College tuition is a concern for many Americans, but here in Houston, there are options that make it a little easier on the wallet. Money magazine recently unveiled its Best Colleges for Your Money for 2019-20, and three local universities made the cut.
Money's annual report is an analysis of the country's institutions of higher education, "ranging from elite colleges and public universities to smaller specialized colleges."
In order to determine the best colleges, Money compared each school based on three points, all weighted equally to find the final score:
- Quality of education: Graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratio, Pell Grant recipients, etc.
- Affordability: Net costs, time it takes to earn a degree, amount of money borrowed, and student-loan default and repayment rates after graduation.
- Outcomes: Post-graduation salaries, socioeconomic background of the student body, and mix of majors.
Topping the local list is Rice University at No. 24 out of 744 schools. On average, tuition at Rice will cost $66,000 for the 2019-20 school year, but students will only pay an average of $25,800 after grants.
The school also has an outstanding ratio of debt ($11,200) to early career earnings ($69,200).
In the 236th spot is the University of Houston. UH's tuition is estimated to be $26,100 for the upcoming year, but students pay an average of $16,700 after financial aid.
UH's students have a reasonable ratio of debt to early career earnings: $19,250 to $55,000, respectively.
University of St. Thomas was the only other local school to appear on the list. At No. 431, St. Thomas has an estimated tuition of $48,600 for the upcoming year, but students pay an average of $20,500, thanks to grants.
The school's ratio of debt to early career earnings is similar to UH's: $22,500 to $49,500, respectively.
Texas and beyond
Texas A&M ranked best in Texas at No. 18. On average, tuition will cost $29,700 for the 2019-20 school year, but Aggies will only pay an average of $20,900 after grants.
The College Station school also had a solid ratio of debt ($18,520) to early career earnings ($59,000).
In total, Texas has 21 institutions on the list, including The University of Texas at Austin (No. 28), The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (No. 193), and The University of Texas at Dallas (No. 271).
Meanwhile, the top five best colleges for your money are: University of California - Irvine, City University of New York - Baruch College, Princeton University, University of California - Los Angeles, and University of California - Davis.