCLA boasts a star-studded roster of alumni including basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, actor James Franco, and director Francis Ford Coppola. The student films of '60s music legend Jim Morrison and fellow Doors band member Ray Manzarek are currently being restored by the university's Film and Television Archive.

  • Colorado: Colorado School of Mines
    7/ Chris Engelsma // Wikimedia Commons

    Colorado: Colorado School of Mines

    - Location: Golden, CO
    - In-state tuition: $18,386
    - Out-of-state tuition: $37,436
    - Acceptance rate: 56%
    - Applicants: 10,618
    - SAT scores: 1310-1450
    - ACT scores: 28-32
    - Student faculty ratio: 16:1

    The Colorado School of Mines is noted for its exceptional science and engineering programs as well as its proximity to a several major ski destinations. Graduates can take advantage of combined bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, and are in high demand by employers. Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranks Mines as one of it's top 100 educational values.

  • Connecticut: University of Connecticut
    8/ Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

    Connecticut: University of Connecticut

    - Location: Storrs, CT
    - In-state tuition: $14,880
    - Out-of-state tuition: $36,948
    - Acceptance rate: 48%
    - Applicants: 34,198
    - SAT scores: 1210-1390
    - ACT scores: 26-31
    - Student faculty ratio: 16:1

    In 1880, Charles and Augustus Storrs founded Storrs Agricultural College with a donation of 170 acres of farmland, a former orphanage, and $6,000 to the state of Connecticut. In 1933, the school awarded its first bachelor of arts degree and was christened the University of Connecticut in 1939. In addition to it's top-notch academics, UConn is also an athletic powerhouse, with both its men's and women's basketball teams winning numerous national titles. Notable alumni include musician Moby, actress Meg Ryan, ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo, and authors Wally Lamb and Ann Beattie.

  • Delaware: University of Delaware
    9/ Parkpay2000 // Wikimedia Commons

    Delaware: University of Delaware

    - Location: Newark, DE
    - In-state tuition: $13,160
    - Out-of-state tuition: $33,150
    - Acceptance rate: 63%
    - Applicants: 27,803
    - SAT scores: 1130-1330
    - ACT scores: 25-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 15:1

    Founded in 1743 as Newark College in New London, Penn., the school's first graduating class included some of its most illustrious alumni, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence. In 1765, the school relocated to its current home in Newark, Delaware, and became the University of Delaware in 1921, when it merged with a neighboring women's college. Today, over 4,500 students are actively engaged in research at the university's 75 research centers and institutes. UD counts former vice president and potential presidential candidate Joe Biden among its graduates.

  • Florida: University of Florida
    10/ Spohpatuf // Wikimedia Commons

    Florida: University of Florida

    - Location: Gainesville, FL
    - In-state tuition: $6,381
    - Out-of-state tuition: $28,659
    - Acceptance rate: 42%
    - Applicants: 32,747
    - SAT scores: 1240-1400
    - ACT scores: 28-32
    - Student faculty ratio: 19:1

    The University of Florida began life in the mid-19th century, with the merger of the Gainesville Academy and the East Florida Seminary. In 1928, UF pioneered an innovative athletic scholarship that continues to serve as the model for the NCAA. Currently, “U.S. New & World Report” ranks 29 University of Florida graduate programs—including law, engineering, and business—in the top 30 nationally within their disciplines. Notable alumni include NFL star Tim Tebow, Olympian Ryan Lochte, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

  • Georgia: Georgia Institute of Technology
    11/ Davidhermanns // Wikimedia Commons

    Georgia: Georgia Institute of Technology

    - Location: Atlanta, GA
    - In-state tuition: $12,418
    - Out-of-state tuition: $33,014
    - Acceptance rate: 23%
    - Applicants: 31,497
    - SAT scores: 1090-1520
    - ACT scores: 30-34
    - Student faculty ratio: 22:1

    Georgia Tech began life as a trade school in 1885, transforming into a full-fledged university in the following decades. In 1952, the school was officially christened the Georgia Institute of Technology with a focus on the sciences and engineering. Today, Georgia Tech offers 130 majors and minors in disciplines ranging from engineering and design to liberal arts. Georgia Tech ranks #6 on Niche's 2019 list. Graduates of Georgia Tech include President Jimmy Carter and comedian Jeff Foxworthy.

