Top 10 Best Public Colleges in the U.S 2024 by Wall Street Journal
Besides private schools, public colleges and universities in the US also have their own strengths that parents and students should not ignore.
The Best Colleges rankings for 2024 have been published by the US News & World Report, incorporating a notable adjustment in methodology that places greater emphasis on student outcomes and social mobility. This revision aims to provide a comprehensive resource for prospective students worldwide.
1. University of California, Berkeley (tie)
1. University of California, Los Angeles (tie)
3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
5. University of Virginia
The Wall Street Journal has listed the top 10 public colleges and universities for 2024 below. The Wall Street Journal used a survey of more than 60,900 students and alumni in addition to the most recent federal data on salary outcomes to identify the top colleges and universities in the United States. Three weighted categories were then developed by the publication to evaluate the colleges.
KnowInsiders.com compiles the fundamental knowledge about the Top 10 public universities in America in 2024 and presents it.
Average Net Price: $3,679
Value added to graduate salary: $44,468
Public university University of Florida was established in 1853. There are 34,552 undergraduate students enrolled in total (fall 2022), the campus is 2,000 acres in size, and the location is a city. The academic calendar is based on semesters. University of Florida is ranked #28 in National Universities in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges by US News & World Report. $6,381 is the in-state tuition and fees, and $28,658 is the out-of-state tuition and fees.
Due to the university’s more than 50,000 students, Gainesville, a college town, is only two miles from the university. The alligator mascots Albert and Alberta cheer on the Florida Gators sports teams as they compete in the NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference. Particularly infamous is the Gator football team, which plays in the venue known as “The Swamp” or Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
After freshmen Gators took part in an experiment with the new beverage in 1965, the group came to serve as the inspiration for the well-known sports drink Gatorade. Every Homecoming weekend, the Gator Growl is billed as the biggest student-run pep rally in the country. The more than 60 fraternities and sororities at the school represent about 15% of the student body. Although it is not required for freshmen to live on campus, more than 75% choose to. Every Friday, Gator Nights, which provide free late-night entertainment and midnight snacks, are open to all students.
The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, Warrington College of Business, Levin College of Law, and College of Medicine at this institution all offer highly regarded graduate programs. The retirement community Oak Hammock, where students can work, complete internships, and find mentors, is also integrated with the university. Bob Vila, the star of the home improvement television show, Steve Spurrier, the winner of the Heisman Trophy, and the late Sens. Bob Graham and Connie Mack are all notable University of Florida alums.
Average net price: $17,093
Value added to graduate salary: $56,495
In six specialized schools, NJIT offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs taught by knowledgeable faculty, 98% of whom have earned the highest degree in their field. The appropriate accrediting commissions, boards, and associations, including the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), have fully accredited the academic programs.
Their extensive CPE courses and online programs provide crucial training for working professionals, and their competitive industry internships can help you land one of your own.
We rank first in New Jersey for awarding engineering degrees to African-American and Hispanic students, and they have incredible students from all over the world. Your life and future will be impacted by the friends and connections you make at NJIT, whether it be through one of the more than 130 student clubs and organizations (excluding Greeks) or dozens of volunteer opportunities.
NJIT is situated in downtown Newark’s thriving University Heights neighborhood, only 20 train minutes from Manhattan.
Average net price: $17,086
Value added to graduate salary: $54,580
Public university University of Michigan—Ann Arbor was established in 1817. The campus spans 3,207 acres, has a total undergraduate enrollment of 32,695 (fall 2022), and is located in a city. It makes use of an academic calendar based on trimesters. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is ranked number 21 nationally in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges. There are two tuition and fee rates: in-state is $17,786 and out-of-state is $57,273.
The university extols Ann Arbor as one of the top college towns in the country, despite being only 45 minutes from Detroit. Although housing is provided, freshmen are not required to live on campus. The school has 62 Greek chapters and more than 1,500 student organizations that students can join. At Michigan, sports are extremely important, and the football team’s fierce rivalry with Ohio State is just one example.
In addition to the highly regarded School of Dentistry and Taubman College for Architecture and Urban Planning, Michigan offers a number of graduate programs that are ranked highly, including the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, College of Engineering, Law School, and Medical School. One of the best hospitals in the nation is the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers.
Average net price: $6,232
Value added to graduate salary: $32,946
The public research university in Miami is FIU. FIU is far ahead of other universities in its support of the academic and local communities, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees both on campus and entirely online.
As a top-tier research institution, FIU places a strong emphasis on research as a key part of the university’s mission. The Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences’ Discovery Lab and the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine are just two of the many colleges, schools, and centers that actively improve the university’s capacity to set new standards through research initiatives.
By addressing some of the biggest problems of our time, FIU has established itself as one of South Florida’s anchor institutions for more than 40 years. We are committed to improving both local and international communities. We are one of the top ten largest universities in the country, with more than 56,000 students, and more than 275,000 alumni, 165,000 of whom live and work in South Florida.
Average net price: $15,483
Value added to graduate salary: $50,368
Public university University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was established in 1867. 35,120 undergraduate students are enrolled in total (fall 2022), the campus is 1,783 acres in size, and the location is a city. The academic calendar is based on semesters. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is ranked #35 in National Universities in the Best Colleges edition for 2024. The cost of in-state tuition and fees is $17,572, while out-of-state costs are $36,068.
Only a few hours from Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, the University of Illinois is situated in the east-central Illinois twin cities of Urbana and Champaign. The school’s Fighting Illini are a part of the Big Ten Conference and compete in more than 20 NCAA Division I varsity sports. Nearly a quarter of the student body is involved in the university’s one of the biggest Greek systems in the nation. With more than 1,600 student organizations on campus, including professional, political, and philanthropic clubs, it’s not difficult to find something to do. Living on campus is a requirement for all freshmen.
There are fifteen colleges and schools at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Its College of Engineering, Department of Psychology, and School of Information Sciences are among the best in the nation. Additionally well-regarded are the school’s colleges of business, education, and law. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education places the University of Illinois as having the highest level of research activity. Disability access to all university services, curricula, and facilities was offered for the first time at this institution. The co-founder of YouTube, Steve Chen, and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert are notable alumni.
Average net price: $20,976
Value added to graduate salary: $44,877
The first public university in the state, Texas A&M, began operations in 1876. We are a research-intensive flagship university today, committed to graduating Aggie leaders who are ready to face the challenges of the future.
More than 69,000 students attend Texas A&M’s main campus in College Station, which is positioned in the center of the Houston-Dallas-Austin triangle and just two hours’ drive from 26 million of the state’s 28 million residents. There are an additional 5,200 students at the branch campuses in Galveston and Qatar, as well as in Texas at the locations of the School of Law, Higher Education Center at McAllen, and Health Science Center.
Texas A&M offers a wide range of options for study, including 133 undergraduate degree programs, 175 master’s degree programs, 92 doctoral degree programs, and 5 first professional degrees.
Average net price: $14,820
Value added to graduate salary: $71,375
One of the top public research universities in the country, the Georgia Institute of Technology enrolls over 45,000 students who attend classes on-site at the main campus in Atlanta, at Georgia Tech-Europe in France, at Georgia Tech-Shenzhen in China, via distance education, and online.
Students come from 149 nations and 50 states.
Engineering and computing at Tech The largest and most highly regarded institutions in the country are colleges. The Institute also provides excellent business, design, liberal arts, and science programs.
Georgia Tech is one of the most research-intensive universities in the country, with nearly $1.3 billion in research awards given each year among its six Colleges and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). It serves as a catalyst for economic growth across the nation, the Southeast, and the state of Georgia.
The goal of Georgia Tech is to produce leaders who will advance technology and enhance the human condition. Its mission and strategic plan are dedicated to improving people’s lives all over the world.
The Georgia Tech community has dared to envision and then produce solutions for a better future for more than 137 years. For everyone’s progress and service, the innovative culture and leadership are still in place.
Georgia Tech has many nationally recognized programs, all top-ranked by peers and publications alike, and is ranked in the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News and World Report.
Average net price: $12,867
Value added to graduate salary: $34,456
The University of Utah was established as a public university in 1850. There are 26,355 undergraduate students enrolled in total (fall 2022), the campus is 1,534 acres in size, and the location is urban. The academic calendar is based on semesters. The University of Utah is ranked #115 in National Universities in the Best Colleges edition of 2024. The cost of in-state tuition and fees is $10,287, while out-of-state costs are $33,045.
The University of Utah, also referred to as the U of U or simply The U, is a research, academic, and dominant sports institution based in Salt Lake City. College housing options for undergraduates include traditional residence halls, two- and four-bedroom apartments, and communities based around shared interests. The Brigham Young University teams compete against the Utah sports teams, known as the Utes, in the NCAA Division I PAC-12 Conference. The University of Utah manages a number of research institutes and centers, including the Center for High Performance Computing, the American West Center, and the Brain Institute.
Graduate students can pursue degree programs at the esteemed S.J. Quinney College of Law, David Eccles School of Business, College of Engineering, and College of Education of the University of Utah. The only medical school in the state is the University of Utah School of Medicine, which is renowned for its primary care program in particular. Alan Ashton, a co-founder of WordPerfect, Nolan Bushnell, the creator of Chuck E. Cheese’s and Atari Inc., and John Warnock, a co-founder of Adobe Systems Inc. are notable graduates of the University of Utah.
Average net price: $21,724
Value added to graduate salary: $47,076
In its early years, UConn was known as the Storrs Agricultural School. It was given the names Charles and Augustus Storrs in honor of the brothers who provided the school with both the initial funding and the land. Incorporated in 1887, the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1893, the year it changed its name to Storrs Agricultural College and became Connecticut’s land-grant college, women were permitted to enroll and were formally admitted in 1891. The name was once more changed to Connecticut Agricultural College in 1899, and then to Connecticut State College in 1933. The College of Agriculture is the university’s oldest college and professional school in its current configuration.
It is located in a rural area, has an overall undergraduate enrollment of 18,983 (fall 2022), and has a 4,076-acre campus. The academic calendar is based on semesters. University of Connecticut is ranked #58 nationally in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges. Tuition and fees are $20,366 for in-state students and $43,034 for out-of-state students.
A fitting name for a college surrounded by farms was the Storrs Agricultural School, which is now known as the University of Connecticut. Storrs is a sleepy town that can be reached by car in about 30 minutes from Hartford, 60 from Providence, Rhode Island, and 90 from Boston. Students can participate in the more than 450 clubs and organizations on campus, including more than 30 fraternities and sororities, without engaging in many activities off campus.
Additionally, they can watch a movie in the on-campus theater and skate for no charge on the school’s ice rink. Students place a lot of importance on sports, and the UConn Huskies compete in the NCAA Division I American Athletic Conference, where their basketball teams are particularly fierce rivals. Although it is not required for freshmen to live on campus, more than 70% of all undergraduates do so. Before final exams each year, students congregate for Spring Weekend, a multi-day festival that got its start in the 1940s as the school’s Campus Community Carnival.
The highly regarded Neag School of Education is one of many graduate programs offered by the University of Connecticut. The university that the state of Connecticut funds for sea grant research and outreach to the area’s waterways is UConn. WNBA star Sue Bird, former Nintendo senior vice president George Harrison, and Nobel Prize-winning physicist David Lee are just a few notable University of Connecticut alums.
Average net price: $1,936
Value added to graduate salary: $45,078
Baruch College continues the tradition of the Free Academy, the first free public college in the nation, founded in 1847. A landmark building at 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue houses Baruch’s Free Academy. The 1919 City College School of Business and Civic Administration was renamed in 1953 in honor of statesman, financier, and devoted alumnus Bernard M. Baruch. CUNY made the school an independent senior college in 1968.
The College continues the Free Academy and City University’s mission by offering diverse students educational opportunities. As a vibrant, urban, multicultural school, Baruch attracts driven, accomplished students who want to succeed. Baruch graduates are renowned for their academic prowess and drive. It produces talented professionals that keep New York City thriving in a changing global economy.
Baruch has three undergraduate and graduate schools: the Zicklin School of Business, the nation’s largest and most respected; the Mildred and George Weissman School of Arts and Sciences; and the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Through its Division of Continuing and Professional Studies, the College offers non-degree and certificate programs.
