Best Value College in Each State for 2019

The Best Value College in Each State for 2020

As a new school year begins and summer fades into memory, students are (mostly) hard at work earning their college degree.

Some may have just started their college career, others may be a few credits from finishing, but nearly all are there to graduate, get that diploma, and start earning a living in the real world. For most of us, though, our alma matter never really leaves us. We all like to think we went to the best school and got the best education, but that can’t be true for everyone, right?

That got us thinking, so we looked into the data to see how college costs stack up against post-graduation earnings, both six and ten years post-enrollment. In other words, these are the colleges that will earn you the most salary post-graduation relative to what you paid to attend.

Our data comes straight out of the most recent College Scorecard release, which tracks everything from attendance figures and acceptance rate to student debt and more.

At the bottom we’ve included a list of the top 50, but first, here’s a quick look at the top 10:

  1. New York – United States Merchant Marine Academy
  2. Georgia – Augusta University
  3. Connecticut – University of Connecticut – Stamford
  4. West Virginia – American Public University System
  5. California – California State University Maritime Academy
  6. Nebraska – Bellevue University
  7. Minnesota – Capella University
  8. Florida – University of Florida – Online
  9. Utah – Brigham Young University – Provo
  10. Washington – University of Washington – Tacoma

Leveraging the data from College Scorecard, we looked at three variables:

  • The cost of attendance
  • Earnings 6 years post-enrollment (early career)
  • Earnings 10 years post-enrollment (established career)

From there, we limited our list to remove community colleges so we could focus specifically on primarily undergraduate institutions. Finally, we ranked colleges on each attribute and averaged the three numbers to determine which ones had outcomes of strong career earnings both in the short term and long term without breaking the bank to get there.

With all the methodology out of the way, here’s the full list.

Best Value Colleges in Each State

StateCollegeCost of AttendanceEarly Career EarningsEstablished Career Earnings
AlaskaUniversity of Alaska Anchorage$19,126$41,500$51,200
AlabamaUniversity of Alabama in Huntsville$22,108$40,300$52,000
ArkansasUniversity of Arkansas$22,122$40,900$52,700
ArizonaChamberlain University-Arizona$25,746$69,800$60,400
CaliforniaCalifornia State University Maritime Academy$22,301$76,700$87,800
ColoradoUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus$21,105$48,700$71,200
ConnecticutUniversity of Connecticut-Stamford$15,747$49,800$66,000
DelawareUniversity of Delaware$25,210$48,100$64,000
FloridaUniversity of Florida-Online$16,735$47,700$65,700
GeorgiaAugusta University$17,946$52,300$70,600
HawaiiUniversity of Hawaii at Manoa$23,015$39,000$51,800
IowaUniversity of Iowa$21,875$47,700$62,000
IdahoBrigham Young University-Idaho$11,833$35,600$49,400
IllinoisUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign$30,064$52,300$70,900
IndianaPurdue University$22,718$49,000$62,200
KansasUniversity of Kansas$24,824$45,100$59,300
KentuckyUniversity of Kentucky$27,215$43,500$54,000
LouisianaLouisiana State University$27,612$45,000$60,100
MassachusettsMassachusetts Maritime Academy$23,932$75,200$96,000
MarylandUniversity of Maryland-University College$18,719$47,700$55,900
MaineMaine Maritime Academy$26,948$82,000$107,200
MichiganUniversity of Michigan-Ann Arbor$28,652$55,900$79,000
MinnesotaCapella University$19,836$51,500$72,600
MissouriMissouri University of Science and Technology$22,045$57,200$72,400
MississippiUniversity of Mississippi$23,606$41,300$56,600
MontanaMontana Technological University$18,433$48,100$52,100
North CarolinaUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill$24,872$49,900$68,800
North DakotaUniversity of North Dakota$19,670$45,400$57,800
NebraskaBellevue University$16,865$52,200$60,500
New HampshireUniversity of New Hampshire at Manchester$20,305$44,900$57,700
New JerseyRutgers University-Newark$24,719$48,200$68,100
New MexicoNew Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology$20,727$49,000$58,500
NevadaUniversity of Nevada-Reno$21,142$41,600$56,300
New YorkUnited States Merchant Marine Academy$8,429$78,600$98,600
OhioMount Carmel College of Nursing$21,029$54,900$58,100
OklahomaUniversity of Oklahoma-Norman Campus$27,205$48,600$61,900
OregonOregon Institute of Technology$22,466$52,900$57,800
PennsylvaniaPenn State Wilkes-Barre$21,350$43,600$57,200
Rhode IslandUniversity of Rhode Island$27,834$42,500$58,400
South CarolinaClemson University$28,545$48,100$58,900
South DakotaSouth Dakota School of Mines and Technology$23,835$56,400$62,400
TennesseeBaptist Memorial College of Health Sciences$20,606$47,100$56,000
TexasThe University of Texas at Austin$24,933$52,200$73,900
UtahBrigham Young University-Provo$17,801$46,600$71,500
VirginiaChamberlain University-Virginia$25,746$69,800$60,400
VermontUniversity of Vermont$31,606$40,400$55,200
WashingtonUniversity of Washington-Tacoma Campus$20,426$50,300$69,600
WisconsinUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison$25,121$49,600$68,000
West VirginiaAmerican Public University System$15,847$49,200$67,000
WyomingUniversity of Wyoming$19,615$44,200$54,200


About the author

Alison Blankenship
Senior Marketing Manager
I graduated Cum Laude from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with degrees in Marketing and Communications. I’ve been working in the textbook industry for over 10 years, and my work has been featured by College Confidential, Mercy College of Health Sciences, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Tribune, Montana Technological University, Oregon Live, and other organizations.

I’m an obsessive lover of dachshunds and a passionate reader of books. I’m an avid Pinner and poster, and I’m all over our Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and Pinterest.