Our Methodology

Learn how we pinpointed the most affordable colleges across the country.

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How We Narrowed Down the Options

Affordable Programs by State

Find the most affordable colleges in each state, and learn about specific ways each state offers to save money on your education.

Affordable Online Programs

Looking for distance education so you can work and live where you want while you study? See the top not-for-profit online learning options in each state.

Affordable Programs by Subject

Find affordable colleges and universities leading the way in producing graduates across a variety of subject areas.

Our Definition of Affordability

Our analysis is designed to find schools that are affordable not only for the average student, but for lower-income students as well.

Our High Standards

We want to focus attention on the very best options from both an affordability and an opportunity standpoint. Many of our lists (broken down by state and subject area) are short. Some states have no schools that meet our criteria at all.

Our Data

We focus not only on the financial cost of going to college, but also on the opportunities these schools offer by looking at what happens to students once they're enrolled. Do they graduate? Can they pay back their loans?

A Word About Our Selection Process

One thing to keep in mind about our selection process is that it’s only one piece of the puzzle.

The challenge for prospective students like you is that there are <a href="https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/csa/postsecondary-institutions">over 3,500 institutions of higher learning in the US that are eligible for federal Title IV student loans</a>. Of those, more than, 2,200 offer bachelor’s or higher-level degrees. So where do you begin?

The most you should expect from lists like ours is that they help you start narrowing down your options. They’re not a substitute for doing your own research.

The data behind our lists might be out-of-date, or occasionally wrong. We do our best to make sure that our lists are neither of those, but sometimes things change without us being aware.

There are a lot of things that factor into the total price you pay for your college education. And you also have your own reasons and motivations to think about when deciding on one school over another – reasons that have nothing at all to do with cost.

The point is – while the lists we compiled will help you better understand the options available to you when looking for an affordable degree program, you don’t want to RELY on these lists alone when deciding where to attend college. The best way to find out what you need to know is to contact the schools themselves and ask lots of questions.