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2021 Best Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in the Southeast Region

371 Colleges
$21,630 Avg Cost (With Aid)*
4.2 Years Avg Time to Graduate*

When pursuing a degree in today's world, there are many different options to choose from. Our mission at College Factual is to arm you with as much information as we can to help you make that decision. Our Best Southeast Region Schools For The Money For Those Getting Aid ranking is one tool we have developed to help in this regard.

We analyzed 371 colleges and universities to determine which were the best for overall value for the money with aid in the Southeast Region. Quality is an important component in this ranking, so it is not just naming the schools with the cheapest price tag. Instead, it is identifying those institutions that offer the most value when taking their educational quality into consideration. Thus, one college may rank better than another, but the second school could have a lower average cost.

Find out more about our ranking methodology.

To calculate the average cost amount, we sum up the total expenses to attend a school - such as tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other living expenses - and then subtract the average financial aid award a student receives. So it is an approximation of how much you will have to pay out-of-pocket each year on average.

Customizing Your List

Since one ranking on its own is not enough to give you a complete understanding of your educational options, you can refine this list by location and field of study. We've also developed a number of other tools and rankings based on other factors. These other rankings highlight colleges that excel in other factors such as overall quality or diversity as well as schools that excel in serving different groups of students such as veterans or returnings adults.

You can create your own custom comparison that focuses on the factors most important to you using our tool, College Combat. We encourage you to try it out and pit your favorite colleges and universities head to head!

Top Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in the Southeast Region

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Birmingham Southern College

Birmingham, Alabama

Our 2021 rankings named Birmingham Southern College the best school for overall value for the money with aid in the Southeast Region for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Located in Birmingham, Alabama, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 354 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at BSC about 4.1 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $8,687. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from BSC is $35,530. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.8%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. On top of its placing in our value rankings, BSC also did well on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

Full Birmingham Southern College Report

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#2

Mercer University

Macon, Georgia

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Mercer University. The school came in at #2 in the Southeast Region on this year’s best value ranking. Mercer is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school situated in Macon, Georgia. It awarded 1,205 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Mercer is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $19,614 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Mercer is $84,144. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 86%. In addition to its great value ranking, Mercer is in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list.

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#3

Centre College

Danville, Kentucky

Out of the 371 schools in the Southeast Region that were part of this year’s ranking, Centre College landed the #3 spot on the list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Danville, Kentucky, and it awarded 378 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Centre College of Kentucky is 4.0 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $25,121. This means that the average student pays around $100,986 to get a bachelor’s degree from Centre College of Kentucky. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.7%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Centre College of Kentucky also did well on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#4

Presbyterian College

Clinton, South Carolina

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Presbyterian College helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools for the money in the Southeast Region . This small private not-for-profit school is located in Clinton, South Carolina, and it awarded 228 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at PC about 4.1 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $21,754. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from PC is $88,756. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The low student loan default rate of 2.4% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%. PC also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools in this category.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of South Florida - Main Campus. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best Value Colleges in the Southeast Region list. Located in Tampa, Florida, the large public school awarded 8,684 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At USF Tampa, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.3 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $23,095 per year to attend the school. This means that the average student pays around $99,308 to get a bachelor’s degree from USF Tampa. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 90%. USF Tampa excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list.

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#6

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region ranking. Located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the large public school handed out 6,076 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at UNC Chapel Hill is 4.1 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $26,820 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the UNC Chapel Hill is $109,694. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.7%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. On top of its placing in our value rankings, UNC Chapel Hill also did well on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#7

Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar, Virginia

With a ranking of #7, Sweet Briar College did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Sweet Briar is located in Sweet Briar, Virginia and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 29 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Sweet Briar to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $9,422 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Sweet Briar is $38,348. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

With a student-to-faculty rate of 5 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed.

