When you think about going to college in the U.S., there’s always this nagging feeling of whether you can even afford it.
But you also know that the U.S. has the best job prospects and the quality of life is second to none.
That is precisely why I have created this list of 11 colleges in the U.S. that can provide you with the most bang for your buck!
Let’s dive in.
The reason I have included this map is because your tuition fee is not the only major expense you’re going to incur.
You’re also going to spend money on housing, either on or off campus, and food expenses.
Transport can also be a major expense if you live off-campus in a suburb because you won’t have convenient access to public transport.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the best “cheap” universities in the U.S.
Location: Jonesboro, Arkansas
International Tuition fee: $12,744 for a 12-credit course-load
Acceptance rate: 63%
About the University: The first thing you’re going to notice about A-state is that they have a HUGE campus.
This means, the campus life you’re going to experience at A-state is going to be rife with Greek life, throwing frisbees in the quad, and the whole 9 yards.
If you’re social, and you don’t want to be alone in a new country, A-state’s a good place to make new friends.
That being said, if you’re just going to do online courses at A-state, I’d say don’t.
The pricing for online courses is not bad, but the learning won’t be very engaging and responsive. They just don’t have proper administration for that yet.
Most known for: A-state is renowned for Nursing. In fact, their Nursing program has some convincing stats.
It was among their top 10 most popular majors for 2021 graduates.
Students from A-state get placed in some of the best medical centers in Arkansas such as Washington Regional Medical Center and Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock.
Location: San Bernardino, California
International Tuition fee: $16,722
Acceptance rate: 91%
About the University: If you’re looking to go somewhere that’s inclusive, CSUSB is more your speed.
They have a Cross-Cultural Center, which is a hub for cultural activities.
With their diversity in place, you’re going to witness less cultural shock and see your own culture on campus.
However, if you’re going to Cal State for a post-graduate program, scholarships will not be easily available.
The college grants and scholarships are geared towards undergraduate programs.
Most known for: The first choice at CSUSB is Accounting and Finance.
CSUSB was the first University in San Bernardino to offer AACSB-accredited business programs.
That’s saying something because less than 30% of business schools in the nation are AACSB-accredited.
They have a standout accounting program that will almost guarantee good results in all levels of the CFA exams.
Accounting is also the most affordable course across all CSUs, so you get tremendous value.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
International Tuition fee: $620 per credit
Acceptance rate: 51%
About the University: The most luring feature of Brooklyn college is that it’s set in the most artistic of spaces.
You’ll drive inspiration right from New York City and bag internship programs from the most renowned firms.
Graduates from Brooklyn college have been hired at CNN, Twitter, and Bloomberg, among others.
However, if you’re looking to have a holistic campus experience, you can think of applying to A-state instead.
Most known for: They have a good reputation for their Psychology courses. It’s statistically one of the most popular majors they provide.
If you’re looking for scholarships to study Psychology, you’ll find plenty for both undergrad and grad courses.
The course at Brooklyn will set you up for fieldwork and internship opportunities at the best schools and hospitals in New York City.
To name a few – NYC Department of Education, New York-Presbyterian Hospitals, and NYU Langone Psychiatry Associates, amongst others.
Location: Vermillion, South Dakota
International Tuition fee: $12,942 for 30 credits per year
Acceptance rate: 87%
About the University: USD competes in NCAA Division I for football, swimming, basketball, and even track and field.
If you’re accomplished in any of these sports, USD is a great choice for you.
They have an extremely active track and field team.
So, if you’re a runner or a sprinter, your prospects for a scholarship will skyrocket at this university.
This also means USD is less academic and more invested in sports.
So, if you’re going there mainly for the learning, and nothing else. You’re better off choosing CSUSB.
Most known for: USD is known for Health Professions and Related Programs. It’s the most popular major you can go for as an undergrad student.
The program includes health care studies, health care advancement, professional studies, and public health studies.
