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The Nation's Best Public Colleges 2014

These public schools offer a quality education, often at a lower price



By Mary Patrick
Posted September 11, 2013 03:00 PM

Best Public Colleges Rankings 2014
Best Public Colleges Rankings 2014

While private schools dominate the upper reaches of the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges 2014, many public schools also do very well in the rankings.

Many of these schools offer students a great education at a much lower price – particularly if you live within the state. California – with four schools in the Top 10 –have a wealth of good choices, as do residents of Virginia.

Below are the best public universities in the United States, based on the Best Colleges 2014 rankings from U.S. News and World Report.

University of California-Berkeley. Ranked 20th in the overall Best Colleges 2014 rankings, the University of California-Berkeley is the best public university in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report. Tuition for in-state students is $13,836 – less than a third of the cost of the top private schools – while out –of-state students pay about $25,000, which is still lower than the top private schools. There are currently 25,774 students enrolled at Berkeley, about 52% of which are women. The two most popular majors for 2012 Berkeley graduates was social sciences and biological and biomedical sciences.

University of California-Los Angeles. Ranked 23rd in the overall list of best colleges, UCLA is the second best public school, which means the University of California holds the top 2 public university spots. Tuition at UCLA for students from California is $12,696 while out-of-state students pay $35,574. There are currently 27,941 students at UCLA – 55% of them are female. The top two majors for 2012 graduates was political science and government and psychology.

University of Virginia. Ranked 23rd overall among the best colleges, the University of Virginia is located in Charlottesville, Vir. The in-state tuition is $12,458, while out-of-state students pay almost $40,000. The school, which was founded by Thomas Jefferson, has 15,822 students, 55% of which are female. The top two majors for 2012 graduates was economics and psychology.

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Ranked 28th in the overall list of best colleges, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is located about 45 minutes from Detroit. The in-state tuition is $13,819, while out-of-state students pay more than $40,000. There are almost 28,000 students enrolled at the University of Michigan, 51% of which are male. The top two majors for 2013 graduates was economics and experimental psychology.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Ranked 30th in the nation among all colleges, the University of North Carolina – founded in 1789 - is among the best public schools. In-state students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill pay just $8,340, while out-of-state students pay $30,122. There are 18,503 students enrolled at the University of North Carolina – 58% are female. The top two majors of 2013 graduates was communication and media studies and psychology.

College of William and Mary. Ranked 32nd among all colleges, the College of William and Mary is among the best public institutions in the nation. It’s almost among the oldest – the school, located in Williamsburg, Vir., was founded in 1693.  In-state students pay $15,464 in tuition, while out-of-students pay $37,852. The school has 6,171 students - 55% female. The top two majors for 2012 graduates were social sciences and business, management and marketing.

Georgia Institute of Technology. Ranked 36th among all universities, Georgia Institute of Technology – founded in 1885 in Atlanta – is among the top public schools in the country. The in-state tuition is $10,650, whlle out-of-state students pay almost $30,000. There are 14,527 students enrolled in the school – 67% of them are male. The top two majors of 2012 graduates were engineering and business, management and marketing.

Pennsylvania State University. Founded in 1855, Penn State University is the 37th best college in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report, and one of the best of the nation’s public schools. Pennsylvania students pay $16,992, while out-of-state students pay about $29,500. There are currently 39,00 students enrolled – 54% male. The top two majors among 2012 graduates were business, management and marketing and engineering.

University of California-Davis. Ranked 39th among all schools, UC-Davis is among the Top 10 best public schools and one of four on the list from the University of California system. In-state students pay $13,896, while out-of-state students pay $36,774. There are 25,759 students enrolled – 55% of them female.

University of California-San Diego. Tied at 39th with UC-Davis among all the nation’s colleges, UC-San Diego is the newest school on the this list, founded in 1960. Located in La Jolla, the school has 22,676 students, about 51% are male. In-state students pay $13,234 in tuition, while out-of-state students pay $36,112.

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