If you're dreading shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for a college degree, just know the best university to obtain a quality education for the best price is located right here in New York.

Since the year 2000, college tuition has risen by roughly 70 percent, according to BestColleges.com.


The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) adds the average cost of college tuition in the U.S. for undergraduate students has more than tripled since 1963.

In 1963, the average college student paid $4,336. In 2020, that number grew to $13,777.

Now with the added pressure of high student loan debt and being strapped with 8 percent interest rates, it's no wonder some people are considering forgoing their dream school to not even stepping foot on a college campus.

The Hunt for America's "Best Value for Money" University

Unfortunately for those hoping to enter the professional workforce, a college degree is almost mandatory. Most entry level positions demand applicants have a bachelor's degree of some sort.

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However, with college tuition reaching such mind-numbing heights, some prospective students are wondering if they can save money by spending their first two college years on a community campus.

While the idea of saving some serious cash sounds attractive, others worry if community colleges don't offer the same quality education as those fancy, private colleges.

That is why Degreechoices launched a new study to see where prospective students can secure a top-notch education without breaking the bank.

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They compared over 400 national universities and colleges to determine the top 25 schools based on the typical cost of a degree relative to eventual graduate earnings 

The analysis used a benchmark of all students at each university or college from two different enrollment years and a measure of their earnings 10 years later. Using data for undergraduate payback and debt-to-earnings for graduates to determine a cost-to-earning metric, these results were adjusted by each school’s earning performance.  

An Economic score was produced for each institution, with lower scores indicating a smaller payback and lower debt-to-earnings for attending students.

After surveying some of the nation's biggest and most famous schools, one college out of New York came out on top.

New York Is #1

Degreechoices crowned CUNY City College, located in the Big Apple, as the best institution to score a great education for the lowest cost.

They also determined it is the nation's best college for return on investment in 2023. When comparing notes, they found the average student pays  $30,721 to attend CUNY City College.

However, among students who qualify for federal aid, the net cost per student each year was only $2,805 on average.

The average student graduates within 5 years and can pay back their tuition under six months. Then, looking into what graduates earn roughly 10 years after securing their diploma, it was found the average salary was around $55,741.

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CUNY City College's admission rate stands at 64 percent, however its graduation rate does fall below the state average. It was found just 59 percent of students graduate from the college.

No data was provided on whether or not those students wound up finishing their degree elsewhere.

The Top 5 Colleges

When looking beyond CUNY City College for the institutions that give students the most bang for their buck, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in 2nd place.

Students who qualify for federal aid owe $16,407 on average. In third place was the University of Florida with its 30% admission rate and its average in-state fees of $5,135.

Fourth place went to Princeton University, with a 98 percent graduation rate.

It was also found it had one of the best educational investments since the average graduate makes roughly $95,000 a decade after getting their diploma.

Rounding out the top five was Stanford University. Although its admission rate is just four percent, the average in-state cost came out to be $12,894 per year.

Read More: Is Central NY Really Home to the State's Worst Community Colleges?

What are your thoughts on this "most affordable" roundup? Also, how much did your college degree cost you?

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The Most Competitive Colleges In New York State

Gallery Credit: YouTube/Canva

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There are 25 college campuses in Western New York that are close enough (but also far away enough) to come home for a spur of the moment visit, all while having a new sense of independence. 

Read the full list before you rule out these possibilities. 

Gallery Credit: Kadie Daye, Google Maps

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