They also offer close mentorship that could be your ticket into the fieldwork of Health Science.
Getting mentored and working in the field will also give you a better understanding of your work than diving into books without any external guidance.
Location: Pembroke, North Carolina
International Tuition fee: $5099.97 for 12+ hours
Acceptance rate: 92%
About the university: UNCP is one of those universities that don’t just pride themselves in their student-faculty ratio but ACTUALLY have small class sizes.
The average class size is 20 students and the student-faculty ratio is 18:1.
Their classes ensure more attentive communication and will help you build a coherent relationship with your professors.
However, if you’re someone who needs face-to-face communication with your academic advisors, you should skip UNCP.
The advisors are not readily available for in-person career counseling.
This comes as a surprise because they do seem to prioritize personal attention and communication otherwise.
Most known for: One of the most popular majors is Computer Science.
CS is an academically strong major and the coursework aims to achieve a sweet balance between intellectual and practical learning.
If you’re studying CS with UNCP, you’ll find healthy job prospects at Technomancers and Metlife since they hire frequently from UNCP.
Location: Long Beach, California
International Tuition fee: $8196 for 12 credits per year
Acceptance rate: 47%
About the University: The first thing you’re going to notice about CSULB is that it’s a walk away from the beach.
If you want to take your books and lay down on the beach, under the sun, you’re free to do that at any point of the day.
This also means that you’re not going to be anchored to a desk and a chair all day long.
And what ties everything together is the unity in diversity you’re going to witness on campus.
If you’re a social butterfly, you’re going to make friends from all over the world.
Hanging out with your friends on the beach in California?
Doesn’t sound like a bad college experience to me!
However, they do have a pretty dated curriculum, so if your major is very dynamic and requires up-to-date knowledge, CSULB might not be the best bet for you.
Most known for: When you think of CSULB, the first course that comes to mind is Computer Science.
To give you some facts, the program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.
If you’re geeky, you’re going to love the practicality of this course.
You’ll also get an opportunity to work at Tech companies like GoPro, Epiphany, Zuora, and other companies that are set in California.
Location: San Mateo County, California
International Tuition fee: $7,008 for 12 credits per year
Acceptance rate: 100%
About the University: CSM is a part of the San Mateo Colleges of Silicon Valley.
Now, why would you choose to go to a community college?
The most obvious reason is the cost of tuition.
For a community college, CSM is still packed with things you’ll want from a 4-year college like getting on-campus jobs or meeting new people.
Moreover, with its 100% acceptance rate, you KNOW you’re going to get through.
That being said, if you’re expecting an extravagant campus life, you won’t witness that in a community college.
CSULB or A-State is more your speed if you’re looking for a holistic campus experience.
Most known for: The biggest advantage to studying at CSM is that they have a variety of majors to choose from, which can launch you into colleges in the UC system, like UC Berkeley and UCLA.
For instance, Dinesh worked with a 360 counselor to leverage an admission into UC Irvine after studying at CSM.
You basically study for the first two years at CSM and then transfer to one of the UC colleges.
This gives you the brand value and the quality experience you’re looking for at a cheaper cost.
Location: Brookings, South Dakota
International Tuition fee: $150 for 15 credit hours
Acceptance rate: 87%
About the University: If you’re a theater kid and none of the other Universities on the list appeal to you, SDSU is the place for you.
They have the state-of-the-art Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.
The center holds a lot of different events like Ben Model silent films, Jazz ensemble concerts, and the World Film Festival among others.
That said, Brookings is a small college town, and SDSU is the main attraction.
This is why it’s not for you if you’re looking for the “big city hustle-bustle”.
Most known for: One of the popular programs to take at SDSU is Nursing.
To get into some stats, the course has a 90% placement rate.
The university has 644 students who major in nursing every year.
Graduating from SDSU will give you a strong foothold in the Brookings health system.
So, if you want to work in a hospital, the Brookings Health System is a good, non-competitive place to start and act as your launching pad.
