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2020-09-15 -Washington Banner Ad

2020 Best Bang for the Buck Rankings: Southeast

Below are our rankings of America’s Best Bang for the Buck Colleges—our exclusive list of schools ranked according to how well they help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices. The list is created by isolating the social mobility metrics from the main rankings of four-year institutions. Click here for detailed methodology, here for all of our other rankings, and here to download the full data set.

RankName8-year graduation ratePell/non-Pell grad rate gapNumber of Pell graduatesFirst-gen studentsMedian earnings 10 years after entering collegePredicted median earnings 10 yrs after entering collegeNet price of attendance for families below $75,000 income% repaying $1 in loan principal 5 yrs after leaving coll.
1Georgetown University (DC)94%-1%21615%91036665871064089%
2Washington and Lee University (VA)90%-1%46N/A7531658550456692%
3Duke University (NC)96%2%23013%8131072776264692%
4Amridge University (AL)42%7%254%40788318131143937%
5University of Florida (FL)*88%-5%169530%5450454471602472%
6James Madison University (VA)*83%-8%41820%55463477351520489%
7Florida International University (FL)*64%1%131241%45668492621018162%
8North Carolina Wesleyan College (NC)55%3%3846%38249316461529047%
9Mary Baldwin University (VA)51%0%6740%37305312471591162%
10Bob Jones University (SC)62%-8%16215%N/A339921256886%
11Elizabeth City State University (NC)*43%-3%13735%3046328736226329%
12University of NC–Chapel Hill (NC)*90%-5%67720%5467758692720885%
13Radford University (VA)*64%-4%29132%43400416281422779%
14George Mason University (VA)*72%-4%46829%59661536701675579%
15Trinity Washington University (DC)44%2%6654%39537350111568640%
16University of Richmond (VA)83%2%10516%62983564901167379%
17University of NC–Greensboro (NC)*58%-2%58831%3713134749989164%
18University of Central Florida (FL)*72%-4%131835%44784489771253768%
19Davidson College (NC)94%-6%5115%5622555275935991%
20Florida Atlantic University (FL)*61%0%63339%4267345446878062%
21University of Mary Washington (VA)*71%-5%8924%51182482541565286%
22Augusta University (GA)*42%-6%9930%N/A412971322185%
23University of Virginia (VA)*94%-4%35416%61952624851132488%
24Columbia Southern University (AL)°50%-1%5754%N/A514881020053%
25Appalachian State University (NC)*72%-6%45324%38112422691002778%
26Florida State University (FL)*80%-6%128627%46044514031050771%
27Wake Forest University (NC)88%-5%10513%62544599151253291%
28College of William and Mary (VA)*91%-3%13012%5747562244670689%
29University of South Carolina–Upstate (SC)*52%-1%16535%37100392011356858%
30Voorhees College (SC)33%19%5844%25198237581712621%
31University of South Florida–Main (FL)*72%-1%106935%4298051992866564%
32Salem College (NC)56%-3%5134%34183312011516164%
33VA Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ. (VA)*84%-8%61018%61935584811493284%
34Georgia Institute of Technology–Main (GA)*86%-6%36515%78064762351036988%
35Univ. of S. Florida–St. Petersburg (FL)*52%1%8635%4298043102984864%
36Univ. of Virginia's College–Wise (VA)*44%-4%7740%3818434771979067%
37Embry-Riddle Aero. U.–Dayt. Beach (FL)57%-14%14735%64684497712837374%
38Georgia State University (GA)*58%1%89032%42639435611390952%
39George Washington University (DC)82%-2%22615%68773631442007686%
40Longwood University (VA)*68%-7%14229%41180407381653483%
41Johnson & Wales Univ.–North Miami (FL)49%-12%11234%37662328572166468%
42East Carolina University (NC)*63%-7%76027%40433394331263870%
43University of Mount Olive (NC)53%-14%4545%39004360891398355%
44Citadel: The Military College of SC (SC)*72%-13%9219%55662532781402177%
45Winston-Salem State University (NC)*56%-9%25135%33118324051071839%
46Bluefield College (VA)55%-17%1345%41255346682124260%
47Emory University (GA)91%-5%21617%63582672841398785%
48Flagler College–St. Augustine (FL)63%0%11428%38285349001945266%
49Concord University (WV)*39%-12%8946%3234029661739159%
50Brenau University (GA)50%-11%4040%42452333912004058%
51Wheeling Jesuit University (WV)57%-8%3334%44815442871491476%
52Averett University (VA)41%-3%5143%42797364961984658%
53Old Dominion University (VA)*57%-8%42433%43840420591306060%
54Univ. of NC–Pembroke (NC)*44%-2%23635%33791354501081349%
55Western Carolina University (NC)*61%-4%34332%37333393931259166%
56University of Georgia (GA)*84%-7%91919%49784513171180872%
57Warner University (FL)52%-20%2446%40217367661601050%
58Virginia State University (VA)*45%-9%32135%34817328721436235%
59Point University (GA)52%8%3138%32288356581739349%
60Jacksonville University (FL)49%7%11135%48344452842355662%
61Florida Gulf Coast University (FL)*56%-6%38836%42379453581234166%
62University of South Carolina–Aiken (SC)*46%-11%8533%36996342261338060%
63Virginia Military Institute (VA)*76%-9%4515%6399260577837987%
64University of Phoenix–Atlanta (GA)°26%-1%4554%N/A339701765432%
65North Carolina State Univ. (NC)*77%-8%68919%50827595031011881%
66University of North Florida (FL)*66%-6%28932%4301746510958565%
67Tuskegee University (AL)66%27%23924%36640442843360552%
68Wofford College (SC)80%0%70N/A51461507311876984%
69Claflin University (SC)50%-17%15634%28659258991943431%
70Catawba College (NC)56%-13%5331%39032379031752269%
71Florida Memorial University (FL)42%2%10145%27123294131694122%
72Dalton State College (GA)*25%-6%4852%3136832033747147%
73Fayetteville State University (NC)*44%-3%16341%3117934572539235%
74Univ. of North Carolina–Charlotte (NC)*58%-7%64728%43627467461283070%
75New College of Florida (FL)*68%0%3916%N/A34068788172%
76Francis Marion University (SC)*45%-1%18437%33566362301049750%
77Hodges University (FL)38%17%763%38820413681891137%
78Columbia College (SC)47%-10%5243%34199324211627652%
79Columbia International University (SC)69%-12%2123%30537316451647371%
80Lander University (SC)*47%-19%9632%34516288651298354%
81Bethune-Cookman University (FL)43%-10%24841%29619286641629127%
82University of West Florida (FL)*59%-8%23836%3786945628830661%
83Clayton State University (GA)*41%-6%9539%38593395611045345%
84Regent University (VA)45%-10%4739%41934364111733951%
85University of North Georgia (GA)*34%-9%13135%N/A39415851373%
86Piedmont College (GA)53%-10%4434%40710346881574156%
87Lees-McRae College (NC)53%-10%2339%34048347461880865%
88Spelman College (GA)76%-14%16920%47586386533656657%
89Thomas University (GA)22%24%644%35895355701988945%
90American Public Univ. System (WV)°23%-16%11755%N/A417451026443%
91Howard University (DC)61%17%48223%48320498152927540%
92Eastern Mennonite University (VA)69%-18%3932%39607424852144485%
93Ohio Valley University (WV)39%-7%21N/A35135348481595261%
94William Peace University (NC)48%-7%3731%35357356992103861%
95FL Agricultural & Mechanical Univ. (FL)*49%-10%54937%37024412281352641%
96University of Lynchburg (VA)60%-11%9929%43254428692036376%
97Saint Leo University (FL)43%-8%11649%43802432661723344%
98Barton College (NC)49%-16%5134%37297321832122162%
99Presbyterian College (SC)66%-7%4718%43312447751586484%
100Barry University (FL)53%-7%12644%45675444631803951%
101Bennett College (NC)44%-14%4734%29388218652065033%
102Univ. of NC–Wilmington (NC)*73%-7%29225%41041454101440069%
103West Liberty University (WV)*53%-12%11337%35521337781195056%
104Ferrum College (VA)32%-7%9339%37544367991958956%
105Christopher Newport Univ. (VA)*70%-6%14619%45247492771890884%
106Elon University (NC)82%-5%1018%50143484972414191%
107Chowan University (NC)26%-4%10538%34139284891625240%
108Greensboro College (NC)41%5%3234%36310357972488162%
109Alderson Broaddus University (WV)44%-17%4034%44159431701559768%
110Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)*65%-5%66027%43422454481761162%
111North Carolina Central Univ. (NC)*46%-4%44631%32911352441189228%
112Shepherd University (WV)*48%-11%10139%3951038914849559%
113Covenant College (GA)62%-6%52N/A40807395871906981%
114Agnes Scott College (GA)71%-8%9121%39043399751818766%
115Sweet Briar College (VA)67%-8%2919%38954377072087282%
116Marymount University (VA)62%-13%5128%53015494372263474%
117Georgia Gwinnett College (GA)*30%-3%17236%N/A428001222344%
118Clemson University (SC)*81%-14%37317%52450585141495583%
119Toccoa Falls College (GA)52%-11%4930%27543314681947572%
120Gallaudet University (DC)56%-7%4532%29311295731490762%
121Davis & Elkins College (WV)46%-13%3043%36750336791565358%
122Reinhardt University (GA)46%1%3736%37139406732006662%
123Limestone College (SC)52%-20%2544%37611344292302947%
124West Virginia University (WV)*59%-14%64731%4532946116972766%
125American University (DC)80%-4%25215%59916578312387883%
126Univ. of North Carolina–Asheville (NC)*64%-3%9421%3513341549981865%
127Southern Wesleyan University (SC)51%-17%3841%40966399711504952%
128Furman University (SC)82%-9%6812%48923500941977088%
129Virginia University of Lynchburg (VA)22%9%451%N/A290491724816%
130GA Southwestern State Univ. (GA)*44%-9%4335%36180362941179753%
131Rasmussen College–Florida (FL)°26%19%348%32159330801768834%
132Converse College (SC)57%-11%4528%32697308561820164%
133Winthrop University (SC)*56%-10%23129%36871380201586657%
134Coker University (SC)54%-8%4038%32466355041582249%
135Norfolk State University (VA)*43%-13%16338%34740345981382533%
136West Virginia Wesleyan College (WV)54%-20%6031%42329405231600773%
137LaGrange College (GA)51%-10%3726%40648411351926863%
138Morris College (SC)34%-10%6343%23758261311622419%
139Newberry College (SC)49%-1%6731%33793388451917459%
140Amer. InterCont. Univ.–Atlanta (GA)°20%-3%1156%39889376591759432%
141Judson College (AL)36%-7%1444%28347293781606559%
142University of West Georgia (GA)*45%-5%39932%38291370761437253%
143Bluefield State College (WV)*41%-20%1952%2779131188823138%
144Shorter University (GA)47%-17%5138%44600370351835847%
145College of Charleston (SC)*67%-8%29120%41157451391641467%
146Strayer University–Florida (FL)°22%0%053%48501418132454130%
147Herzing University–Atlanta (GA)°33%-12%153%41020379582310835%
148Wingate University (NC)50%-16%9130%41292380241608971%
149University of Miami (FL)81%-5%26419%58653646822105180%
150University of Montevallo (AL)*51%-13%8534%34797357011582562%
151Georgia Southern University (GA)*54%-7%70725%41414418731465758%
152University of Alabama at Birmingham (AL)*56%-12%28134%41217465371576958%
153Lenoir-Rhyne University (NC)53%-18%6530%37668382361794671%
154Fort Valley State University (GA)*31%-2%18334%29597289421319228%
155Alabama A&M University (AL)*35%-9%15038%31043336931479933%
156Valdosta State University (GA)*43%-12%33731%38218340721361052%
157Living Arts College (NC)°53%-15%1642%29417253212495329%
158Marshall University (WV)*49%-17%34138%3529132437747149%
159Virginia Wesleyan University (VA)51%-7%8432%39806378202308266%
160Glenville State College (WV)*29%1%3948%31697327071492240%
161Pfeiffer University (NC)49%-9%3436%37800389182056165%
162West Virginia Univ. Inst. of Tech. (WV)*24%-14%2431%4532944349777766%
163Altierus Career College–Tampa (FL)°51%-22%061%26722310671952116%
164Stillman College (AL)28%-10%5441%27592261851418426%
165Univ. of the District of Columbia (DC)*27%0%2252%35096399771628438%
166Emory and Henry College (VA)54%-16%5029%40020408101563577%
167University of North Alabama (AL)*43%-16%15637%37538381541100857%
168Stetson University (FL)65%-10%15625%42645455582435573%
169Auburn University (AL)*73%-15%34318%48184502612021578%
170Savannah State University (GA)*32%-3%24433%31275345681010626%
171Trinity Baptist College (FL)36%-21%1036%30566311321504158%
172North Carolina A&T State Univ. (NC)*48%-12%52329%3430437622952034%
173Mars Hill University (NC)39%-11%8135%31866396501512260%
174Strayer University–DC (DC)°19%0%053%48501453622355030%
175Bridgewater College (VA)61%-14%8031%42338463561746282%
176Erskine College and Seminary (SC)58%-9%3323%38301427312626780%
177University of West Alabama (AL)*32%-11%5239%36573337671286743%
178Georgia College & State Univ. (GA)*61%-7%14520%40399442651741273%
179Rollins College (FL)69%0%7623%44951469812584462%
180Univ. of South Carolina–Columbia (SC)*71%-12%57820%44272515751536473%
181Kennesaw State University (GA)*49%-5%53828%41888462741631361%
182Benedict College (SC)35%-9%19143%23428300801994217%
183Mercer University (GA)62%-11%11329%48230503851864757%
184Coastal Carolina University (SC)*48%-9%31528%38080431231443664%
185University of Mobile (AL)49%-26%3533%35813343291500152%
186Huntingdon College (AL)48%-20%3633%38513402831860261%
187Hollins University (VA)58%-7%3327%33918335941775362%
188Roanoke College (VA)66%-7%8521%44830463772328683%
189South University–Montgomery (AL)°21%5%148%31458315672092528%
190Full Sail University (FL)°46%-28%142639%38101370812659943%
191Randolph College (VA)57%-9%2825%40538390192242674%
192South Univ.–Virginia Beach (VA)°19%14%348%31458320962216828%
193Middle Georgia State Univ. (GA)*23%-4%3638%N/A35198911538%
194Miles College (AL)24%-6%8142%26378305641569919%
195Campbell University (NC)49%-15%14132%45153460642149471%
196Albany State University (GA)*33%-13%20635%32405300111199226%
197South Carolina State University (SC)*40%-13%18137%29646312322150231%
198Randolph-Macon College (VA)61%-9%6924%47631481192134981%
199St. Andrews University (NC)36%1%1736%35728347112314851%
200Montreat College (NC)50%-12%1231%38277424131787361%
201Shaw University (NC)29%-9%6740%28135309641802821%
202West Virginia State University (WV)*28%-8%3943%30057335471023440%
203Saint Augustine's University (NC)33%-8%9936%26438331702572833%
204Warren Wilson College (NC)53%6%4420%26692379092125878%
205North Greenville University (SC)54%-2%11027%32410385512270763%
206Art Inst. of Virginia Beach (VA)°36%-15%737%31249290412238434%
207Paine College (GA)21%-8%3040%27700263161692421%
208Berry College (GA)63%-11%10017%39716461051907678%
209Auburn Univ. at Montgomery (AL)*32%-9%7838%34668380001358448%
210University of Tampa (FL)60%-5%20124%47050487522691072%
211Livingstone College (NC)28%-6%7041%23460291701707217%
212Alabama State University (AL)*30%-18%25536%27568295891334727%
213Columbus State University (GA)*36%-11%16733%35910373961123242%
214University of Phoenix–Orlando (FL)°38%-1%3854%N/A500021689732%
215Brewton-Parker College (GA)24%-5%1440%31866324211795654%
216Fairmont State University (WV)*39%-17%9442%3353536572861648%
217Strayer Univ.–North Carolina (NC)°19%-33%053%48501387442453030%
218Oglethorpe University (GA)47%-5%4822%43145424391915962%
219University of South Alabama (AL)*42%-15%27334%38159394331275751%
220Samford University (AL)69%-9%6414%48313483482531379%
221St. Thomas University (FL)48%-2%5340%47491530481840356%
222Anderson University (SC)51%-6%9927%35088401971890266%
223Clark Atlanta University (GA)41%-11%20532%35428337373254138%
224Belmont Abbey College (NC)48%-13%3528%37398398131980750%
225Beacon College (FL)64%-3%4N/AN/A511113269058%
226Brevard College (NC)45%-14%2228%30449378231930065%
227ECPI University (VA)°52%-8%6248%36409465301989935%
228Catholic University of America (DC)69%-9%7111%56663572122900684%
229Charleston Southern University (SC)40%-13%9431%36929410041546658%
230Young Harris College (GA)44%-11%4228%37984394821660969%
231Southeastern University (FL)45%-10%8733%34024394612214166%
232Wesleyan College (GA)47%-25%2337%33883340881299553%
233Virginia Union University (VA)33%-2%8241%32130357382024226%
234Gardner-Webb University (NC)61%-18%8636%38042427591958063%
235Bethany College (WV)44%-27%3334%40610382431827969%
236Allen University (SC)28%-8%3450%22522299891482217%
237Truett McConnell University (GA)33%-10%2431%32955370151627256%
238Keiser University (FL)59%-12%6447%30970375212908533%
239Florida Institute of Technology (FL)59%-8%8542%58888584632741847%
240Jacksonville State University (AL)*43%-15%20639%35874394601639646%
241Everglades University (FL)52%-15%21341%42134452412644741%
242Hampden-Sydney College (VA)66%-4%43N/A51252560122652179%
243Palm Bch. Atl. Univ.–W. Palm Bch. (FL)51%-10%7225%39841424092156563%
244Queens University of Charlotte (NC)58%-16%5325%40004458631976465%
245Faulkner University (AL)45%-15%3143%36950414722339741%
246Southern Virginia University (VA)35%-6%2120%34761340131697664%
247Florida Southern College (FL)58%-13%9727%40560487812173269%
248Troy University (AL)*30%-21%22040%36894392051269341%
249DeVry University–Decatur (GA)°26%-31%1050%N/A456362697642%
250DeVry University–Miramar (FL)°27%-11%1750%N/A486252764542%
251Guilford College (NC)52%-8%5926%37489427732165258%
252South University–Columbia (SC)°23%-8%448%31458351532067528%
253University of Alabama–Huntsville (AL)*50%-14%8031%46904558231839560%
254University of Alabama (AL)*67%-19%61723%43932496672006664%
255Spring Hill College (AL)52%-22%4627%44342448741361565%
256Univ. of South Carolina–Beaufort (SC)*32%-4%4932%34692402351452655%
257Shenandoah University (VA)64%-15%5227%43055470692495366%
258Edward Waters College (FL)22%-10%3648%24872326251328822%
259Emmanuel College (GA)41%-34%2433%32188352511602753%
260High Point University (NC)63%-9%8214%38899398493451566%
261Meredith College (NC)58%-15%7223%38347430532183371%
262University of Charleston (WV)42%-30%2844%42462473161594066%
263Liberty University (VA)44%-25%43943%36589353322527250%
264Morehouse College (GA)52%-8%13619%42860444723432939%
265Webber International University (FL)37%-23%1436%35728424532278951%
266Oakwood University (AL)47%-22%7118%32643353002523033%
267Hampton University (VA)53%-17%17121%43415473172895751%
268Johnson C. Smith University (NC)45%-26%7935%29804334471879227%
269Stratford University (VA)°30%-25%049%34234433792182134%
270Lynn University (FL)53%-8%3726%39275459853284560%
271Birmingham-Southern College (AL)64%-20%3418%46452522732183676%
272Eckerd College (FL)64%-12%5920%42238493942716369%
273Methodist University (NC)33%-22%4632%39759413893048558%
274Nova Southeastern University (FL)47%-17%11137%45856550102400749%
275Talladega College (AL)27%-46%6643%24125265911483519%
276Strayer University–Arlington (VA)°29%-39%053%48501507242479230%
277Ave Maria University (FL)54%-11%3620%N/A511681573660%
278Salem University (WV)°23%-20%453%28755396192058030%
Definitions:
Median earnings: median annual earnings 10 years after entering college.
Pell/non-Pell graduation gap: graduation rate for Pell students minus the graduation rate for non-Pell students; a positive number indicates that students who receive Pell grants graduate at a higher rate than those who don’t, and vice versa.
First-gen students: percent of students who are the first in their family to go to college.
Predicted median earnings: expected median annual earnings based on student demographic data, adjusted for institutions’ location and academic mission.
Net price: actual cost of attendance for first-time, full-time, in-state students with family incomes below $75,000 per year over the last three years.
Loan repayment rate: percent of students who pay back at least $1 in loan principal within 5 years of leaving college.
* = public
° = for-profit