These are the Most Affordable Universities in the U.S. and Worldwide

As college costs continue to soar, Credit Summit has researched the cheapest places to go to college in order to rack up the least debt.

College costs throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world have been steadily increasing for years, with many students now graduating with a significant amount of student debt.

Every university student is all too familiar with the stress of attempting to plan financially for your chosen degree. As college costs continue to soar across the globe, Credit Summit has researched the cheapest places to go to college in order to rack up the least debt and take some of the stress out of the process.

Student loan debt is the fastest-growing debt in the U.S., and is currently the second largest slice of household debt – trailing only mortgage debt. In fact, it’s so pervasive that total student loan debt is expected to exceed $2 trillion by 2024 and $3 trillion by 2038.

With this in mind, Credit Summit created an index of accommodation costs, college fees, loan availability, and other factors such as average rent and food costs to help incoming students figure out which colleges – both in the U.S. and internationally – might be the best bet for them to save on costs.

To calculate the index list, Credit Summit analyzed some of the top college towns in the United States, examining the costs of food, tuition, fees, accommodation, travel, and entertainment in each city. From there, Credit Summit enlisted a Ph.D-level data expert to complete the calculations, assuming that the student has no dependents.

University of Wisconsin — La Crosse Tops the U.S. List

Credit Summit’s index revealed that to come away with the least debt, students across the globe who are considering undertaking their bachelor’s degree in the U.S. may be looking to head to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse for college, which topped the company’s U.S. list.

Also rounding out the top five list were the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Harrisburg, Pa., Florida State University in Tallahassee, and the University of Wyoming.

25 Most Affordable Colleges in the U.S.

Cities With the Lowest Average Student Loan Debt

Regarding the cities with the lowest average student loan debt, Las Cruces, N.M., topped the list with an average student loan debt of $20,868. Meanwhile, two California cities, Santa Barbara and Pasadena, were tied for second, at $21,125 each.

Other Californian cities such as Pasadena, Davis, San Jose, Los Angeles, Chico, Berkeley, and Stanford also dominated the top ten list – meaning prospective students may want to consider studying in California to keep loan costs down.

U.S. Student Loan Averages Breakdown

Safest Cities in the U.S.

Meanwhile, if low crime rates are your primary concern, you may be looking to join The Tribe at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg Va., which boasts the lowest crime score at 5. 

The University of California in Santa Barbara took the second spot at 8.87 and the University of Oklahoma landed at number three with a score of 12.5.

25 Safest Cities

Top Schools Globally

So what about the rest of the world?

To reduce costs, it’s important that Americans take advantage of various loan and grant programs, and look for affordable schools. It may even be worth considering heading overseas for a more-affordable education. In recent years, more graduates than ever before have been traveling outside of the US to study.

If you’re considering studying abroad to save on costs, then Credit Summit has also researched the most affordable cities for international students.

Credit Summit’s top 5 schools abroad in order to rack up the least debt as an international student are:

  1. Ankara University in Turkey with an average annual cost of $9,186.
  2. Anadolu University also in Turkey with a cost of $9,676.
  3. Nanjing University, China, at $11,774.28.
  4. West University of Timisoara, Romania at $12,176.
  5. University of Buenos Aires at $12,595 annually.

Global Top 25

UK and Ireland’s Most Affordable Options

As part of their research, Credit Summit also took a deep dive into costs for some of the top universities across both Ireland and the United Kingdom.

UK’s Most Affordable Universities

Credit Summit’s data also revealed that in order to come away with the least debt, students across the globe considering a degree in the UK may want to consider the University of Birmingham. 

The University of Leeds also topped the list, with Northumbria placing at number three, the University of Brighton came in fourth and Aberystwyth University landed the fifth spot.

UK’s Safest Cities

Meanwhile, if low crime rates are top of your list of criteria, then you may be looking to head to the University of St. Andrews, which took home first place for safest colleges with a low crime score of just 4.17, with Durham University taking the second spot at 19.22 and the University of Cambridge landing third place at 26.79.

Ireland’s Most Affordable Universities

Meanwhile, if students are looking to head to Ireland during their college career, then they may be interested to know that Waterford University topped Credit Summit’s list, followed by the University of Limerick (UL), with Maynooth placing third, the University of Galway coming in fourth, and Dublin’s Trinity College landing the fifth spot.

Safest Irish Cities

The University of Galway landed on top for the safest Irish universities with a crime score of 27.08. The University of Cork took the second spot with a crime rate of 35.37 and the University of Limerick landed third place with a score of 45.89.

The Bottom Line

There’s no question that higher education is expensive, and student loan debt is preventing many Americans from saving for an emergency or building a solid financial foundation. But there are ways to reduce the costs of college by examining the schools that offer the best value and completing some basic coursework at a local community college. 

Work-study programs, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans can also help to offset costs. 

If you’re already struggling to repay a crippling student loan debt, consider debt consolidation, and be sure to research forgiveness options to see whether there’s a way to reduce what you owe.

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