Location: Cullowhee, North Carolina.
International Tuition fee: $2,500 per semester
Acceptance rate: 74%
About the University: One of the things that stand out at WCU is the Center for Career and Professional Development.
If you’re wondering about prospects beyond college, WCU helps with 4-year career plans, internships, and even Major exploration.
They also bring in alumni to interact with the students and recruit interns for jobs.
The career fairs at WCU ensure that employers briefly talk to students about their career opportunities.
However, scholarships are not geared toward international students so if you’re a UG student looking for financial aid, they aren’t much help in that department.
Most known for: The most popular course here is Social Sciences & Management.
It extends to Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, and even Criminology.
To give you more context on this –
Their forensic Anthropology team spends weeks in archaeological search and excavation sites.
They even located the remains of missing people like the American airman from World War II in Germany.
If you want to study Anthropology, WCU is the right place for you.
Location: Oshkosh, Wisconsin
International Tuition fee: $13,420 for 12-18 credits
Acceptance rate: 79%
About the university: Have you ever heard someone say “It’s a one-stop solution for all”?
That is what UWO is.
Fresh campus life, good academia, financial aid, and access to safety resources at all times.
Oshkosh is a college town and the campus administration strives to provide a wholesome college experience.
They are also very generous with their scholarships.
Dinesh worked with a 360 counselor to get a 100% scholarship from UWO.
However, if you’re someone that does not react well to extreme weather conditions, I’d suggest skipping UW Oshkosh.
It’s bitterly cold in winter with an average temperature of -10°C.
Most known for: To get into some stats, UW Oshkosh is the only nationally accredited business school in NE Wisconsin.
Which makes it a great bet for finance.
Let me tell you why this major is so popular at the university –
As a finance major, you’ll also get hands-on experience with investment management which means you’ll learn how, where, and when to invest.
Furthermore, it has two of the six CFA-designated faculty in the whole of Wisconsin, in addition to faculty that have actual jobs in Finance.
This means the professors have vast in-field experience, which makes their teaching methodology more practical for actual in-field use.
Location: Canyon, Texas
International Tuition fee: $465.00 per semester credit hour
Acceptance rate: 97%
About the University: The WTAMU website has a whole section dedicated to career prospects after college.
If you’re looking for internship workshops or webinars, they have career services to help you bag a job even during your academic year.
More than 70% of graduates from WTAMU bag full-time jobs every year.
For instance, if you’re a finance student: your top employers out of WTAMU will be Happy State Bank, Amarillo National Bank, and Johnson & Sheldon CPA, among others.
However, if you’re planning to study at WTAMU, you have to look for housing around the university.
The transportation lines to and from the campus are inadequate and will cost you time.
Most known for: They are known for their Business and Management courses.
It’s one of the top programs they have and is ranked among the best in the country.
The majors include Accounting, Finance, Management, and Marketing.
If you’re looking to study in an AACSB-accredited program, Mays Business School at Texas A&M is for you.
To further reduce your expenses on already low tuition and cost of living you can explore:
Scholarships – With enough research, you can find and apply for relevant scholarships from the university. Here’s a guide on how to find a scholarship as an Indian student going to the U.S.
Working On-Campus – You can work up to ___ hours part-time in the university as a ___ and usually earn up to __.
Loans – If you’re going to a cheap college, you likely won’t need a hefty loan like you would at a private university. Once you get placed after graduating, paying off your student loans should not be difficult.
If you need more targeted recommendations for your major, lifestyle, budget, post-degree goals, etc., speak to an admissions counselor.
Trying to create your own list is a challenging and time-consuming process, and an expert can help you make the process a lot more efficient.
The real challenge is not just finding colleges that match your needs, you also need to have a real chance of getting accepted.
Remember, college applications can cost up to $120 per college!
Our counselors at 360 College Review can create a list just like this one with colleges hand-picked for you.