  • Hawaii: University of Hawaii at Manoa
    12/ Daniel Ramirez // Wikimedia Commons

    Hawaii: University of Hawaii at Manoa

    - Location: Honolulu, HI
    - In-state tuition: $11,754
    - Out-of-state tuition: $33,786
    - Acceptance rate: 83%
    - Applicants: 8,501
    - SAT scores: 1050-1240
    - ACT scores: 21-26
    - Student faculty ratio: 12:1

    The University of Hawaii, alma mater of both Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Bette Midler, was founded in 1907 to provide residents of the island paradise with access to educational opportunities in agriculture and engineering. In 1912, the campus relocated from Honolulu to the Manoa Valley, and underwent a period of rapid growth in the 1920s. One of the most ethnically diverse universities in the world, UH is highly regarded for its nationally ranked programs in oceanography, business, Pacific Islands and Asian area studies, and marine biology.

  • Idaho: University of Idaho
    13/ Davidlharlan // Wikimedia Commons

    Idaho: University of Idaho

    - Location: Moscow, ID
    - In-state tuition: $7,864
    - Out-of-state tuition: $25,500
    - Acceptance rate: 73%
    - Applicants: 7,087
    - SAT scores: 1010-1230
    - ACT scores: 20-26
    - Student faculty ratio: 14:1

    Created in 1888 as a public land grant institution, the University of Idaho currently offers 93 undergraduate degrees and has an annual research budget of over $100 million. High-profile graduates include former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Olympic gold medalist and former professional bicycle racer Kristin Armstrong.

  • Illinois: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    14/ Killivalavan Solai // Wikimedia Commons

    Illinois: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    - Location: Champaign, IL
    - In-state tuition: $15,074
    - Out-of-state tuition: $31,194
    - Acceptance rate: 62%
    - Applicants: 38,965
    - SAT scores: 1340-1500
    - ACT scores: 26-32
    - Student faculty ratio: 20:1

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, founded in 1867 as the Illinois Industrial University, offers over 5,000 courses and enrolls nearly 50,000 students hailing from every state in the union as well as 100 foreign countries. With over 450,000 living alumni, it's no surprise that the school claims a staggering number of celebrated graduates, including Temple Grandin, Hugh Hefner, Roger Ebert, Larry Ellison, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 11 Nobel laureates.

  • Indiana: Purdue University
    15/ Huw Williams // Wikimedia Commons

    Indiana: Purdue University

    - Location: West Lafayette, IN
    - In-state tuition: $9,992
    - Out-of-state tuition: $28,794
    - Acceptance rate: 57%
    - Applicants: 49,354
    - SAT scores: 1150-1380
    - ACT scores: 25-31
    - Student faculty ratio: 13:1

    Purdue first opened its doors in 1974 with just 39 students. In 1881, university students received the nickname “Boilermakers” when the school was accused of plucking its athletes from local steam engine operations. The alma mater of Hoover Dam engineer Elwood Mead, Purdue has also given America popcorn king Orville Redenbacher, Stove Top Stuffing creator Ruth Siems, and inventor of the soft-serve ice cream machine Frank Thomas Jr.

  • Iowa: University of Iowa
    16/ Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

    Iowa: University of Iowa

    - Location: Iowa City, IA
    - In-state tuition: $9,492
    - Out-of-state tuition: $31,458
    - Acceptance rate: 86%
    - Applicants: 27,734
    - SAT scores: 1140-1370
    - ACT scores: 23-28
    - Student faculty ratio: 16:1

    The University of Iowa was founded in 1847, less than three months after Iowa received statehood. The first public university to admit both men and women of all races, UI was also the first university to offer a master of fine arts degree. Thanks to the internationally renowned Iowa Writers Workshop, the alumni roster reads like a Who's Who of American literature, boasting the meteoric talents of Flannery O'Connor, John Berryman, Carolyn Kizer, Philip Levine, and Robert Lowell.

  • Kansas: University of Kansas
    17/ Gen. Quon // Wikimedia Commons

    Kansas: University of Kansas

    - Location: Lawrence, KS
    - In-state tuition: $10,824
    - Out-of-state tuition: $26,592
    - Acceptance rate: 93%
    - Applicants: 14,538
    - SAT scores: data not available
    - ACT scores: 23-28
    - Student faculty ratio: 17:1

    The University of Kansas opened its doors in 1866, with an incoming class of 55 students. Today, KU offers over 400 different degrees and certificates to a student body of over 28,000, and is home to over 60 interdisciplinary research centers, including the Biodiversity Institute and the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis. Alumni of note include actor Paul Rudd and basketball titan Wilt Chamberlain.

