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Most Affordable Colleges in the U.S.

We understand, college can get pricey! However, getting a quality education doesn’t have to require a lot of spending. In fact, some of the most affordable colleges provide the best curriculum!

List of the Most Affordable Colleges in the U.S.

Tight on budget but still want to pursue higher education? Don’t let the daunting tuition costs scare you away. We have a list of the cheapest colleges that offer a wide variety of academic degree programs to fit your budget. Begin your search with our easy-to-use search tool below!

Rank School Name City State Net Cost School Level Retention Rate Details
1

United States Coast Guard Academy

New London

CT

N/A

4 year

98.16%

In-State Cost

$0

2

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Kings Point

NY

$2,528

4 year

95.33%

In-State Cost

$0

3

Folsom Lake College

Folsom

CA

$10,784

2 year

73.01%

In-State Cost

$0

4

Sacramento City College

Sacramento

CA

$7,981

2 year

69.54%

In-State Cost

$0

5

San Bernardino Valley College

San Bernardino

CA

$7,446

2 year

65.92%

In-State Cost

$0

6

City College of San Francisco

San Francisco

CA

$4,563

2 year

70.26%

In-State Cost

$0

7

Haskell Indian Nations University

Lawrence

KS

$3,831

4 year

N/A

In-State Cost

$0

8

Curtis Institute of Music

Philadelphia

PA

N/A

4 year

100%

In-State Cost

$0

9

Chabot College

Hayward

CA

$6,573

2 year

75.85%

In-State Cost

$0

10

Cosumnes River College

Sacramento

CA

$9,366

2 year

73.09%

In-State Cost

$0

11

American River College

Sacramento

CA

$7,590

2 year

69.9%

In-State Cost

$0

12

Feather River Community College District

Quincy

CA

$10,674

2 year

52.69%

In-State Cost

$0

13

Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

Albuquerque

NM

$8,436

2 year

35.77%

In-State Cost

$0

14

College of Charleston

Charleston

SC

$16,628

4 year

79%

In-State Cost

$70

15

Citadel Military College of South Carolina

Charleston

SC

$16,157

4 year

85.74%

In-State Cost

$150

16

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

Martinsburg

WV

$8,582

2 year

54.24%

In-State Cost

$336

17

Cape Cod Community College

West Barnstable

MA

$8,968

2 year

54.98%

In-State Cost

$576

18

Massasoit Community College

Brockton

MA

$8,937

2 year

58.63%

In-State Cost

$576

19

Middlesex Community College

Bedford

MA

$4,023

2 year

62.08%

In-State Cost

$576

20

Quinsigamond Community College

Worcester

MA

$6,290

2 year

52.54%

In-State Cost

$576

21

Massachusetts Bay Community College

Wellesley Hills

MA

$11,794

2 year

61.89%

In-State Cost

$576

22

Bristol Community College

Fall River

MA

$5,657

2 year

60.6%

In-State Cost

$576

23

Bunker Hill Community College

Boston

MA

$7,251

2 year

67.11%

In-State Cost

$576

24

Northern Essex Community College

Haverhill

MA

$8,243

2 year

62.03%

In-State Cost

$600

25

Mount Wachusett Community College

Gardner

MA

$8,150

2 year

60.74%

In-State Cost

$600


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Why Pick a More Affordable College?

With education in general being so costly, considering a more affordable college to earn a degree is a very smart move. While some universities may be cheaper than others, it does not mean that they provide inferior quality in terms of education. In fact, depending on what you are looking to study, a cheaper college may even serve you better! Saving money on tuition allows students to have more spending money on experiences. This could mean joining a fraternity or sorority, exploring national parks or amusement parks, or simply eating a really good meal every now and then. Besides, it’s never a bad idea to save money. There’s nothing that feels better than graduating with little to no debt. We’re sure of that!

College tuition varies depending on location, but there are definitely more affordable colleges in every state that provide many excellent fields of study, research opportunities, and more.

Other Financial Expenses to Consider

Attending college is a big step for many people, and there are many other financial expenses to consider aside from simply picking the cheapest college. Here are some to keep in mind as you continue your search:

  • Housing: The housing market is different in every state, so it’s worth weighing in the cost of living when searching for the perfect college. For example, California and New York are generally expensive places to live in, so even though you’re spending less on obtaining your degree at a cheaper college in these states, you may find yourself spending more than you’d like to on housing.
  • Transportation: Is it hard to get around where you’re planning to study, or is it relatively easy to walk or drive minimally to most places you’ll need to be?
  • Food: Ideally, affordable grocery stores, restaurants, and shopping centers are located conveniently nearby the college you plan on attending.

Being aware of and accounting for all the other miscellaneous expenses outside of tuition alone will allow students to be more financially prepared and avoid unnecessary stress down the line.