Top 50 Public Universities in USA – Best Bang for Your Buck

arizona state university campusHere are top 50 public universities in USA for 2013 based on with highest value for the money you pay for college. Its’ called Best Bang for your Buck Rankings from Washington Monthly.

Ranking Methodology

  1. At least 20 percent of their students must be receiving Pell Grants, which go to students of modest means (annual household incomes below $50,000).
  2. Graduation rate of at least 50 percent
  3. Each school’s actual graduation rate must meet or exceed the rate that would be statistically predicted for that school given the number of lower-income students admitted.
  4. Make sure graduates are earning enough in the workforce to at least cover their student loans, schools must have a student loan default rate of 10 percent or less.

Using the above 4 factors are put together by Washington Monthly ranked over 1500 colleges and universities in America.

Here is a list of top 50 public universities from the overall list of 1500+ colleges and universities.

Top 50 Public Universities in USA

This partial list of public universities includes Top 50 schools from overall list of 1572 colleges and universities.

1University of Florida (FL)*29%84%3%$4,132
2University of Georgia (GA)*22%82%3%$6,335
3Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (NC)*20%89%1%$6,949
4NC State University-Raleigh (NC)*25%72%3%$7,345
5Texas A&M Univ.-College Station (TX)*23%81%5%$7,383
6San Diego State University (CA)*29%66%4%$8,066
7Arizona State University (AZ)*35%57%6%$8,088
8Indiana University-Bloomington (IN)*21%72%3%$8,129
9University of Washington-Seattle (WA)*24%80%3%$8,334
10Florida State University (FL)*28%74%5%$8,447
11East Carolina University (NC)*34%59%3%$8,463
12University of Central Florida (FL)*30%63%8%$8,825
13Utah State University (UT)*30%52%4%$8,850
14University of Vermont (VT)*22%72%3%$8,927
15University of California-Riverside (CA)*57%67%5%$9,224
16University of California-Berkeley (CA)*27%90%3%$9,394
17Oklahoma State University-Main (OK)*28%62%6%$9,838
18University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (MN)*23%70%3%$9,945
19University of California-Irvine (CA)*38%85%3%$9,981
20University of Arizona (AZ)*32%61%6%$10,046
21University of California-Los Angeles (CA)*32%90%3%$10,055
22University of California-San Diego (CA)*47%85%3%$10,092
23Michigan State University (MI)*26%77%4%$10,092
24University of Utah (UT)*20%55%3%$10,186
25University of California-Davis (CA)*39%82%3%$10,229
26Purdue University-Main (IN)*21%68%3%$10,355
27Univ. of California-Santa Barbara (CA)*34%80%3%$10,844
28Iowa State University (IA)*23%68%4%$10,979
29Michigan Technological University (MI)*28%65%3%$11,017
30Rutgers University-Newark (NJ)*45%68%NA$11,052
31University of California-Santa Cruz (CA)*42%73%4%$11,119
32University of Texas-Austin (TX)*28%81%5%$11,134
33SUNY at Albany (NY)*37%64%6%$11,272
34University of Nebraska-Lincoln (NE)*24%67%4%$11,379
35SUNY at Binghamton (NY)*26%77%3%$11,439
36SUNY at Buffalo (NY)*28%71%4%$11,726
37Univ. of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (IL)*21%82%3%$12,061
38University of Nevada-Reno (NV)*29%51%7%$12,344
39University of Rhode Island (RI)*26%63%6%$12,364
40South Dakota State University (SD)*36%60%5%$12,370
41University of Oregon (OR)*23%66%5%$12,457
42Washington State University (WA)*26%67%6%$12,490
43University of Oklahoma Norman (OK)*24%67%7%$12,849
44MO Univ. of Science & Technology (MO)*28%67%5%$12,993
45University of Kansas (KS)*22%61%4%$13,142
46Western Michigan University (MI)*35%56%5%$13,565
47Illinois State University (IL)*24%71%3%$13,672
48University of La Verne (CA)51%58%5%$14,208
49Oregon State University (OR)*30%61%4%$14,497
50Bowling Green State Univ.-Main (OH)*40%58%7%$14,947

My take on Rankings : International students don’t qualify for Pell Grants. Just because college you are attending is ranked in the above list of in the total list of 1500 means nothing. You are going to get a degree and skills you get from the college education will help with your career. Ranking – a mere number attached to a college means nothing to you.