  • Kentucky: University of Kentucky
    18/ Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

    Kentucky: University of Kentucky

    - Location: Lexington, KY
    - In-state tuition: $11,942
    - Out-of-state tuition: $28,046
    - Acceptance rate: 96%
    - Applicants: 18,925
    - SAT scores: 1080-1330
    - ACT scores: 22-28
    - Student faculty ratio: 17:1

    The University of Kentucky evolved from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky University, founded in 1865. In addition to the liberal arts college, the Lexington campus also houses the engineering, business, agriculture, and medical colleges. The Kentucky Wildcats compete in a number of sports at the national level. High profile graduates include Sen. Mitch McConnell as well as actress and activist Ashley Judd.

  • Louisiana: Louisiana State University
    19/ Christopherlin // Wikimedia Commons

    Louisiana: Louisiana State University

    - Location: Baton Rouge, LA
    - In-state tuition: $11,374
    - Out-of-state tuition: $28,051
    - Acceptance rate: 74%
    - Applicants: 17,907
    - SAT scores: 1060-1290
    - ACT scores: 23-28
    - Student faculty ratio: 20:1

    Founded in 1860, Louisiana State University's flagship Baton Rouge campus is crowned by a 14-acre arboretum, and therefore it comes as no surprise that LSU's Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture consistently ranks as one of the top programs of its kind. Thanks to a generous endowment, 66% of LSU students graduate debt free. LSU is the alma mater of basketball's Shaquille O'Neal, fitness guru Richard Simmons, and singer-songwriter Frank Ocean.

  • Maine: Maine Maritime Academy
    20/ Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

    Maine: Maine Maritime Academy

    - Location: Castine, ME
    - In-state tuition: $13,278
    - Out-of-state tuition: $26,628
    - Acceptance rate: 80%
    - Applicants: 760
    - SAT scores: 990-1180
    - ACT scores: 18-24
    - Student faculty ratio: 13:1

    The Maine Maritime Academy has an enrollment of just 950 students and a curriculum limited to engineering, management, science, and transportation. Students receive comprehensive, first-hand instruction aboard dedicated training ships. Highly regarded within the maritime industry, 90% of MMA graduates receive offers of employment within three months of graduation.

  • Maryland: University of Maryland - College Park
    21/ Bgervais // Wikimedia Commons

    Maryland: University of Maryland - College Park

    - Location: College Park, MD
    - In-state tuition: $10,399
    - Out-of-state tuition: $33,606
    - Acceptance rate: 45%
    - Applicants: 33,922
    - SAT scores: 1280-1470
    - ACT scores: 29-33
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    The University of Maryland at College Park is one of the country's leading public research institutions, and boasts three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 60 members of national academies, and dozens of Fulbright scholars among its graduates. Originally the Maryland Agricultural College founded in 1856, much of the original campus was destroyed by a fire in 1912. Notable alumni include funny man Larry David, puppeteer Jim Henson, and Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein.

  • Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts - Amherst
    22/ Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism // Flickr

    Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts - Amherst

    - Location: Amherst, MA
    - In-state tuition: $15,888
    - Out-of-state tuition: $34,570
    - Acceptance rate: 58%
    - Applicants: 42,043
    - SAT scores: 1180-1360
    - ACT scores: 26-31
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    Situated in the bucolic Pioneer Valley, the University of Massachusetts - Amherst is New England's largest public research university. Founded in 1863, UMass is part of the Five College Consortium, which includes reciprocal academic and social relationships with neighboring institutions Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire Colleges. Over the past decade, UMass has skyrocketed up the U.S. News and World Report rankings, currently occupying the #26 spot for public universities. Famous alums include singer Natalie Cole, actor Richard Gere, and basketball legend Julius Erving.

  • Michigan: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
    23/ GoodFreePhotos

    Michigan: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

    - Location: Ann Arbor, MI
    - In-state tuition: $14,826
    - Out-of-state tuition: $47,476
    - Acceptance rate: 27%
    - Applicants: 59,886
    - SAT scores: 1330-1500
    - ACT scores: 30-33
    - Student faculty ratio: 11:1

    The University of Michigan occupies the coveted #1 spot on Niche's 2019 list of top public universities. Founded in Detroit in 1817 as the Catholepistemiad or University of Michigania, the university ditched the tongue-twister of a name a few years later and relocated to Ann Arbor in 1837. In addition to its impressive undergraduate program, the University of Michigan is also home to a number of renowned graduate programs in law and medicine, as well as the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Notable alumni include celebrity chef Sara Moulton, poet Theodore Roethke, and rock legend Iggy Pop.

