There's a lot of debate about the pros and cons of private versus public colleges. But when you get down to the numbers, many great schools exist both categories.
Business Insider recently released its annual list of the 50 best colleges in America, which emphasized schools with high graduation rates, early-career earnings, and top-notch student life experiences.
The ranking also took into account the annual net cost of each school — the average cost of tuition for all students that applied for financial aid, after accounting for the amount of financial aid received — according to the US government's College Scorecard. (Read more about the methodology here.)
Business Insider expanded its scope to the top 100 schools and then filtered the ranking to highlight the best public institutions in the country — many of which provide an excellent education at a very low net cost.
The University of Virginia topped the list, earning a top 10 spot on the main ranking as well. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and University of California at Berkeley rounded out the top three.
Read on to check out the full list of the 14 best public colleges in America.
SEE ALSO: The 50 best colleges in America
14. College of William and Mary
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
Median salary 10 years after enrolling: $56,400
Average SAT score: 1358
Student life score: B+
Annual net cost: $24,377
Chartered by King William III and Queen Mary II of England in 1693, the College of William and Mary stands as the second-oldest college in America, behind Harvard. The school welcomes students from all over the world, including 49 US states and 68 different countries. Students end up exploring the world as well: Nearly 50% study abroad during their tenure at the school.
13. University of California at Santa Barbara
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Median salary 10 years after enrolling: $52,000
Average SAT score: 1212
Student life score: A+
Annual net cost: $14,142
UC Santa Barbara is a global leader in science research and home to a well-established environmental-studies program that’s had profound impact on the local, state, and national levels. Located on a 1,000-acre stretch of central California coast and serving about 19,360 undergraduate students, UCSB’s campus is the site of eight National Science Foundation-sponsored institutes, including the Southern California Earthquake Center and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.
12. University of Delaware
Location: Newark, Delaware
Median salary 10 years after enrolling: $54,300
Average SAT score: 1178
Student life score: A
Annual net cost: $15,998
Located between New York City and Washington, DC, University of Delaware is a place for students who want to experience a little bit of everything. The research-focused university was the first to launch a study-abroad program when a group of UDel students set sail for France in 1923, and now over 30% of UDel students study abroad every year.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider