The best colleges for your money: 2015-16

Posted on July 14th, 2015

We talk a lot about college value, but few rankings systems take affordability into account.

MONEY, however, recently released its yearly list of the colleges ranked by how much value they deliver to the student, by providing a great education at an affordable price and good career prospects.

We’re big fans of their methodology, because unlike the rankings in U.S. News and many other publications, they strive to show students how important it is to consider return on investment when choosing a college.

Top colleges for education quality & affordability

Despite its 2015-16 cost of attendance of $64,477, Stanford University was ranked the best college for your money.

It was joined by many other elite high-priced colleges, such as Princeton and Harvard, in the top 10.

While you’d expect these colleges to rank high for education quality, many people don’t realize that these schools are often quite affordable due to their generous financial aid packages. MONEY took these into account and found many of these colleges to have relatively low net prices after financial aid.

And you also might not expect colleges like Babson College (ranked #2) and Maine Maritime Academy (#8) to rank right along (or ahead of) Ivies in the top 10 in terms of quality as well as affordability, but they also offer a great education at a low price, according to MONEY’s methodology.

Babson College was ranked second only to Stanford in MONEY's ranking of the best colleges for your money. [By ja:User:7dfsgui (ja:File:Babson gate.JPG) [<a href="//">Copyrighted free use</a>], <a href="">via Wikimedia Commons</a>]

Babson College was ranked second only to Stanford in MONEY’s rankings of the best colleges for your money. [By ja:User:7dfsgui (ja:File:Babson gate.JPG) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons]

Check out the top 20 below, and be sure to check out the full list, as well as some of their other rankings that take affordability into account, such as the 50 Most Affordable Private CollegesThe 25 Best Private Colleges for Merit Aid, and The 50 Colleges That Add the Most Value.

1. Stanford University — Stanford, California

2. Babson College — Babson Park, Massachusetts

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Cambridge, Massachusetts

3. Princeton University — Princeton, New Jersey

5. California Institute of Technology — Pasadena, California

6. Harvard University — Cambridge, Massachusetts

6. Harvey Mudd College — Claremont, California

8. Maine Maritime Academy — Castine, Maine

9. Amherst College — Amherst, Massachusetts

9. Cooper Union For The Advancement of Science and Art — New York, New York

9. University of California at Berkeley — Berkeley, California

12. University of Pennsylvania — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

13. University of California-Irvine — Irvine, California

14. Rice University — Houston, Texas

15. Brigham Young University-Provo — Provo, Utah

15. Bentley University — Waltham, Massachusetts

17. University of Virginia — Charlottesville, Virginia

18. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor — Ann Arbor, Michigan

19. Claremont McKenna College — Claremont, California

20. Texas A&M University-College Station — College Station, Texas

Are you surprised by the rankings? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Category: Choosing a College

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