  • Minnesota: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
    24/ Michael Hicks // Flickr

    Minnesota: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

    - Location: Minneapolis, MN
    - In-state tuition: $14,488
    - Out-of-state tuition: $26,674
    - Acceptance rate: 50%
    - Applicants: 43,720
    - SAT scores: 1270-1480
    - ACT scores: 26-31
    - Student faculty ratio: 17:1

    One of the largest public research institutions in the country, The University of Minnesota began life as a prep school in 1851—seven years before the Minnesota territory achieved statehood. In addition to top programs in nursing, psychology, and health care, UM is also home to the Venture Center, which has launched over 100 startups monetizing university research. In addition to former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, UM is also the alma mater of '60s music icon Bob Dylan and comedian Maria Bamford.

  • Mississippi: Mississippi State University
    25/ Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

    Mississippi: Mississippi State University

    - Location: Mississippi State, MS
    - In-state tuition: $8,318
    - Out-of-state tuition: $22,358
    - Acceptance rate: 62%
    - Applicants: 13,973
    - SAT scores: 960-1260
    - ACT scores: 21-28
    - Student faculty ratio: 20:1

    Established in 1878, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi, admitted its first class in 1880. Although the college officially changed its name to Mississippi State University in 1958, the College of Agriculture continues to offer some of MSU's most highly regarded programs. Novelist John Grisham and Sen. Marsha Blackburn are both graduates of MSU.

  • Missouri: University of Missouri
    26/ Emily Kebert // Wikimedia Commons

    Missouri: University of Missouri

    - Location: Columbia, MO
    - In-state tuition: $9,787
    - Out-of-state tuition: $26,506
    - Acceptance rate: 78%
    - Applicants: 16,367
    - SAT scores: 1120-1350
    - ACT scores: 23-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    The University of Missouri, the first public university west of the Mississippi, was founded in 1839. Affectionately known as Mizzou, the school currently enrolls over 30,000 students and the 1,262 acre campus—with over 42,000 plants and trees—is a botanist's dream. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences remains one of the university's driving forces. Mizzou counts playwright Tennessee Williams, actor Jon Hamm, and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine among its many notable alumni.

  • Montana: Montana Technological University
    27/ Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

    Montana: Montana Technological University

    - Location: Butte, MT
    - In-state tuition: $7,125
    - Out-of-state tuition: $21,956
    - Acceptance rate: 92%
    - Applicants: 630
    - SAT scores: 1120-1300
    - ACT scores: 22-27
    - Student faculty ratio: 14:1

    Montana Technical University opened in 1900 as the Montana School of Mines. Like many western states rich in natural resources, a bountiful supply of scientists and engineers was critical for Montana's emerging economy. The Enabling Act of 1889 earmarked 100,000 acres of land for the school while simultaneously granting Montana statehood. Today, Montana Tech offers degrees in science, technology, engineering, math, and health care and is one of just two schools nationally that offers a bachelor of science in geophysical engineering.

  • Nebraska: University of Nebraska - Lincoln
    28/ Hanyou23 // Wikimedia Commons

    Nebraska: University of Nebraska - Lincoln

    - Location: Lincoln, NE
    - In-state tuition: $8,978
    - Out-of-state tuition: $24,098
    - Acceptance rate: 64%
    - Applicants: 14,947
    - SAT scores: 1100-1380
    - ACT scores: 22-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 21:1

    The University of Nebraska is a lesson in resilience and determination. Chartered in 1869, early efforts to construct a sparkling new campus were met with unforeseen challenges. Hundreds of newly planted trees withered on the prairie, and flower beds were devoured by swarms of locusts. By the end of the 19th century, however, UN had risen from the ashes, completing construction on an impressive new Franco-Italian-style campus. Today, UN is a proud member of the Big Ten athletic and academic conference and boasts some of the most impressive doctoral programs in the country. Since its earliest days, UN has advocated for inclusivity, welcoming students of any “age, sex, color, or nationality.” Philanthropist Warren Buffett, late-night TV host Johnny Carson, and novelist Willa Cather are just a few of UN's accomplished alumni.

