A college education can set students up for a lifetime of professional success. But the reality is that getting into a good school is difficult, as many top tier schools are highly selective and prohibitively expensive.
Yet there are a number of publicly-funded schools that offer high-quality education that are more affordable and more accessible than smaller, private schools. These schools are located across the country, and in almost every case are less expensive than the typical private school.
To determine the top public universities in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on academics, admissions, finance, and student life from school data platform Niche. We reviewed schools with a grade of A+ in Niche’s 2021 Top Public Universities in America report.
The 31 public universities with A+ grades from Niche are spread across 18 states — six are in California, three are in Virginia, while Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, and Florida are home to two apiece.
Part of the reason these schools rank so highly is that their students go on to be relatively financially successful, earning high incomes and reporting low unemployment rates. Though this may be at least partly due to large alumni networks and high-quality education, some of the alumni’s success is due to the fact that these schools tend to award a large share of degrees in fields that can translate into high-income careers, like business and engineering. These are the college majors that pay off the most.