Best value colleges can be found across the country at both public and private schools, according to the Princeton Review.

The test-prep company compiles its list of “Best Value Colleges” based on surveys of students and administrators at more than 650 colleges and universities. Factors considered include:

So which 10 private colleges and which 10 public colleges topped the list of best value colleges?

Best Value Private Colleges

We’ve included the college’s estimate for how much it costs to attend per year, along with their average financial aid package (where data was available).

Many of these best value colleges also offer merit scholarships. Check with the schools you are considering attending.


Sticker price (tuition, room and board)

Average financial aid award (including
grants, loans and work-study)

1. Williams College



2. Swarthmore College



3. Princeton University



4. Harvard College



5. Rice University



6. Pomona College



7. Washington University



8. Yale University



9. California Institute of Technology



10. Hamilton College



Best Value Public Colleges

At these best value colleges, we’ve included the average cost per year  –  including tuition, room, board and other expenses – for both an in-state student and an out-of-state student.

For financial aid, the best value public colleges generally offer a combination of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study.


Cost for in-state students

Cost for out-of-state students

1. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill



2. University of Virginia



3. New College of Florida



4. State University of New York at Binghamton



5. University of Wisconsin



6. College of William and Mary



7. University of Florida

$20,580 $42,858

8. University of Georgia



9. University of Washington



10. University of Texas at Austin



The public colleges are the best value if you are a resident of the state where the college is located and qualify for the lower in-state tuition.

Out-of-state and international students typically don’t get in-state tuition (although that is changing at some colleges).

Your personal list of top colleges might differ from this list, depending on your college major, the part of America where you would like to live, and other priorities.

When searching for schools, don’t limit yourself to this list of best value colleges, but do research them to find out if one meets your needs and budget.

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