  • Nevada: University of Nevada - Reno
    29/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    Nevada: University of Nevada - Reno

    - Location: Reno, NV
    - In-state tuition: $7,599
    - Out-of-state tuition: $21,788
    - Acceptance rate: 88%
    - Applicants: 9,721
    - SAT scores: 1070-1260
    - ACT scores: 21-26
    - Student faculty ratio: 20:1

    When the University of Nevada opened in 1874, enrollment was drawn from fewer than seven high schools in the entire state. Today, UN offers 460 undergraduate and graduate degrees to more than 20,000 students annually. Recognized as one of the country's top research institutions by the Carnegie Foundation, UN counts football player Colin Kaepernick and Gov. Brian Sandoval among its graduates.

  • New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire
    30/ Millyard800 // Wikimedia Commons

    New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire

    - Location: Durham, NH
    - In-state tuition: $18,067
    - Out-of-state tuition: $32,637
    - Acceptance rate: 77%
    - Applicants: 19,966
    - SAT scores: 1070-1260
    - ACT scores: 23-28
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    Located just a stone's throw from the New Hampshire seacoast and less than an hour from Boston, the University of New Hampshire draws students from all 50 states and over 70 foreign countries. One of the greenest universities in the nation, UNH's Durham campus is powered entirely by renewable energy. Both the plasma physics and ecology programs rank among the nation's finest. High profile alumni include astronaut Richard Linnehan, novelist John Irving, and former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch.

  • New Jersey: Rutgers University - New Brunswick
    31/ Tomwsulcer // Wikimedia Commons

    New Jersey: Rutgers University - New Brunswick

    - Location: Piscataway, NJ
    - In-state tuition: $14,638
    - Out-of-state tuition: $30,579
    - Acceptance rate: 58%
    - Applicants: 38,384
    - SAT scores: 1190-1400
    - ACT scores: data not available
    - Student faculty ratio: 15:1

    Rutgers, New Jersey's flagship public university, is one of the oldest in the nation and one of just nine colleges founded prior the American Revolution. A private school until the mid-20th century, Rutgers educates more than 7,000 students annually and is home to the county's most highly ranked African-American and women's history programs. Notable alumni include actor and activist Paul Robeson, economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, and novelist Philip Roth.

  • New Mexico: New Mexico Tech
    32/ TDBurleigh // Wikimedia Commons

    New Mexico: New Mexico Tech

    - Location: Socorro, NM
    - In-state tuition: $7,183
    - Out-of-state tuition: $20,991
    - Acceptance rate: 22%
    - Applicants: 1,513
    - SAT scores: 1190-1390
    - ACT scores: 23-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 11:1

    New Mexico Tech was founded in 1889 as the New Mexico School of Mines, in an effort to meet the state's burgeoning economic needs. The first entering class consisted of seven students, who could choose between only two courses of study—chemistry and metallurgy. Today, students can concentrate on engineering, science, and business studies, but can also broaden their horizons with offerings from the non-degree granting fine arts department.

  • New York: United States Military Academy at West Point
    33/ Ad Meskens // Wikimedia Commons

    New York: United States Military Academy at West Point

    - Location: West Point, NY
    - In-state tuition: $0
    - Out-of-state tuition: $0
    - Acceptance rate: 10%
    - Applicants: 12,973
    - SAT scores: 1180-1400
    - ACT scores: 23-28
    - Student faculty ratio: 7:1

    Few have what it takes to make it at the United States Military Academy, more commonly referred to as West Point. Coming in at #4 on Niche's list, West Point enjoys a spectacular setting in New York State's scenic Hudson Valley, and has produced outstanding military leaders since its inception in 1802. Applicants must have a congressional nomination to apply, and accepted students can choose form 35 different majors, including kinesiology, nuclear engineering, computer science, and philosophy. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur are just a small sampling of West Point's illustrious graduates.

  • North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    34/ GoodFreePhotos

    North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    - Location: Chapel Hill, NC
    - In-state tuition: $9,005
    - Out-of-state tuition: $34,588
    - Acceptance rate: 24%
    - Applicants: 39,650
    - SAT scores: 1270-1460
    - ACT scores: 28-33
    - Student faculty ratio: 13:1

    Sometimes referred to as a “public ivy,” the University of Chapel Hill occupies the #7 spot on Niche's list ranking the top public universities in America. UNC Chapel Hill welcomed its first incoming class in 1795 and is the country's first public university. Affectionately known as “tar heels,” the school's nickname was first levied in the 19th century when North Carolina was a major producer of tar supplied to the naval industry. Alumni of note include soccer star Mia Hamm, counterculture poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and NBA legend Michael Jordan.