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#8

Harding University

Searcy, Arkansas

Harding University landed the #8 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. Harding is located in Searcy, Arkansas and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 888 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes about 4.3 years for the average student at Harding to complete their degree, and it costs students who receive aid about $20,917 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Harding is $90,989. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The low student loan default rate of 3.8% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%. Harding also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools in this category.

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Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences ranked #9 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Baptist College of Health Sciences is a private not-for-profit institution located in Memphis, Tennessee. The school has a small population, and it awarded 235 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Baptist College of Health Sciences about 4.4 years to graduate, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $15,108 for students who receive aid. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Baptist College of Health Sciences is about $67,080. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.3%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#10

Berea College

Berea, Kentucky

Berea College did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking, coming in at #10. Located in Berea, Kentucky, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 349 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The average student at Berea graduates in less than 4.3 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $21,680. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Berea be around $92,574. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

Berea also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools in this category.

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#11

Appalachian State University

Boone, North Carolina

Appalachian State University came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region ranking. Appalachian State is located in Boone, North Carolina and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 4,172 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

It takes the average student at Appalachian State about 4.3 years to graduate, and it costs students who receive aid about $22,137 per year to attend the school. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State is $95,410. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The low student loan default rate of 3.6% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Appalachian State also did well on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#12

Union University

Jackson, Tennessee

With a ranking of #12, Union University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Union University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Jackson, Tennessee that handed out 533 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Union U to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $23,968 for students who receive aid. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Union U is about $98,029. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

With a freshman retention rate of 86%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Union U excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list.

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#13

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

University of North Carolina School of the Arts ranked #13 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the small public school awarded 196 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

It takes about 4.0 years for the average student at UNCSA to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $26,963. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from UNCSA is $109,200. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 6 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. UNCSA also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

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#14

Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, North Carolina

Western Carolina University came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region ranking. WCU is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina and has a fairly large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 2,288 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

At WCU, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $15,387. This means that the average student pays around $67,549 to get a bachelor’s degree from WCU. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#15

Bob Jones University

Greenville, South Carolina

Bob Jones University ranked #15 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Bob Jones University is a private not-for-profit institution located in Greenville, South Carolina. The school has a small population, and it awarded 500 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Bob Jones University is 4.2 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $19,528. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University be around $82,018. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

The low student loan default rate of 1.9% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

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#16

Ouachita Baptist University

Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Ouachita Baptist University ranked #16 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Ouachita Baptist University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas that handed out 399 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Ouachita Baptist is 4.1 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $20,768 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Ouachita Baptist is $84,733. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#17

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

With a ranking of #17, Florida State University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Florida State is a public institution located in Tallahassee, Florida. The school has a large population, and it awarded 9,688 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Florida State, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.2 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $27,233 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Florida State is $115,196. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 94%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Florida State excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list.

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#18

Freed - Hardeman University

Henderson, Tennessee

Freed - Hardeman University ranked #18 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Located in Henderson, Tennessee, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 308 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average student at Freed - Hardeman graduates in less than 4.2 years, and it costs students who receive aid about $21,207 per year to attend the school. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Freed - Hardeman is $88,645. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#19

Florida College

Temple Terrace, Florida

Florida College did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking, coming in at #19. Florida College is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Temple Terrace, Florida. It awarded 67 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

It takes the average student at Florida College about 4.2 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $20,063. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Florida College is $85,067. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.3%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#20

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

University of Florida landed the #20 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. U of F is located in Gainesville, Florida and has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 9,663 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The average student at U of F graduates in less than 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $28,230 for students who receive aid. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from U of F is $120,542. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

With a freshman retention rate of 96%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. In addition to its great value ranking, U of F is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list.

