Veronica Wickline 5 min read Applying to College, College Lists

The 50 Most Underrated Colleges & Universities in the U.S.

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If you have a college-bound child in your family, then chances are you have wondered what makes a school a good fit. It is important to find a college or university that serves them well not only for four years but for life.

 

Recently, we shared our list of The 50 Most Underrated Colleges in America with Business Insider. Our list prioritizes career outcome, cost of attendance, and return on investment.

 

We use our college data to give each quality a score from 1-100 and then average the three scores for an overall financial fitness rating. Schools that score in the high seventies and above offer great financial aid and/or career prospects after graduating.

 

When deciding which school is right for your family, discussing finances is a key factor. How much money your child spends on college shapes the paths open to them upon graduation. Additionally, strong career placement and return on investment give graduates a critical head start as they begin their careers.

 

What are the 50 Most Underrated Schools in the US?

 

50. Hofstra University

 

  • Location: Hempstead, NY
  • Overall score: 79.0
  • Career outcomes score: 86
  • Cost and financial aid score: 64
  • Return on investment score: 87

 

49. Carnegie Mellon

 

  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Overall score: 80.7
  • Career outcomes score: 99
  • Cost and financial aid score: 64
  • Return on investment score: 79

 

48. Stevens Institute of Technology

 

  • Location: Hoboken, NJ
  • Overall score: 81.0
  • Career outcomes score: 88
  • Cost and financial aid score: 70
  • Return on investment score: 85

 

47. University of Oklahoma

 

  • Location: Norman, OK
  • Overall score: 81.7
  • Career outcomes score: 76
  • Cost and financial aid score: 92
  • Return on investment score: 77

 

46. University of Arizona

 

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Overall score: 82.3
  • Career outcomes score: 76
  • Cost and financial aid score: 96
  • Return on investment score: 75

 

44 (tie). University of Delaware

 

  • Location: Newark, DE
  • Overall score: 83.0
  • Career outcomes score: 75
  • Cost and financial aid score: 93
  • Return on investment score: 81

 

44 (tie). Brigham Young University

 

  • Location: Provo, UT
  • Overall score: 83.0
  • Career outcomes score: 81
  • Cost and financial aid score: 85
  • Return on investment score: 83

 

43. Bucknell University

 

  • Location: Lewisburg, PA
  • Overall score: 83.7
  • Career outcomes score: 89
  • Cost and financial aid score: 76
  • Return on investment score: 86

 

42. North Carolina State University

 

  • Location: Raleigh, NC
  • Overall score: 84.3
  • Career outcomes score: 76
  • Cost and financial aid score: 92
  • Return on investment score: 85

 

41. American University

 

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Overall score: 84.7
  • Career outcomes score: 93
  • Cost and financial aid score: 68
  • Return on investment score: 93

 

40. Virginia Tech

 

  • Location: Blacksburg, VA
  • Overall score: 85.3
  • Career outcomes score: 76
  • Cost and financial aid score: 97
  • Return on investment score: 83

 

38 (tie). Saint Louis University

 

  • Location: St. Louis, MO
  • Overall score: 86.0
  • Career outcomes score: 86
  • Cost and financial aid score: 84
  • Return on investment score: 88

 

38 (tie). Case Western

 

  • Location: Cleveland, OH
  • Overall score: 86.0
  • Career outcomes score: 95
  • Cost and financial aid score: 79
  • Return on investment score: 84

 

37. University of Arkansas

 

  • Location: Fayetteville, AR
  • Overall score: 86.3
  • Career outcomes score: 79
  • Cost and financial aid score: 97
  • Return on investment score: 83

 

36. Louisiana Tech

 

  • Location: Ruston, LA
  • Overall score: 87.3
  • Career outcomes score: 81
  • Cost and financial aid score: 99
  • Return on investment score: 82

 

35. Louisiana State

 

  • Location: Baton Rouge, LA
  • Overall score: 88.0
  • Career outcomes score: 81
  • Cost and financial aid score: 99
  • Return on investment score: 84

 

33 (tie). Oregon State University

 

  • Location: Corvallis, OR
  • Overall score: 88.7
  • Career outcomes score: 82
  • Cost and financial aid score: 96
  • Return on investment score: 88

 

33 (tie). San Diego State

 

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Overall score: 88.7
  • Career outcomes score: 82
  • Cost and financial aid score: 99
  • Return on investment score: 85

 

32. The College of New Jersey

 

  • Location: Ewing Township, NJ
  • Overall score: 89.0
  • Career outcomes score: 84
  • Cost and financial aid score: 97
  • Return on investment score: 86

 

31. Oberlin College

 

  • Location: Oberlin, OH
  • Overall score: 89.3
  • Career outcomes score: 97
  • Cost and financial aid score: 77
  • Return on investment score: 94

 

30. University of Nebraska – Lincoln

 

  • Location: Lincoln, NE
  • Overall score: 89.7
  • Career outcomes score: 87
  • Cost and financial aid score: 98
  • Return on investment score: 84

 

29. Ursinus College

 

  • Location: Collegeville, PA
  • Overall score: 90.0
  • Career outcomes score: 92
  • Cost and financial aid score: 88
  • Return on investment score: 90

 

27 (tie). University of Illinois – Chicago

 

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Overall score: 90.7
  • Career outcomes score: 89
  • Cost and financial aid score: 96
  • Return on investment score: 87

 

27 (tie). University of Kansas

 

  • Location: Lawrence, KS
  • Overall score: 90.7
  • Career outcomes score: 86
  • Cost and financial aid score: 99
  • Return on investment score: 87

 

25 (tie). Drexel University

 

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Overall score: 91.0
  • Career outcomes score: 95
  • Cost and financial aid score: 85
  • Return on investment score: 93

 

25 (tie). Kansas State University

 

  • Location: Manhattan, KS
  • Overall score: 91.0
  • Career outcomes score: 87
  • Cost and financial aid score: 99
  • Return on investment score: 87

 

Not sure how to get started with the Common App?