  • North Dakota: North Dakota State University
    35/ Brianna.glaus // Wikimedia Commons

    North Dakota: North Dakota State University

    - Location: Fargo, ND
    - In-state tuition: $8,666
    - Out-of-state tuition: $20,692
    - Acceptance rate: 92%
    - Applicants: 6,424
    - SAT scores: 1060-1330
    - ACT scores: 21-26
    - Student faculty ratio: 20:1

    Yet another land grant college created by the Morrill Act, North Dakota State started out as the North Dakota Agricultural College in 1890. In 1960, the school changed its name to North Dakota State University. Agricultural science remains a top rated department, along with more recent programs such as architecture and accounting. Notable alumni include freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar, former Miss World Audra Mari, and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

  • Ohio: The Ohio State University
    36/ Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

    Ohio: The Ohio State University

    - Location: Columbus, OH
    - In-state tuition: $10,592
    - Out-of-state tuition: $29,696
    - Acceptance rate: 48%
    - Applicants: 47,782
    - SAT scores: 1260-1450
    - ACT scores: 27-31
    - Student faculty ratio: 19:1

    One of the top colleges for agricultural sciences in the U.S., Ohio State first opened its doors in 1873 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College and currently graduates one of the largest crops of Fulbright scholars and Peace Corp volunteers in the country. The school has produced scores of illustrious graduates, including artist Roy Lichtenstein, Heisman trophy winners Eddie George and Archie Griffin, golfer Jack Nicklaus, Olympian Jesse Owens, as well as writer and New Yorker cartoonist James Thurber.

  • Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma
    37/ MARELBU // Wikimedia Commons

    Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma

    - Location: Norman, OK
    - In-state tuition: $11,538
    - Out-of-state tuition: $26,919
    - Acceptance rate: 74%
    - Applicants: 15,579
    - SAT scores: 1150-1380
    - ACT scores: 23-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    Erecting a top public research university on the Oklahoma plains wasn't an easy, but determined Sooners made it a reality. The leafy campus is the gift of the university's first president, David Ross Boyd, who ordered the planting of over 1,000 trees. Notable graduates of OU include actress Olivia Munn and astronaut Shannon Lucid.

  • Oregon: University of Oregon
    38/ Another Believer // Wikimedia Commons

    Oregon: University of Oregon

    - Location: Eugene, OR
    - In-state tuition: $11,571
    - Out-of-state tuition: $34,611
    - Acceptance rate: 83%
    - Applicants: 20,317
    - SAT scores: 1080-1270
    - ACT scores: 22-28
    - Student faculty ratio: 17:1

    Located within easy driving distance of both the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade mountains, the University of Oregon is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Founded in 1859 at the insistence of the United States government, local farmers banded together to raise the $27,000 needed to acquire land for the university's campus. Identified by Niche as one of the country's most liberal colleges, the University of Oregon is also home to one of the most highly regarded law schools in the Pacific Northwest. Sportscaster Ahmad Rashād, journalist Ann Curry, and novelist Ken Kesey are just a few of the University's more notable graduates.

  • Pennsylvania: Penn State University
    39/ George Chriss // Wikimedia Commons

    Pennsylvania: Penn State University

    - Location: University Park, PA
    - In-state tuition: $18,436
    - Out-of-state tuition: $33,664
    - Acceptance rate: 50%
    - Applicants: 56,114
    - SAT scores: 1160-1340
    - ACT scores: 25-30
    - Student faculty ratio: 16:1

    Penn State is highly regarded for both its stellar academics as well as its impressive football program. With approximately 46,000 undergraduates, Penn State claims the largest alumni network in the nation, which includes comedian Keegan-Michael Key, television presenter Lara Spencer, and Guion Bluford—the first black American in space. Just one of two universities in the country that can boast land, sea, sun, and space grants, Penn State spends over $900 million dollars annually on research.

  • Rhode Island: University of Rhode Island
    40/ Kenneth C. Zirkel // Wikimedia Commons

    Rhode Island: University of Rhode Island

    - Location: Kingston, RI
    - In-state tuition: $13,792
    - Out-of-state tuition: $30,042
    - Acceptance rate: 70%
    - Applicants: 21,909
    - SAT scores: 1050-1230
    - ACT scores: 22-27
    - Student faculty ratio: 17:1

    The University of Rhode Island was established on the 140-acre Watson farm, purchased by the state in 1888. The original 1796 farmhouse still stands and is the oldest building on campus. Originally an agricultural experiment station, students can now choose from over 80 undergraduate majors. The University is also the first school in the U.S. to offer an M.S. and Ph.D. in ocean engineering. URI is the alma mater of international journalist Christiane Amanpour.