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#21

John Brown University

Siloam Springs, Arkansas

John Brown University did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking, coming in at #21. Located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 443 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

At JBU, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.2 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school for students who receive aid is around $24,386. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the JBU is $101,202. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.8%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%. On top of its placing in our value rankings, JBU also did well on our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#22

Lincoln Memorial University

Harrogate, Tennessee

Lincoln Memorial University ranked #22 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Located in Harrogate, Tennessee, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 315 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at LMU is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $21,771 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the LMU is $88,826. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.4%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

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#23

Davidson College

Davidson, North Carolina

Davidson College landed the #23 spot on the 2021 Best Value Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking. Davidson is a private not-for-profit institution located in Davidson, North Carolina. The school has a small population, and it awarded 560 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

At Davidson, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.0 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $31,447 for students who receive aid. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Davidson is $125,788. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

With a freshman retention rate of 95%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. In addition to its best value ranking, and one of the reasons why the school is on the list, Davidson is ranked #4 for overall quality in the Southeast Region .

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#24

The Baptist College of Florida

Graceville, Florida

The Baptist College of Florida did quite well in the 2021 Best Value Colleges in the Southeast Region ranking, coming in at #24. BCF is a private not-for-profit institution located in Graceville, Florida. The school has a small population, and it awarded 71 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at BCF is 4.4 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $13,961 for students who receive aid. This means that the average student pays around $61,708 to get a bachelor’s degree from BCF. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The impressive student-to-faculty rate of 9 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools.

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#25

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Duke University ranked #25 on this year’s Best Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region list. Durham, North Carolina is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 2,303 students in 2018-2019.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Duke is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $31,472 for students who receive aid. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Duke is $129,035. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

With a freshman retention rate of 97%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Duke also made our Best Colleges in the Southeast Region list, coming in at #1.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for the Money (With Aid) in the Southeast Region

Not only did these schools make the top-ranked list, but they also landed in the upper 15% of this year’s ranking:

#26

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee
#27

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, North Carolina
#28

Hollins University

Roanoke, Virginia
#29

Covenant College

Lookout Mountain, Georgia
#30

University of North Florida

Jacksonville, Florida
#31

New College of Florida

Sarasota, Florida
#32

Agnes Scott College

Decatur, Georgia
#33

Louisiana Tech University

Ruston, Louisiana
#34

Milligan College

Milligan College, Tennessee
#35

Washington and Lee University

Lexington, Virginia
#36

Hendrix College

Conway, Arkansas
#37

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina
#38

Transylvania University

Lexington, Kentucky
#39

Ave Maria University

Ave Maria, Florida
#41

Lyon College

Batesville, Arkansas
#42

Johnson University

Knoxville, Tennessee
#43

Berry College

Mount Berry, Georgia
#45

East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina
#46

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida
#47

William Carey University

Hattiesburg, Mississippi
#48

Christian Brothers University

Memphis, Tennessee
#49

Hobe Sound Bible College

Hobe Sound, Florida

View Best Colleges for the Money (With Aid) Nationwide >

Rest of the Top 15% Colleges for the Money in the Southeast Region

To learn more about the schools below, just click on their names:

Rank College Location
51 Salem College Winston-Salem, NC
52 University of Georgia Athens, GA
53 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
53 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
55 Wofford College Spartanburg, SC

All Majors and Fields of Study >

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Colleges for the Money ranking:

Rank College Location
56 Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling, WV
57 Appalachian Bible College Mount Hope, WV
58 Emory and Henry College Emory, VA
59 Millsaps College Jackson, MS
60 Randolph - Macon College Ashland, VA
61 Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke, VA
62 Furman University Greenville, SC
63 Columbia International University Columbia, SC
64 Maryville College Maryville, TN
65 Elizabeth City State University Elizabeth City, NC
66 Blue Mountain College Blue Mountain, MS
67 University of Richmond University of Richmond, VA
68 Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
69 Mississippi University for Women Columbus, MS
70 Emory University Atlanta, GA
Rank College Location
71 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
72 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
73 Alice Lloyd College Pippa Passes, KY
73 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC

More Rankings >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • For our state-specific rankings, we use in-state tuition to calculate average cost. For our national and regional rankings, we use a weighted average of in-state and non-resident tuition.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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