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Last updated on September 11th, 2023 at 07:51 pm

Choosing the right university is a crucial decision that often revolves around more than just academics. For many students, affordability plays a significant role in this choice.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of budget-friendly universities in the US, complete with a comprehensive affordability index. Our index takes into account the cost of living, socializing expenses, and average attendance costs, providing you with a well-rounded view of each institution’s affordability.

The majority of our data comes from the U.S. Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Methodology

 
Over 2,000 universities were evaluated as part of this study.

To create our list, we analyzed various factors, assigning each university a score out of 10 for three key components: cost of accommodation, socializing expenses, and average attendance costs. The total score out of 30 was then converted into an overall affordability index out of 10, with 10 being the most affordable.

 

Top Budget-Friendly Universities in the US

 

1. University of Florida

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 8/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 9/10
  • Fees Index: 7/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 8/10

The University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville offers an exceptional education at an affordable price. With a Cost of Accommodation Index of 8/10, students have access to reasonably priced housing options in the area.

UF’s Socializing Cost Index of 9/10 reflects the vibrant campus life and numerous extracurricular activities available to students. With a strong academic reputation and relatively low living costs, UF is an attractive option for those seeking a well-rounded and affordable college experience.

 

 

2. University of Texas at El Paso

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 8/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 7/10
  • Fees Index: 9/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 8/10

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) offers an affordable education in a culturally rich border town. With a Cost of Accommodation Index of 8/10, students find reasonably priced housing options in El Paso. The city’s lower living costs allow students to stretch their budgets, while UTEP’s high-quality programs, particularly in engineering and business, make it a top choice for those seeking an excellent education without breaking the bank.

 
top-budget-friendly-universities-in-the-us-el-paso
 

3. University of Alabama

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 8/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 8/10
  • Fees Index: 7/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 7.67/10

The University of Alabama (UA) in Tuscaloosa combines Southern charm with affordability. With a Cost of Accommodation Index of 8/10, students can find reasonably priced housing options in this welcoming college town.

The Socializing Cost Index of 8/10 reflects the lively campus atmosphere and the many opportunities for engagement. UA’s competitive tuition fees, strong academic programs, and rich cultural heritage make it a compelling choice for budget-conscious students.

 
top-budget-friendly-universities-in-the-us-alabama
 

4. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 7/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 8/10
  • Fees Index: 8/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 7.67/10

UNC Charlotte stands out for its affordability, boasting a Cost of Accommodation Index of 7/10. Students can find reasonably priced housing options both on and off-campus.

The Socializing Cost Index of 8/10 indicates that there are ample opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities without straining your budget. UNCC’s diverse academic offerings and proximity to Charlotte’s thriving job market make it a great choice for those looking to balance academics and affordability.

 
top-budget-friendly-universities-in-the-us-charlotte
 

5. University of Kansas

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 7/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 8/10
  • Fees Index: 8/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 7.67/10

Located in Lawrence, the University of Kansas offers a balanced blend of affordability and a vibrant campus atmosphere. With a Cost of Accommodation Index of 7/10, students can find housing that fits their budget in this welcoming college town.

The Socializing Cost Index of 8/10 reflects the various social activities and events that make KU a lively place to study. With competitive tuition fees and a commitment to academic excellence, the University of Kansas is an excellent choice for those looking for value in their education.
 
top-budget-friendly-universities-in-the-us-kansas
 

6. University of South Florida

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 8/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 8/10
  • Fees Index: 7/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 7.67/10

The University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa combines affordability with a vibrant campus life. With a Cost of Accommodation Index of 8/10, students can find reasonably priced housing options in the Tampa Bay area.

USF’s Socializing Cost Index of 8/10 highlights the various social activities available in the region. The university’s strong academic programs and its location in a thriving city make it an excellent choice for those seeking an affordable yet enriching college experience.

 
top-budget-friendly-universities-in-the-us-UOSF
 

7. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 6/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 9/10
  • Fees Index: 7/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 7.33/10

Located in the entertainment capital of the world, UNLV offers students a unique blend of affordability and excitement.

With a Socializing Cost Index of 9/10, Las Vegas provides countless opportunities for social engagement. While the Cost of Accommodation Index stands at 6/10 due to the city’s higher housing costs, UNLV’s reasonable tuition fees and the city’s vibrant atmosphere make it an attractive option for students who want a dynamic college experience.

 
top-budget-friendly-universities-in-the-us-las-vegas
 

8. Arizona State University

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 6/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 9/10
  • Fees Index: 7/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 7.33/10

Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe combines affordability with the dynamic environment of a large research institution. With a Socializing Cost Index of 9/10, Tempe offers abundant opportunities for social engagement.

While the Cost of Accommodation Index is 6/10 due to varying housing costs, ASU’s commitment to accessibility, diverse academic programs, and proximity to the Phoenix metropolitan area make it an appealing choice for students who want to experience a thriving urban environment without the hefty price tag.

 

top-budget-friendly-universities-in-the-us-arizona

 

9. Georgia State University

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 7/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 7/10
  • Fees Index: 8/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 7.33/10

Georgia State University, situated in the heart of Atlanta, offers an affordable education with a Cost of Accommodation Index of 7/10. While Atlanta’s living costs can vary, students can find housing options that fit their budgets.

With a Fees Index of 8/10, GSU provides a competitive education at a reasonable price. The city’s cultural diversity and numerous internship opportunities further enhance the university’s appeal for budget-conscious students.
 
top-budget-friendly-universities-in-the-us-georgia
 

10. Indiana University Bloomington

 

  • Cost of Accommodation Index: 7/10
  • Socializing Cost Index: 7/10
  • Fees Index: 8/10
  • Overall Affordability Index: 7.33/10

Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) offers a well-rounded educational experience in a town with a moderate cost of living. With a Cost of Accommodation Index of 7/10, students can find affordable housing options in Bloomington.

The Socializing Cost Index of 7/10 reflects the diverse range of student activities available. With competitive tuition fees and a strong commitment to academics and the arts, IU Bloomington is a great choice for those seeking an enriching and affordable college experience in the Midwest.

 

top-budget-friendly-universities-in-the-us-indiana
 
 

The Data – Top Budget-Friendly Universities in the US

 

Rank University Name Cost of Accommodation Index Socializing Cost Index Fees Index Overall Affordability Index
1 University of Florida 8 9 7 8
2 University of Texas at El Paso 8 7 9 8
3 University of Alabama 8 8 7 7.67
4 University of North Carolina at Charlotte 7 8 8 7.67
5 University of Kansas 7 8 8 7.67
6 University of South Florida 8 8 7 7.67
7 University of Nevada, Las Vegas 6 9 7 7.33
8 Arizona State University 6 9 7 7.33
9 Georgia State University 7 7 8 7.33
10 Indiana University Bloomington 7 7 8 7.33

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Justine Gray

Justine Gray is a contributor to Pheabs, sharing more than 10 years of experience in the consumer finance industry across the US. Follow her guides for financial advice, money saving tips and more. Follow them on Linkedin and Youtube.