  • South Carolina: Clemson University
    41/ Pixabay

    South Carolina: Clemson University

    - Location: Clemson, SC
    - In-state tuition: $15,116
    - Out-of-state tuition: $36,058
    - Acceptance rate: 47%
    - Applicants: 26,242
    - SAT scores: 1220-1390
    - ACT scores: 27-31
    - Student faculty ratio: 16:1

    Clemson, located in the foothills of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, was founded in 1889 with the hope of repairing the economic damage suffered by the south as a consequence of the Civil War. Originally a whites-only military institution, Clemson transitioned to co-education as a public university in 1955, and admitted its first black student almost a decade later. With a focus on science and engineering, Clemson is a leader in innovative research in cyberinfrastructure, health, and the environment. Graduates of note include former Sen. Strom Thurmond, politician Nikki Haley, and TV journalist Nancy O'Dell.

  • South Dakota: South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
    42/ PatrickRohe // Flickr

    South Dakota: South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

    - Location: Rapid City, SD
    - In-state tuition: $10,560
    - Out-of-state tuition: $14,820
    - Acceptance rate: 83%
    - Applicants: 1,445
    - SAT scores: 1150-1350
    - ACT scores: 24-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 15:1

    The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology welcomed its first entering class in 1887—two years before South Dakota was awarded statehood. Students at SD Mines major in engineering or science, but are also required to fulfill a core curriculum which includes the arts, humanities, and social sciences. College Factual currently rates SD Mines as the best value engineering program in the country.

  • Tennessee: University of Tennessee
    43/ Nightryder84 // Wikimedia Commons

    Tennessee: University of Tennessee

    - Location: Knoxville, TN
    - In-state tuition: $12,970
    - Out-of-state tuition: $31,390
    - Acceptance rate: 77%
    - Applicants: 18,872
    - SAT scores: 1140-1310
    - ACT scores: 24-30
    - Student faculty ratio: 17:1

    Founded as Blount College in 1794, the school went through several name changes before settling on the University of Tennessee in 1879. Both the graduate program in nuclear engineering and the business school are highly rated by U.S. News & World Report. Notable graduates include football phenomenon Peyton Manning and actress Dixie Carter.

  • Texas: University of Texas - Austin
    44/ Utexas // Wikimedia Commons

    Texas: University of Texas - Austin

    - Location: Austin, TX
    - In-state tuition: $10,398
    - Out-of-state tuition: $36,744
    - Acceptance rate: 36%
    - Applicants: 51,033
    - SAT scores: 1220-1460
    - ACT scores: 26-33
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    The University of Texas at Austin, founded in 1883, breaks the top 10 on Niche's 2019 list of top public colleges. Steeped in tradition, UT nevertheless maintains a sense of quirky individualism. Nothing brings out the Longhorn school spirit like football, where both current students and alumni can be found donning the school's distinctive shade of burnt orange and flashing the famous “hook ‘em horns” hand signal. UT can claim many distinguished alumni, including physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, actor Matthew McConaughey, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, as well as actresses Renee Zellweger and Farrah Fawcett.

  • Utah: University of Utah
    45/ MrSchmidt // Wikimedia Commons

    Utah: University of Utah

    - Location: Salt Lake City, UT
    - In-state tuition: $8,884
    - Out-of-state tuition: $28,127
    - Acceptance rate: 66%
    - Applicants: 22,400
    - SAT scores: 1110-1350
    - ACT scores: 22-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 16:1

    Given the University of Utah's proximity to some of the best skiing in the world, it's no surprise that the Utes captured the 2019 NCAA ski championship title. The school gets top marks for it's dance, game design, architecture, and social work programs. The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is an invaluable resource for enterprising student-and-faculty-backed startups. Notable graduates include Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, and current ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr.

  • Vermont: University of Vermont
    46/ Pixabay

    Vermont: University of Vermont

    - Location: Burlington, VT
    - In-state tuition: $15,936
    - Out-of-state tuition: $39,120
    - Acceptance rate: 67%
    - Applicants: 21,991
    - SAT scores: 1180-1350
    - ACT scores: 25-30
    - Student faculty ratio: 16:1

    Situated on the banks of pristine Lake Champlain, the University of Vermont was chartered in 1781—the same year that Vermont became the 14th state. Known as the University of the Green Mountains, UVM started out as a private university and didn't become a public institution until after the passage of the Morrill Act in 1862. The Princeton Review has designated UVM's Sustainable Innovation MBA program as the “best green MBA” program in the country. Burlington is a bustling college town less than an hour away from some of the East Coast's best ski resorts. Actor Ben Affleck and writer Annie Proulx are both graduates of UVM.

  • Virginia: University of Virginia
    47/ Ben Lunsford // Wikimedia Commons

    Virginia: University of Virginia

    - Location: Charlottesville, VA
    - In-state tuition: $16,853
    - Out-of-state tuition: $47,273
    - Acceptance rate: 27%
    - Applicants: 36,779
    - SAT scores: 1310-1500
    - ACT scores: 29-33
    - Student faculty ratio: 15:1

    The brainchild of Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia was founded in 1819 as a “academical village,” centered around a central green leading to the iconic domed neoclassical library. The stunning Charlottesville campus is both a National Historical Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage site. UVA is one of the most highly regarded academic institutions—public or private—in the country and is the alma mater of a number of illustrious alumni including Robert F. Kennedy, Tina Fey, Katie Couric, and Edgar Allan Poe. UVA rings in at #2 on Niche's 2019 list of top public colleges.

  • Washington: University of Washington
    48/ GoodFreePhotos

    Washington: University of Washington

    - Location: Seattle, WA
    - In-state tuition: $11,207
    - Out-of-state tuition: $36,587
    - Acceptance rate: 46%
    - Applicants: 44,877
    - SAT scores: 1190-1420
    - ACT scores: 27-32
    - Student faculty ratio: 19:1

    The University of Washington's earliest incarnation was as the Territorial University of Washington, which first opened its doors to students in 1861. Today, the school educates more that 54,000 students annually and boasts a highly regarded English department and one of the top oceanography programs in the world. Notable graduates include actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, sculptor and glassblower Dale Chihuly, and saxophonist Kenny G.

  • West Virginia: West Virginia University
    49/ Paula Cristina // Flickr

    West Virginia: West Virginia University

    - Location: Morgantown, WV
    - In-state tuition: $8,376
    - Out-of-state tuition: $23,616
    - Acceptance rate: 72%
    - Applicants: 20,594
    - SAT scores: 1020-1210
    - ACT scores: 21-27
    - Student faculty ratio: 20:1

    Students at the University of West Virginia—a land-grant school founded in 1867—work hard and party harder. Ranked by Niche as the #3 party school in the country, WVU offers more than 360 majors through the 14 colleges and schools located on the Morgantown campus. Actress Cheryl Hines and Sen. Joe Manchin are both graduates of WVU.

  • Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin
    50/ James Steakley // Wikimedia Commons

    Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin

    - Location: Madison, WI
    - In-state tuition: $10,533
    - Out-of-state tuition: $34,783
    - Acceptance rate: 54%
    - Applicants: 35,596
    - SAT scores: 1280-1450
    - ACT scores: 27-31
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    The University of Wisconsin at Madison, founded in 1848, is one of the most highly regarded public institutions in the country, coming in at #11 on Niche's 2019 list of top public universities. A leader in innovative research, UW-M launched the first national stem cell bank in 2005 and first master's program in energy conservation in 2014. In addition to more than a dozen Nobel laureates, UW-Madison counts aviator Charles Lindbergh, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and novelist Joyce Carol Oates among their many illustrious alumni.

  • Wyoming: University of Wyoming
    51/ Thecoldmidwest // Wikimedia Commons

    Wyoming: University of Wyoming

    - Location: Laramie, WY
    - In-state tuition: $5,217
    - Out-of-state tuition: $16,827
    - Acceptance rate: 97%
    - Applicants: 4,306
    - SAT scores: 1040-1290
    - ACT scores: 22-27
    - Student faculty ratio: 15:1

    A co-educational institution since its inception, the University of Wyoming opened its doors in 1886 to 42 students, offering classes in the arts, humanities, and education. As a land-grant university, agriculture and engineering were soon added to the curriculum. Today, the university educates approximately 14,000 students each year, offering 45 majors in more than 20 academic departments. The University of Wyoming is the alma mater of former Vice President Dick Cheney, physicist Marlan Scully, and sportscaster Curt Gowdy.

2018 All rights reserved.