Baruch College is in one of the world’s most dynamic financial and cultural centers, on Lexington Avenue near Flatiron and Gramercy Park in Manhattan. Wall Street, Midtown, the UN, and major corporations’ global headquarters are easily accessible from the College. This “real-world classroom” enhances Baruch education and provides unmatched internship, career, and networking opportunities. Many of the nation’s top executives are Baruch alumni and visit campus to teach students.
Baruch students represent 155 nations, reflecting NYC’s diversity. This diverse population and life experiences create a rich social and academic environment that enhances learning and prepares students for a global marketplace. Over 19,700 students enroll, including nearly 4,000 graduates.
Baruch faculty are world-renowned figures in their fields. They have excellent academic credentials and real-world experience. Full-time faculty advise student organizations and pre-professional programs and teach entry-level and advanced courses. Adjunct faculty are usually NYC business and professional people. Another 700 administrative and support staff work for Baruch. Many prestigious foundations and public agencies award faculty fellowships, grants, and awards.
The college’s annual faculty convocation honors faculty members for their scholarly and creative accomplishments, including books, edited collections, articles in top journals, major grants, exhibitions, and performances.
The three Baruch College schools offer 29 undergraduate majors, 60 undergraduate minors, and 56 graduate specializations/programs. BBA, BA, BS, and BSPA are undergraduate degrees, and MBA, MS, MPA, MIA, MSEd, MA, Executive MBA and MS, and Executive MPA are graduate degrees. The College hosts City University’s PhDs in business and industrial/organizational psychology and offers JD/MBA programs with Brooklyn Law School.
The Zicklin School of Business is the nation’s largest collegiate business school and the only CUNY school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the highest global standard for business schools.
The George and Mildred Weissman School of Arts and Sciences offers a broad arts and sciences education to all Baruch undergraduates, who must minor in them to graduate. In more than 50 fields, Weissman offers undergraduate degrees that combine theory and practice.
The Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs is known for its municipal government, nonprofit administration, policy analysis and evaluation, health care policy, and educational administration teaching, research, and service.
The College center is Baruch’s 17-story Newman Vertical Campus. The 800,000-square-foot building houses high-tech classrooms and research facilities; faculty and administrative offices; executive conference facilities; a three-level athletics and recreation complex; an expanded student activities center; the Baruch Performing Arts Complex, which includes the Rose Nagelberg Theatre and Engelman Recital Hall; and a 500-seat auditorium. The Newman Vertical Campus received the American Institute of Architects’ top building award.
Baruch’s 1,450-seat, 330,000-square-foot William and Anita Newman Library, located in the Information and Technology Building across from the new Newman Vertical Campus, offers several hundred online databases and print and electronic information resources. Library users can use on-site computers and thousands of full-text journals, newspapers, and books remotely seven days a week. Librarians answer text chat questions 24/7. The 2003 Association of College and Research Libraries Excellence in Academic Libraries Award named the library the nation’s best college library. In the Information and Technology Building, the Baruch Computing and Technology Center is New York City’s largest student computing center. It allows 250 students to use computers.
All the schools you would anticipate are at the very top of the Wall Street Journal/College Pulse list of the 2024 Best Colleges in the United States: Princeton University is ranked first, closely followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (No. 2), and Yale University (No. 3). The remaining three top universities are Stanford, Columbia, and Harvard.
Consider Babson College, a tiny private university close to Boston. It was ranked No. 10 among the top colleges in the US, up from No. 126 the previous year. The significant increase is due to the WSJ’s increased emphasis on the value added to student success as a result of their preferred college.
Babson, a longtime leader in entrepreneurship and No. 4 in P&Q’s most recent MBA entrepreneurship ranking, was honored for having a significant positive salary impact on the careers of its graduates. It had the fourth-highest earnings above a high school graduate’s yearly salary, coming in at $81,604, and was ranked No. 10 in the Salary Impact category. In fact, the Class of 2022 broke the previous record for Babson undergraduates by starting their first jobs with an average salary of $71,385, a 14% increase over the prior class.
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