College Rankings 2013

20 Most Affordable Colleges (photos)

The price of admission is no joke. These are the schools where getting a diploma won’t totally break the bank.

Due to scholarships, loans, grants, and other forms of financial aid, different students pay vastly different tuition depending on the school, their financial situation, and their previous academic performance. So The Daily Beast determined which schools are the most affordable by using a simple metric. We compared schools based on the average net price students paid after need-based aid; this accounted for 80 percent of the final ranking. The rest was determined by the percentage of students who graduate within six years.  

Ethan Trewhitt

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia


6-Year Grad Rate: 78.9%

Average Net Price: $8,445

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 3.3%

Average Debt of Graduates: $23,427

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 50%

Scott Cunningham/Getty

University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia


6-Year Grad Rate: 82.4%

Average Net Price: $9,693

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 3.5%

Average Debt of Graduates: $18,569

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 46%

Lance King/Replay Photos via Getty

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina


6-Year Grad Rate: 89%

Average Net Price: $11,028

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 1.6%

Average Debt of Graduates: $17,525

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 37%

Lance King/Replay Photos via Getty

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia


6-Year Grad Rate: 93.9%

Average Net Price: $11,590

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 2.9%

Average Debt of Graduates: $20,951

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 35%

Sam Greenwood/Getty

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida


6-Year Grad Rate: 83.7%

Average Net Price: $11,579

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 3.8%

Average Debt of Graduates: $16,841

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 39%

Peter Aaron/PRNewsFoto/The Mason School of Business at The College of William and Mary/AP

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, Virginia


6-Year Grad Rate: 90.7%

Average Net Price: $12,660

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 1.1%

Average Debt of Graduates: $21,267

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 38%

Barry Winiker/Getty

University of California-San Diego

La Jolla, California


6-Year Grad Rate: 85.3%

Average Net Price: $12,621

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 3.8%

Average Debt of Graduates: $19,936

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 50%

Al Goldis/AP

Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan


6-Year Grad Rate: 77.3%

Average Net Price: $12,366

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 5.9%

Average Debt of Graduates: $23,725

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 45%

Steve Helber/AP

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, Virginia


6-Year Grad Rate: 81.4%

Average Net Price: $12,875

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 2.9%

Average Debt of Graduates: $22,128

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 52%

Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty

University of California-Irvine

Irvine, California


6-Year Grad Rate: 84.64%

Average Net Price: $13,217

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 3.5%

Average Debt of Graduates: $18,719

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 49

RDECOM/Flickr

University of Delaware

Newark, Delaware


6-Year Grad Rate: 78.4%

Average Net Price: $13,376

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 4.3%

Average Debt of Graduates: $31,002

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 58%

Richard T. Nowitz/Corbis

University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland


6-Year Grad Rate: 81.8%

Average Net Price: $13,625

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 4.2%

Average Debt of Graduates: $24,180

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 44%

Billy Hustace/Corbis

University of California-Davis

Davis, California


6-Year Grad Rate: 81.7%

Average Net Price: $14,072

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 4.1%

Average Debt of Graduates: $18,386

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 52%

Renault Philippe/Hemis/Corbis

University of California-Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California


6-Year Grad Rate: 90%

Average Net Price: $14474

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 3.1%

Average Debt of Graduates: $18814

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 44%

Ronald Martinez/Getty

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas


6-Year Grad Rate: 80.9%

Average Net Price: $14,629

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 5.5%

Average Debt of Graduates: $25,227

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 49%

Jonathan Daniel/Getty

University of Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin


6-Year Grad Rate: 82%

Average Net Price: $14,940

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 1.6%

Average Debt of Graduates: $24,140

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 48%

Courtesy of UCSB

University of California-Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California


6-Year Grad Rate: 79.8%

Average Net Price: $14,890

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 4.3%

Average Debt of Graduates: $18,627

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 49%

Keith Walters

SUNY College at Geneseo

Geneseo, New York


6-Year Grad Rate: 80.9%

Average Net Price: $15,029

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 3%

Average Debt of Graduates: $21,000

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 67%

Paul Sakuma/AP

University of California-Berkeley

Berkeley, California


6-Year Grad Rate: 90.5%

Average Net Price: $15,589

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 3. 8%

Average Debt of Graduates: $17,116

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 42%

Joe Robbins/Getty

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Illinois


6-Year Grad Rate: 82.5%

Average Net Price: $15,610

3-Year Credit Default Rate: 3.4%

Average Debt of Graduates: $22,975

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 52%