Special Report

Most Affordable Colleges With Best Outcomes in Every State

Methodology

To determine the most affordable colleges with the best outcomes in every state, 24/7 Wall St. constructed an index of seven measures. To measure the affordability of a college, we included: 1) average annual net price; 2) average cost of attendance; and 3) percentage of students who have made progress paying their student loans. To evaluate the outcomes of graduates of each college, we included: 4) employment rates for graduates six years after the first year of enrollment; 5) employment rates for graduates 10 years after the first year of enrollment; 6) median earnings for graduates six years after the first year of enrollment; and 7) median earnings for graduates 10 years after the first year of enrollment. We reviewed data for over 6,000 bachelor-degree granting institutions. All data are from the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard program and are for the most recent period available.

1. Data on the average net price — which is the average yearly price of attending a school (tuition plus living expenses) for first-time, full-time undergraduates after financial aid — for students who receive financial aid in the 2016-17 academic year was included in the index at full weight.

2. Data on the average cost of attendance, which does not account for financial aid, for all students in the 2016-17 academic year was included in the index at full weight.

3. Data on the percentage of students who left school with federal loans in the 2011-12 academic year who are not in default on their loans and who have put some money toward the initial loan balance within five years of entering repayment was included in the index at full weight.

4. Data on the percentage of individuals who entered university in the 2008-09 academic year and were employed six years later was included in the index at half weight.

5. Data on the percentage of individuals who entered university in the 2004-05 academic year and were employed 10 years later was included in the index at half weight.

6. Data on the median earnings of individuals who entered university in the 2008-09 academic year and were employed six years later was included in the index at half weight.

7. Data on the median earnings of individuals who entered university in the 2004-05 academic year and were employed 10 years later was included in the index at half weight.

Only universities that primarily grant bachelor’s degrees and have at least 1,500 undergraduates enrolled as of fall 2017 were considered. Data on acceptance rates are also from the Department of Education and are for fall 2017.