In a fierce global economy, a college degree can help secure employment and keep you ahead of the competition. And though success ultimately rests on students’ own determination and performance, the quality of the schools they choose can certainly have an impact. However, attending higher education requires more than just the grades to get in. You’ll also need the financial resources to attend. On average, tuition and room and board at a four-year college costs around $23,000 – $52,000 per year. It varies depending on the school’s public or private status and whether it’s in-state. For those prices, students want to know they are getting a good deal.
To determine the top-performing schools at the lowest possible costs to undergraduates, WalletHub compared more than 900 higher-education institutions in the U.S. across 30 key measures. The data set is grouped into seven categories, such as Student Selectivity, Cost & Financing and Career Outcomes. The metrics range from student-faculty ratio to graduation rate to post-attendance median salary.
Recognizing the challenge of predicting future outcomes, WalletHub’s Best Colleges ranking also analyzes post-attendance metrics — the student-loan default rate and the share of former students outearning high school graduates, for instance — to show the value of the education students can expect to receive beyond their undergraduate studies.
Separate rankings for colleges and for universities also are available on WalletHub.