10 Top Colleges in the South that Won’t Break the Bank

The southern United States is a region like no other. It is sometimes classified as far north as Maryland and as far south as the panhandle of Texas. This region boasts some of the best colleges in the country, often coming in high in rankings by Forbes magazine, U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review.

Southern colleges are also well-known for their reasonable tuition and overall affordability. Browse through our listing of 10 of the most affordable colleges in the south. Maybe you’ll find a university that is well-suited to your needs, and inexpensive, too!

Top 10 Best Value Colleges in the South

Berea College

It doesn’t get any cheaper than “free”, and that’s just what Berea College is. This liberal arts university in Kentucky was established in 1855. It is unique among colleges because it does provide a free education to its students. In addition, it was the first southern US college to become racially integrated and coeducational. Students who are admitted are given what could be considered a full-tuition, four-year scholarship.

Edison State Community College

This college was originally founded in 1862 and named in honor of Thomas Edison. It just changed its name in 2014 to Florida Southwestern State College. The main campus is actually located in Lee County, in Fort Myers. Its low tuition rates start at just $3,281 per year. Satellite campuses are found in Collier and Charlotte counties, and they have outreach programs located in Glades and Hendry counties.

Florida State College

This is a low-cost state college located in Jacksonville, Florida. Since is it a state college, it also offers more bachelor’s degree (four year) programs than most conventional community colleges, which offer two-year degrees. Tuition starts at $6,512.

Founded in 1965, Florida State College at Jacksonville has four main campuses and some additional learning centers in the region. They currently have an enrollment of over 80,000 students.

Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee

Low tuition makes this private school a best choice among southern students. Tuition for full-time students starts at $6,360. They are located in the Appalachian Mountain foothills. They are emerging leaders in Southeast-based higher education.

The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report have placed this university on their best colleges list for the region. As with many southern, private universities, Lee University is a Christ-centered school, promoting spiritual growth along with excellence in academics.

Macon State College

This was originally a four-year college that was part of the University of Georgia school system. In 2013, the administration merged it with Middle Georgia College, creating Macon State College. The university offers reduced tuition fees starting at $11,159, as compared to other colleges, and they also have a satellite campus on the Robins Air Force Base and in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia

This university has an impressive record of promoting females in education. Along with low tuition starting at $15,353, it produced the first woman who argued a case before the US Supreme Court and the first female medical doctor in the region.

The small institution is rather selective, and they attract many women at the top of their graduating classes in high school. You can choose from 31 majors, 25+ minors and some pre-professional coursework at Wesleyan College. They also offer an interdisciplinary program tailored to students who wish to chart their own way.

Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi

This is the oldest post-secondary school in Mississippi, founded in 1826. It is also the second oldest university with Baptist roots in the United States. They offer 80 areas of study, numerous graduate degree programs, and several online and accelerated degree programs for working adults in the area.

In addition to low tuition starting at $15,712, you’ll find 75 student organizations on-campus, with opportunities to join clubs or “tribes”, which is their version of fraternities and sororities.

Rice University

This university is based in Houston, and consistently ranks in the top 20 colleges in the United States, despite its very reasonable tuition and fees. They start at $18,427. Its Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Bioengineering and Materials Science programs are highly regarded.

The students at Rice are sometimes called the “happiest” of college students, describing Rice as having an excellent quality of life. Rice is a selective college, generally only accepting students with ACT average scores of 32. The faculty to student ratio is 1:6, so students do benefit from individualized study.

Duke University

Duke is a very prestigious university, but charges very reasonable tuition for qualified students. $19,116 is the starting tuition. Like Rice, students who wish to be admitted should have average scores on ACT testing above 30.

Students are also highly satisfied with the learning experience at Duke. Their retention rate for freshmen is 97% and their six-year rate for graduates is 94%. Duke has academic programs in traditional areas, and also offers more unique majors in Engineering, Environmental Studies and Public Policy.

Louisiana State University

LSU’s Shreveport campus opened as a two-year college in 1967, but in 1972 was transitioned to a four-year institution, still offering reasonable rates starting at $19,969 for a quality education. A small enrollment of just over 4,000 students gives LSUS a comfortable campus even for freshmen. Its multi-purpose system is accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.