As you look for the right college or university, cost is an important factor. In contrast to private colleges, public institutions provide a price discount for state residents. This cost differential honors the commitment that states have made to supplement the cost of higher education with state tax dollars. Consider the program that most interests you and the opportunities to pursue this discipline at a public institution. The reward is an excellent education at an affordable price.
Here are 20 colleges you might want to consider applying to this year. To read more about our rankings and methodology, visit our study Medium-Sized Colleges With Biggest In-State Discount.
1. University of Virginia, Main Campus
Serving as the flagship post-secondary institution of Virginia, the University of Virginia, Main Campus is located in Charlottesville. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia has more than 24,000 students enrolled in the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2018, the cost of attending this public institution is $34,432 for new entering first year students that are residents of Virginia. Non-residents pay almost double the price at $65,218 per year. Incoming Cavaliers that live in Virginia must fill out a form and provide documents like a motor vehicle registration or income tax statement to prove residency.
2. University of California, Riverside
More than 23,000 students attend the University of California, Riverside. This comprehensive research institution is located in Southern California and boasts more than 80 undergraduate degree options. This campus has a generous footprint of 1, 900 acres and is known for innovative strategies in biological pest control for citrus crops. Operating on a three quarter per year system, the cost of tuition for California residents is $15,602 in 2018. Non-residents must pay $44,590 per year for full-time enrollment. Student residents need a statement of legal residence demonstrating that they have lived in California for one year or more.
3. University of California, Santa Cruz
Located in the hills above Monterey Bay, the University of California, Santa Cruz was founded in 1965. Just 650 students enrolled during the first year and now the institution is home to more than 18,000. Students have their choice of 65 majors and 41 graduate programs at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The University tried to change the mascot from the banana slug to the sea lion, but the students held firm in their love for the slug. In-state tuition for California residents is $13,962 per year, while out-of-state students pay $28,992.
4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
One of the oldest institutions in the country, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only University that conferred degrees in the 18th century. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was founded in 1789 and began classes in 1795. More than 29,000 attend the university today. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers 70 undergraduate majors. This 729 acre campus is home to the second largest research institution in North Carolina. In 2018, tuition for North Carolina residents is $8,910 per year. Non-residents pay almost triple this amount, $34,938.
5. University of Vermont
A picturesque campus, the University of Vermont is located in Burlington, Vermont next to Lake Champlain. More than 10,000 undergraduate students attend the fifth oldest post-secondary institution in New England. The University of Vermont was founded in 1791 and is represented by the green and gold Catamount. Hands-on experience is an integral part of academic programs at the University of Vermont. Ninety-two percent of seniors are involved in experiential learning like an internship, practicum or research project. In 2018, the cost of attendance for Vermont residents is $9,138. Non-residents pay $21,258 for tuition and fees.
6. University of Oregon
The University of Oregon has more than 24,000 students that have the opportunity to pursue 77 different academic majors. Fifty-one percent of the student population is from Oregon. The institution is the only university that has Donald Duck as their mascot. Located in Eugene, Oregon, the University of Oregon was founded in 1876 as the flagship institution of the state. The University of Oregon has more than 300 academic fields of study available to students. Oregon residents paid $11,571 for the 2017 to 2018 school year. Non-residents were charged $34,611 for the same time period.
7. George Mason University
Named after one of the nation’s founding fathers, George Mason University has three individual campuses in Fairfax and Prince William Counties, Virginia and Songdo, Korea. More than 65 undergraduate majors offer students the opportunity to study education, engineering, government, health and well-being, business, social and human behavior and language and culture. The institution is also home to a prominent law school. In-state tuition for Virginia residents is $377.50 per credit hour. Out of state tuition for non-residents is $1,355.00 per credit hour.
8. University of Connecticut
Commonly referred to as UConn, the University of Connecticut is in Storrs, Connecticut. The school began in 1881 as an agricultural school, and now the institution has four regional campuses. This public research institution is one of the few in the country that is designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant university. Thirty thousand students are proud fans of the UConn Huskies. The estimated cost of attendance for residents of Connecticut is $12,848 in 2018. Non-residents must pay $35,216 for the same time period.
9. University of Hawaii at Manoa
Located in the beautiful Manoa Valley on the island of O’ahu, the University of Hawaii at Manoa was founded in 1907. The first of the 10 University of Hawaii campuses to open, it is designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution. This research institution has a strong emphasis on tropical agriculture, tropical medicine, astronomy, Hawaiian studies, Pacific Islands studies and volcanology. More than 17,500 students study on this 320 acre campus. Two-thirds of the student population are Hawaiian residents. In-state tuition is $11,088 for the 2018-19 academic year. Non-residents are charged $33,120 for the same time period.
10. Clemson University
Clemson University opened its doors in 1893 and welcomed 446 students in their inaugural class. Located in Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson now has 18,599 students pursuing more than 80 different academic majors. The Clemson campus encompasses 1,400 acres and an additional 17,500 acre forest that serves as a research and educational laboratory. South Carolina residents paid $15,116 for undergraduate tuition during the 2017-18 academic year. Non-residents were charged $36,058 for undergraduate tuition.
