26 Four-Year Public and Private Colleges with Low Costs and High Salaries

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These four-year public and private nonprofit colleges enroll over 40% low-income students at the school, and have good outcomes for those students. All of them boast above-average Pell enrollment, an affordable net price, and good graduation rates for their students (including their low-income students). That’s important, because graduating from college has been shown to lead to higher earnings, lower unemployment, and a lower likelihood of defaulting on their loans.

The Department of Education highlighted these schools in its recent report, Fulfilling the Promise, Serving the Need, which identified institutions that were doing well in enrolling and graduating low-income students.

College State Share of Low-Income Students Enrolled Average Net Price Graduation Rate Typical Earnings 
Agnes Scott College Georgia 44% $18,517 73% $38,800
Blue Mountain College Mississippi 56% $9,284 48% $29,200
California Baptist University California 48% $27,813 57% $40,300
California State University-Stanislaus California 60% $6,759 53% $43,400
Converse College South Carolina 44% $18,163 61% $31,200
CUNY Bernard M Baruch College New York 44% $6,841 66% $54,900
Florida International University Florida 56% $11,845 53% $43,700
Georgia State University Georgia 52% $15,853 53% $40,800
Howard University District of Columbia 48% $23,191 60% $46,000
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Massachusetts 46% $14,884 54% $34,800
Mills College California 50% $25,161 67% $39,000
Monmouth College Illinois 42% $16,661 57% $39,500
Rutgers University-Newark New Jersey 52% $12,497 67% $54,500
Salem College North Carolina 58% $14,669 65% $31,900
Spelman College Georgia 48% $34,308 71% $46,000
Spring Arbor University Michigan 45% $17,194 55% $38,100
The Sage Colleges New York 49% $16,521 58% $38,900
University of California-Irvine California 45% $12,771 86% $54,500
University of California-San Diego California 40% $14,136 86% $59,000
University of Illinois at Chicago Illinois 51% $13,811 58% $51,100
University of La Verne California 45% $22,696 59% $50,200
University of Michigan-Dearborn Michigan 43% $12,227 51% $45,600
University of North Carolina at Greensboro North Carolina 44% $12,186 56% $36,000
University of Pittsburgh-Bradford Pennsylvania 44% $16,811 52% $48,800
Western Illinois University Illinois 44% $17,988 55% $41,100
William Carey University Mississippi 65% $16,740 60% $34,700

Typical earnings reflect the median earnings of federal financial aid recipients 10 years after they first enrolled at the institution. Net price reflects the sticker price, less any grant or scholarship aid. Graduation rate reflects the share of first-time, full-time students at the school who completed within six years. For schools where Education Trust was able to collect data, we also used the graduation rates of first-time, full-time Pell Grant recipients at the school to identify the institutions. While the share of undergraduate students who received Pell Grants in a given year is a measure of the access an institution provides to low-income students, it may not capture all low-income students. Students who are undocumented immigrants or foreign nationals are not eligible to receive Pell Grants, and some low-income students may not have completed the FAFSA to receive federal aid, but those students may have similar financial circumstances to Pell recipients, or may be just on the other side of Pell eligibility, creating a cliff effect. Additionally, in some states (such as California), state financial aid may be sufficient to cover costs at community colleges, in particular; so those students may not seek or receive a Pell Grant. More information is available in Appendix A of the Department of Education report.