Our free webinar will teach you how to use the Common App, organize your activities, answer the essay prompts, and more!

 

24. Miami University – Oxford

 

  • Location: Oxford, OH
  • Overall score: 91.3
  • Career outcomes score: 92
  • Cost and financial aid score: 89
  • Return on investment score: 93

 

21 (tie). University of New Mexico

 

  • Location: Albuquerque, NM
  • Overall score: 91.7
  • Career outcomes score: 85
  • Cost and financial aid score: 99
  • Return on investment score: 91

 

21 (tie). Oklahoma State University

 

  • Location: Stillwater, OK
  • Overall score: 91.7
  • Career outcomes score: 85
  • Cost and financial aid score: 100
  • Return on investment score: 90

 

21 (tie). University of Texas – El Paso

 

  • Location: El Paso, TX
  • Overall score: 91.7
  • Career outcomes score: 83
  • Cost and financial aid score: 100
  • Return on investment score: 92

 

20. Texas Tech University

 

  • Location: Lubbock, TX
  • Overall score: 93.0
  • Career outcomes score: 88
  • Cost and financial aid score: 99
  • Return on investment score: 92

 

19. University of Utah

 

  • Location: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Overall score: 93.3
  • Career outcomes score: 89
  • Cost and financial aid score: 100
  • Return on investment score: 91

 

18. University of Idaho

 

  • Location: Moscow, ID
  • Overall score: 93.7
  • Career outcomes score: 90
  • Cost and financial aid score: 100
  • Return on investment score: 91

 

14 (tie). Santa Clara University

 

  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • Overall score: 94.0
  • Career outcomes score: 98
  • Cost and financial aid score: 87
  • Return on investment score: 97

 

14 (tie). University of Missouri

 

  • Overall score: 94.0
  • Career outcomes score: 91
  • Cost and financial aid score: 98
  • Return on investment score: 93

 

14 (tie). University of Wyoming

 

  • Location: Laramie, WY
  • Overall score: 94.0
  • Career outcomes score: 90
  • Cost and financial aid score: 100
  • Return on investment score: 92

 

14 (tie). Washington State University

 

  • Location: Pullman, WA
  • Overall score: 94.0
  • Career outcomes score: 93
  • Cost and financial aid score: 97
  • Return on investment score: 92

 

13. Loyola University Maryland

 

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Overall score: 94.3
  • Career outcomes score: 98
  • Cost and financial aid score: 87
  • Return on investment score: 98

 

10 (tie). Wellesley College

 

  • Location: Wellesley, MA
  • Overall score: 95.0
  • Career outcomes score: 100
  • Cost and financial aid score: 86
  • Return on investment score: 99

 

10 (tie). University of Iowa

 

  • Location: Iowa City, IA
  • Overall score: 95.0
  • Career outcomes score: 93
  • Cost and financial aid score: 97
  • Return on investment score: 95

 

10 (tie). West Virginia University

 

  • Location: Morgantown, WV
  • Overall score: 95.0
  • Career outcomes score: 91
  • Cost and financial aid score: 100
  • Return on investment score: 94

 

9. Babson College

 

  • Location: Wellesley, MA
  • Overall score: 95.3
  • Career outcomes score: 100
  • Cost and financial aid score: 86
  • Return on investment score: 100

 

7 (tie). Fordham University

 

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Overall score: 95.7
  • Career outcomes score: 99
  • Cost and financial aid score: 89
  • Return on investment score: 99

 

7 (tie). University of Texas – Austin

 

  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Overall score: 95.7
  • Career outcomes score: 95
  • Cost and financial aid score: 92
  • Return on investment score: 100

 

6. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

 

  • Location: Worcester, MA
  • Overall score: 96.0
  • Career outcomes score: 96
  • Cost and financial aid score: 94
  • Return on investment score: 98

 

5. George Mason University

 

  • Location: Fairfax, VA
  • Overall score: 96.3
  • Career outcomes score: 99
  • Cost and financial aid score: 91
  • Return on investment score: 99

 

4. City College of New York

 

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Overall score: 97.0
  • Career outcomes score: 97
  • Cost and financial aid score: 98
  • Return on investment score: 96

 

3. Binghamton University

 

  • Location: Binghamton, NY
  • Overall score: 97.3
  • Career outcomes score: 99
  • Cost and financial aid score: 95
  • Return on investment score: 98

 

2. University of Houston

 

  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Overall score: 98.0
  • Career outcomes score: 95
  • Cost and financial aid score: 99
  • Return on investment score: 100

 

1. San Jose State

 

  • Location: San Jose, CA
  • Overall score: 99.3
  • Career outcomes score: 99
  • Cost and financial aid score: 99
  • Return on investment score: 100

 

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Veronica Wickline
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Veronica is an alumna of Harvard College, where she earned her A.B. in History and Classics. After graduating, she joined CollegeVine serving as the Curriculum Development Manager. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA and is writing her debut novel.