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The Best Colleges With Tuition Under $20K

Jordan Rosenfeld
·6 min read
BrianPIrwin / Getty Images
BrianPIrwin / Getty Images

The class of 2019 was the last of the millennial generation to graduate from college. And while that is something to celebrate, many members of this age group are now saddled with insurmountable student loan debt. Add to this a global pandemic, in which most students must study at home until it’s safe to return to campus, and it’s an interesting time to be a college student.

Find Out: Where 51 CEOs Went to College

Historically, tuition costs have risen 3% every school year; after the Great Recession, state budget cuts caused tuition and fees to skyrocket. State funding in 2018 for two- and four-year colleges was more than $6.6 billion below the 2008 funding, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. These ever-rising costs make it considerably difficult for students to even enroll in college, let alone graduate.

The cost of attending university has grown significantly faster than the average income. Prospective and current students have to rely heavily on financial aid and student loans to shoulder the price. Thankfully, quite a few colleges offer annual in-state tuition at a more reasonable price.

GOBankingRates examined the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best National University Rankings list and identified the 21 highest-ranking schools with tuition and fees for the 2020-21 school year below $20,000. This excludes fees associated with housing, dining, transportation and other costs.

Many prospective students may not see the Golden State as affordable, but there are six University of California schools in this study.

Check out the cost to attend these respected universities that give you more bang for your buck.

Last updated: Jan. 15, 2021

Wolterk / iStock.com
Wolterk / iStock.com

University of California — Los Angeles

  • Location: Los Angeles

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 31,543

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $13,239.00

  • 4-year graduation rate: 80%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 92%

Ouch: These Elite Colleges Went Virtual — But Raised Tuition Anyway

lucentius / Getty Images/iStockphoto
lucentius / Getty Images/iStockphoto

University of California — Berkeley

  • Location: Berkeley, California

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 31,780

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $14,312

  • 4-year graduation rate: 76%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 93%

Alternate Routes: The World’s Most In-Demand Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

tiny-al / Getty Images/iStockphoto
tiny-al / Getty Images/iStockphoto

University of Michigan — Ann Arbor

  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 31,266

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $15,948

  • 4-year graduation rate: 80%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 93%

Learn More: 21 Budgeting Tips for College Students

BrianPIrwin / Getty Images
BrianPIrwin / Getty Images

University of Virginia

  • Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 17,011

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $17,304

  • 4-year graduation rate: 89%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 95%

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Ryan Herron / Getty Images
Ryan Herron / Getty Images

University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill

  • Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 19,335

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $8962

  • 4-year graduation rate: 84%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 91%

ClaudineVM / Getty Images
ClaudineVM / Getty Images

University of California — Santa Barbara

  • Location: Santa Barbara, California

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 23,349

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $14,391

  • 4-year graduation rate: 68%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 83%

Bryan Pollard / Getty Images
Bryan Pollard / Getty Images

University of Florida

  • Location: Gainesville, Florida

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 35,405

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $6,380

  • 4-year graduation rate: 67%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 88%

EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Georgia Tech

  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 15,964

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $12,852

  • 4-year graduation rate: 46%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 90%

David Tonelson / Shutterstock.com
David Tonelson / Shutterstock.com

University of California — Irvine

  • Location: Irvine, California

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 30,382

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $13,753

  • 4-year graduation rate: 69%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 84%

InnaPoka / Getty Images
InnaPoka / Getty Images

University of California — San Diego

  • Location: La Jolla, California

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 30,794

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $14,679

  • 4-year graduation rate: 65%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 87%

BondRocketImages / Shutterstock.com
BondRocketImages / Shutterstock.com

University of California — Davis

  • Location: Davis, California

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 30,982

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021:$14,597

  • 4-year graduation rate: 63%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 87%

dszc / Getty Images
dszc / Getty Images

University of Texas — Austin

  • Location: Austin, Texas

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 40,106

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $10,582

  • 4-year graduation rate: 66%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 86%

Wolterk / Getty Images
Wolterk / Getty Images

University of Wisconsin — Madison

  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 33,456

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $10,746

  • 4-year graduation rate: 62%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 88%

Wolterk / Getty Images
Wolterk / Getty Images

University of Georgia

  • Location: Athens, Georgia

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 29,848

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $12,080

  • 4-year graduation rate: 65%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 86%

Take Note: 15 College Degrees That Won’t Make You Money

leightrail / Getty Images
leightrail / Getty Images

University of Illinois — Urbana-Champaign

  • Location: Champaign, Illinois

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 34,120

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $16,862

  • 4-year graduation rate: 70%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 85%

Pete Spiro / Shutterstock.com
Pete Spiro / Shutterstock.com

Ohio State University

  • Location: Columbus, Ohio

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 46,818

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $11,518

  • 4-year graduation rate: 62%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 86%

Rodrigo A. Rodriguez Fuentes / Getty Images
Rodrigo A. Rodriguez Fuentes / Getty Images

Purdue University

  • Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 33,646

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $9,992

  • 4-year graduation rate: 58%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 82%

Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Florida State University

  • Location: Tallahassee, Florida

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 32,270

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $6,516

  • 4-year graduation rate: 68%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 83%

Steven Frame / Shutterstock.com
Steven Frame / Shutterstock.com

University of Maryland

  • Location: College Park, Maryland

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 30,511

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $10,779

  • 4-year graduation rate: 69%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 87%

bgwalker / Getty Images
bgwalker / Getty Images

University of Pittsburgh

  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 19,200

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $19,678

  • 4-year graduation rate: 65%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 83%

benedek / Getty Images
benedek / Getty Images

University of Washington

  • Location: Seattle, Washington

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 32,046

  • Tuition and fees for 2020-2021: $11,659

  • 4-year graduation rate: 66%

  • 6-year graduation rate: 84%

More From GOBankingRates

Alexandria Bova contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates examined the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best National University Rankings list and identified the 21 highest-ranking schools with tuition and fees for the 2020-21 school year below $20,000. Information on each school’s location and enrollment were provided from U.S. News & World Report. Tuition and fees were sourced from each university’s website and include mandatory all-student fees, but exclude fees such as housing, dining, transportation, and other variable costs associated with attendance. Tuition rates for full-time freshmen were selected where variable estimates were provided. Supplemental data on each school’s 4- and 6-year graduation rates for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees who began in 2013 was sourced from the National Center for Education Statistic’s College Navigator. All data was compiled on and up to date as of January 6, 2021.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Best Colleges With Tuition Under $20K