11. Georgia Institute of Technology, Main Campus
More than 25,000 students attend Georgia Institute of Technology, Main Campus, located in Atlanta, Georgia. A public research institution founded in 1885, women were admitted to Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952 and African American students began attending, without a court order, in 1961. The institution began with a single degree in mechanical engineering and now has 31 different academic departments. Georgia residents paid $10,008 for the 2018 to 2019 academic year and non-residents were charged $30,604 for the same time period.
12. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
An Urban public research institution, Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis is a city-based campus with a 534 acre footprint. More than 29,000 students attend the institution and have the opportunity to pursue 350 different academic majors and programs. Resident tuition for IUPUI was $9,464, in 2018, compared to $29,820 for non-residents. If you are a resident of Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin or Ohio, you can take advantage of the Midwest Student Exchange Program to reduce the expense of out-of-state tuition costs by more than $15,000.
13. University of Delaware
The University of Delaware was established in 1743. Among the oldest post-secondary institutions in the U.S., this public research university have satellite campuses in Dover, Wilmington, Lewes and Georgetown. The main campus is in Newark. The University of Delaware sits on 2,012 acres and is home to the first research center focused on the study of disasters in the United States. Residents of Delaware paid $12,250 for a full year of tuition in 2018 and non-residents paid a total of $32,880.
14. Miami University
Miami University is a public institution with a large campus encompassing 2,138 acres. Located in Ohio, just 35 miles from Cincinnati, Miami University has a liberal arts education emphasis. The institution has 17,147 undergraduate students and 2,305 graduate students enrolled. Founded in 1809, Miami University-Oxford is named after the Native American Tribe called the Miami Tribe. Together, the institution and the tribe share land and a dedication to promote higher education. Residents of Ohio paid $11,673 for a full year of tuition in 2018 and non-residents paid 18,580 for the same time period.
15. University of Utah
The University of Utah is a public research institution in Salt Lake City, Utah. The flagship university of the state, the institution was established in 1850 and was originally named the University of the Desert. In addition to the main campus, the University of Utah has a campus in Songdo, Incheon, South Korea. The oldest institution in the state, the University of Utah has more than 100 undergraduate programs and is home to the first medical school in the state. Focused on sustainability practices, 31 percent of the energy needed to run the institution comes from solar and wind sources. In-state tuition for one year is $8,382 and out-of-state tuition is $26,298.
16. Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University is located in Fort Meyers, Florida and was founded in 1991, but classes were first held in 1997. Just shy of 15,000 students, almost half of the students are from southwest Florida. There are 14,821 students that pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs at the institution. Florida residents pay $203.94 per credit and non-residents pay $838.73 per credit. If you have been enrolled since 2007, the per credit rate is $167.56. Florida Gulf Coast University is home to the Soar in Four program. This program refunds the cost of tuition for the first year of college if a student graduates in four years.
17. Oregon State University
Oregon State University, home to the Fighting Beavers, is located in Corvallis, Oregon. Founded in 1868, this institution is one of two sea-grant, land-grant, space-grant and sun-grant institutions in the country. More than 20,000 students from 50 states and 80 countries study on this 500 acre campus. Unique programs among the 200 majors offered include robotics, forestry, oceanography and Mycology. Oregon State University welcomes top performing students to the institution. The average grade point average of new, entering students is 3.46. Tuition for Oregon residents for the 2018-19 academic year is $11,211. Non-residents can expect to pay $30,141.
18. The University of Texas at Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas is home to more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located just north of Dallas in Richardson, Texas, the institution was founded in 1969. Students can pursue one of 140 different academic programs, but top majors include computer science, arts and technology, biology, mechanical engineering, accounting and neuroscience. In-state tuition is $6,517 per semester and non-resident tuition is $18,438. You can cut costs with a guaranteed tuition rate plan that locks in tuition costs for students that are enrolled for 12 consecutive semesters.
19. Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University is located in Norfolk, Virginia, with satellite campuses at Peninsula Center, ODU Virginia Beach Center and ODU Tri-Cities Center. Founded in 1934, Old Dominion has more than 24,000 students enrolled at the graduate and undergraduate levels. This 335 acre campus is also home to 763 International students representing 134 countries. Students can choose from more than 91 undergraduate degrees, 41 Master’s programs and 22 doctoral degrees. One hundred of these programs are also available online. In-state tuition for Virginia residents is $352 per credit hour, and non-residents pay $982 per credit.
20. Middle Tennessee State University
Founded in 1911, Middle Tennessee State University began as a teachers college. Situated on more than 1,000 acres, the main campus has 515 acres and 137 buildings. The remaining acreage encompasses an agricultural center, aerospace facility and horse science center. Noted programs include concrete industry management, horse science, aerospace, management and even recording industry. More than 26,000 students pursue 73 undergraduate, 43 graduate and 22 doctoral programs at the institution. In-state tuition for Tennessee residents is $9,090 for the 2018-19 academic year and $27,942 for non-residents.