America’s Top Colleges 2019

The value of a college degree may not mean the same thing to the parents involved in this year’s admissions cheating and bribery scandal as it means to the some 6 million first-generation college students in the U.S.⁠ Or to most of us. There’s a difference between gaming the system and having a shot at the American Dream. So when it comes to the question everyone seems to be asking, “Is college worth it?,” we emphatically say yes

Harvard University, Massachusetts
Photo: pixabay.com/MonicaVolpin
Harvard University, Massachusetts

With an asterisk. That’s the mission of this college ranking, our annual review of the undergraduate institutions that deliver the top academics, best experiences, career success and lowest debt. Whether a school is in the Top 10 or near the bottom of the list, these 650 count as the best in the country. We include just 15% of the 4,300 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the U.S., so appearing here at all is an indication that a school meets a high standard.


The average total cost for these colleges is $45,000 annually; nationally, 49% of graduates under the age of 30 are carrying loan debt, on the hook for a median amount of $25,000 for the privilege of earning a bachelor’s degree, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. In sum, Americans now owe about $1.5 trillion in student loans. For most families, choosing a four-year college is one of the biggest and most expensive decisions they can make. For students, the time of your life may stress out your future plans. Choose carefully.

RANK

NAME

STATE

NET PRICE

TYPE

AVERAGE DEBT

AVERAGE EARLY CAREER SALARY

 

             

 

1

Harvard University

Massachusetts

$69,600

Private not-for-profit

$7,372

$74,800

 

2

Stanford University

California

$69,109

Private not-for-profit

$8,155

$79,000

 

3

Yale University

Connecticut

$71,290

Private not-for-profit

$4,962

$70,300

 

4

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts

$67,430

Private not-for-profit

$7,530

$86,300

 

5

Princeton University

New Jersey

$66,150

Private not-for-profit

$4,451

$75,200

 

6

University of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

$71,715

Private not-for-profit

$7,733

$72,800

 

7

Brown University

Rhode Island

$71,050

Private not-for-profit

$7,794

$68,200

 

8

California Institute of Technology

California

$68,901

Private not-for-profit

$5,988

$84,100

 

9

Duke University

North Carolina

$71,764

Private not-for-profit

$6,114

$71,100

 

10

Dartmouth College

New Hampshire

$71,827

Private not-for-profit

$6,239

$71,500

 

11

Cornell University

New York

$70,321

Private not-for-profit

$8,107

$70,100

 

12

Pomona College

California

$69,725

Private not-for-profit

$6,561

$63,800

 

13

University of California, Berkeley

California

$65,003

Public

$6,237

$70,700

 

14

Columbia University

New York

$74,199

Private not-for-profit

$10,740

$71,400

 

15

Georgetown University

District Of Columbia

$71,580

Private not-for-profit

$6,358

$66,400

 

16

University of Chicago

Illinois

$75,735

Private not-for-profit

$10,381

$64,000

 

17

Northwestern University

Illinois

$72,980

Private not-for-profit

$7,024

$63,400

 

18

University of Notre Dame

Indiana

$69,395

Private not-for-profit

$6,600

$67,000

 

19

Williams College

Massachusetts

$70,650

Private not-for-profit

$4,440

$67,500

 

20

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Michigan

$62,176

Public

$6,965

$63,500

 

21

Rice University

Texas

$63,158

Private not-for-profit

$8,364

$71,000

 

22

Johns Hopkins University

Maryland

$69,863

Private not-for-profit

$7,036

$67,200

 

23

Harvey Mudd College

California

$74,428

Private not-for-profit

$7,236

$88,800

 

24

United States Naval Academy

Maryland

$0

Public

$0

$80,100

 

25

Swarthmore College

Pennsylvania

$68,846

Private not-for-profit

$8,843

$67,500

 

26

Bowdoin College

Maine

$68,070

Private not-for-profit

$7,550

$61,300

 

27

Vanderbilt University

Tennessee

$67,392

Private not-for-profit

$8,051

$65,400

 

28

Amherst College

Massachusetts

$71,300

Private not-for-profit

$5,460

$63,800

 

29

Claremont McKenna College

California

$71,745

Private not-for-profit

$4,369

$68,500

 

30

University of Southern California

California

$72,209

Private not-for-profit

$7,747

$64,500

 

 
 
Edited by Justin Conklin, Carter Coudriet and Caroline Howard
Reported by Maria Clara Cobo, Julie Coleman, Madison Fernandez, Grace Kay and Derek Saul
 
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