20 Colleges That Give You the Most Bang For Your Buck

20 Colleges That Give You the Most Bang For Your Buck

Thinking about college? Think about these stats: 

- Tuition price in America has seen a staggering 1,000% increase over the last 30 years.

- A college budget for an in-state public college for the 2012–2013 academic year averaged $22,261. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $43,289.

- American student debt has reached $1 trillion.

- Unemployment for recent grads has seen all-time highs, at 15% last month.

Phew.

College, now more than ever, is an investment, and it's time you started thinking about your college education as the most important investment of your life.. If you want to avoid being buried by a mountain of debt upon graduation, look no further than this 2013 Best Bang for the Buck college ranking, which compiles the country's most financially convenient colleges according to criteria that includes the following:

- Percentage of students with a household income of $50,000, or less, who receive Pell Grants; 

- Graduation rate (percentage of students who successfully finish their degrees, increasing the chances of getting employment);

- Default rate (percentage of students who have defaulted on their student debt loans);

- Net price (the average tuition that first-time, full-time students pay after subtracting the need-based financial aid);

Here are the best choices: 

1. Amherst College

Location: Massachusetts

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 23%

Graduation rate: 96%

Default rate: 1%

Net price: $843.

2. CUNY Queens College

Location: Kew Gardens Hills, Queens in New York City

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 45%

Graduation rate: 53%

Default rate: 5%

Net price: $2,757.

3. CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College

Location: Flatiron District of Manhattan, New York City

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 51%

Graduation rate: 63%

Default rate: 3%

Net Price: $3,429

4. CA State University-Fullerton

Location: Fullerton, California

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 38%

Graduation rate: 50%

Default rate: 6%

Net Price: $3,489

5. University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, Florida

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 29%

Graduation rate: 84%

Default rate: 3%

Net Price: $4,132

6. CA State University-Long Beach

Location: Long Beach, California

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 47%

Graduation rate: 54%

Default rate: 5%

Net Price: $5,699

7. University of Georgia

Location: Athens, Georgia

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 22%

Graduation rate: 82%

Default rate: 3%

Net Price: $6,335

8. University of NC-Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 20%

Graduation rate: 89%

Default rate: 1%

Net Price: $6,949

9. Appalachian State University

Location: Boone, North Carolina

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 23%

Graduation rate: 65%

Default rate: 3%

Net Price: $7,077

10. NC State University-Raleigh

Location: Raleight, North Carolina

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 25%

Graduation rate: 72%

Default rate: 3%

Net Price: $7,345

11. Texas A&M University-College Station

Location: College Station, Texas

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 23%

Graduation rate: 81%

Default rate: 5%

Net Price: $7,383

12. Brigham Young University-Idaho

Location: Rexburg, Idaho

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 28%

Graduation rate: 52%

Default rate: 2%

Net Price: $7,480

13. University of NC-Wilmington

Location: Wilmington, North Carolina

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 22%

Graduation rate: 67%

Default rate: 5%

Net Price: $7,790

14. San Diego State University

Location: San Diego, California

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 29%

Graduation rate: 66%

Default rate: 4%

Net Price: $8,066

15. Arizona State University

Location: Phoenix, Arizona 

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 35%

Graduation rate: 57%

Default rate: 6%

Net Price: $8,088

16. Williams College

Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 21%

Graduation rate: 95%

Default rate: 1%

Net Price: $8,093

17. Indiana University-Bloomington

Location: Bloomington, Indiana

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 21%

Graduation rate: 72%

Default rate: 3%

Net Price: $8,129

18. Rutgers University-Camden

Location: Camden, New Jersey

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 37%

Graduation rate: 61%

Default rate: N/A

Net Price: $8,202

19. University of Washington-Seattle

Location: Seattle, Washington

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 24%

Graduation rate: 80%

Default rate: 3%

Net Price: $8,334

20. Florida State University

Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Percentage of students who receive Pell Grants: 28%

Graduation rate: 74%

Default rate: 5%

Net Price: $8,447