Here is link to different set of US University Rankings – List of U.S. University Rankings


  1. Adarsh Agarwal on September 16, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Hi ,
    My Profile :
    Recently scored 318 in GRE ( 168 Q 150 V 2.5 AWA)
    TOEFL – Pending
    3+ working experience in IT field ( Tech Mahindra )
    – 10th – 81% , 12th – 84% , BTECH (EE) – 69%
    – Paper Presentation in College , Awarded in Company

    Questions ?
    1) Should I regive GRE for low score in Verbal ?
    2) Can i pursue my MS in CS , i have btech in EE but work exp. in IT ?
    3) Please suggest some univ. for MS ?

    One’s i shortlisted are they way over my reach because of my Btech percentage?

    – Yale Univ.
    – Purdue Univ.
    – SUNY Buffalo
    – Georgia Tech

    4) Is it advisable to do MS from other than A Grade colleges ?
    This question arises as after MS from other college won’t unemployement hit theses students .

    Please suggest .

    Thanks ,
    Adarsh Agarwal

    • Nithin on October 1, 2013 at 6:20 PM


      Answers to your questions.
      1) Your overall GRE score is good, I am not sure how much whether the verbal score would affect you.
      2)Yes definitely, you can pursue MS in CS with UG in EE. I have done my BE in Mech and am pursuing MS in EE right now.Make sure you make it clear in your SOP on why you are switching your field.
      3)I do not know much about CS, but I feel Purdue and Gatech would be slightly ambitious (again depends on your SOP) . For CS, I have not heard of people applyign to Yale. I would advise you to do more research, ask other people and check out univ websites for more univs.
      4)I am not sure what you mean by A grade, but even if the univ is low ranked, ( I mean 50-100) , it is worthwhile if the profs and the program is good. If you develop good knowledge in your core area, you will get a job

  2. sherly jenifer on September 2, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    What does each percentages represent?

  3. sherly jenifer on September 1, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    I want to know, whether, the Best Bang for your Buck Universities, mean that they are the most cost effective? But I dont find any lesser tution cost in these universities to be cost effective. they have equally costlier tution rates.

  4. utkarsh on September 1, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    GRE: 316:161(Q;81percentil),155(67 percentil); AWA : 3
    percentage :72 in BE ;84 in 12th;(But 85 + in math through out)

    Work Exp : will b 3 yrs by 2014 fall; 1 yr in products company ;2 yr as java developer, Wipro: (design and Mant. project )

    won pap presentatn and debugging etc in some national level symp ,part of math club in clg ; best idea awad in compan ;

    >want study of algorithms basd on computational mathematics for MS<

    1. Is my quants score very low 🙁 🙁 ??;should i apply for reval ??does it ever make a difference ? i think my scor in quant shud b ard 165 !?
    2. Do i hv a good pofile to apply fo th top 25 univ (US News etc)?

    My list :
    SUNY Buffalo
    Arizona State Univ

    Wat else shud I Apply for, if i NEED the SCHOLARSHIPS !!??

    • utkarsh on September 1, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      correction : reval 4 AWA…not quants ..but i dont know y i got low in i recheckd my answers…

    • Raghuram Sukumar on September 1, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Learn admission strategies to get scholarship inside Hello America –

  5. ahmed on August 30, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    can u sujjest me the us univs for my profyl gre 292, acad 79% EE, ielts 6, with a affordable cost even with part time availabl areas

  6. DEV on August 29, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Raghu,could not understand the third criteria… And the stats given against each uni represents the criteria right?? Then why UC-Riverside so down below,it has good stats right… or am I messing up??

    • DEV on August 29, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      ok got the meaning of the criteria… BUT still why UC-RA so down??

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