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Obtaining a university degree is an investment with considerable rewards. Adults with a high school diploma earn on average $ 32,000 more per year than those with a high school diploma. This increase in income can mean a big difference in the quality of life, ranging from the ability to afford housing, to lower cases of poverty, and even to a longer life expectancy.

While these statistics are all good reasons to go to college, education often comes at a high price. Over the past 10 years, public and private college tuition fees have increased by more than 25%, and student loan debt has grown at the same time. In 2019, the average cost per year of a private college education was $ 48,510, while at a public college it was $ 21,370. As a result, many students choose to attend a public university, where they can potentially get cheaper tuition fees and better value for money.

Public universities, which are publicly funded, are generally less expensive than their private counterparts, mainly because they don’t have to rely solely on tuition fees to stay solvent. And while there is a long-held assumption that teaching in a private school is somehow “better” than a state university, public schools often offer the same types of degrees as private degrees, and depending on the student, can sometimes provide a better fit for their education.

compiled a list of America’s Best Public Colleges using data released in 2021. Niche ranks schools based on a variety of factors including academics, admissions, costs, and student life. The Niche methodology can be found here.

Take a look at some of the best public schools in the country.

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