Back to Kings Life index

15 Best States for Undergraduate Degrees in the US in 2023-24

04 Aug, 2023
15 Best States for Undergraduate Degrees in the US in 2023-24

When it comes to higher education, the USA has no shortage of outstanding universities to choose from. In fact, the vast choice can sometimes be overwhelming!

A great place to start when narrowing down which universities to apply for is location. In other words, which state might be the best place for you to spend four years of undergraduate study, or possibly more.

From the scenic beauty of California to the rich cultural heritage of Massachusetts, each state has its own unique appeal.

Here, we look at some of the states which offer a particularly strong mix of academic excellence, cultural interest, good standard of living and opportunities for future success.

Whether you're a native of the US or an international student looking to expand your horizons, universities in the following fifteen states will deliver a top-tier university experience that will put you on the path to success.

Table of Contents

1. California
2. Massachusetts
3. New York
4. Florida
5. Wisconsin
6. Washington
7. Oregon
8. Colorado
9. Texas
10. Virginia
11. Minnesota
12. North Carolina
13. Michigan
14. Missouri
15. Georgia
Other Great States for Undergraduate Studies in the US

1. California

With an enviable climate, relaxed lifestyle, and wealth of opportunity in terms of education and employment, the west coast state of California has long been synonymous with an ideal way of life.

Image source: Viviana Rishe on Unsplash

Nicknamed “The Golden State,” California is the largest and most populous state in the US, with a rich economy, enough to be compared to the economies of the largest countries worldwide.

It is home to some of the most iconic cities in the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, each known for their unique culture, landmarks, and attractions.

Beyond its stunning scenery and captivating urban centers, California is also home to some of the best universities in the world; Stanford University, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Caltech to name just a few. These top universities are renowned for their academic rigor, cutting-edge research facilities, and exceptional faculty members, making them a top destination for students from all over the world.

As a tech hub and the home of famous Silicon Valley, California is particularly popular among students who want to specialize in computer science and engineering, although many of its universities also have a strong reputation for the arts.

Best universities in California

Average tuition fees in California

The average tuition & fees of California colleges is $3,019 for California residents and $12,848 for students from other States. (College Tuition Compare website)

2. Massachusetts

Nestled in the picturesque region of New England, the state of Massachusetts offers a way of life that is both steeped in history and characterized by forward-thinking innovation.

Image source: Matt Collamer on Unsplash

As the birthplace of the American Revolution, Massachusetts boasts a rich cultural heritage that is evident in its charming towns and cities, including the historic city of Boston - the Best Student City in the US according to QS World Rankings in 2022.

However, Massachusetts is also renowned for its cutting-edge research and world-class universities, including the Ivy League powerhouse Harvard and renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). These top universities attract the brightest minds from around the world to the state every year, establishing Massachusetts as a global leader in education and innovation.

Students who attend a Massachusetts-based university have access to internships and experiences in nearly any major and field, and many stay for careers in fields such as finance upon graduating.

Best universities in Massachusetts

Average tuition fees in Massachusetts

The average tuition & fees of Massachusetts colleges is $8,980 for Massachusetts residents and $17,291 for students from other States. (College Tuition Compare website)

3. New York

The state of New York is primarily associated with its largest and most diverse city, and all the famous attractions within it; from the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the iconic Statue of Liberty. However, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, wider New York State is vast, varied, and beautiful.

Image source: Kit Suman on Unsplash

To the East of New York City lie the upmarket beach resorts of Long Island, just an hour’s drive north are the Catskill Mountains, and further north are the more rugged peaks of the Adirondack Mountains too. To the west, the slender Finger Lakes and endless miles of dairy farms and vineyards occupy the central part of the state. Other notable cities in New York State include Buffalo and Rochester, home to the top ranked University of Rochester.

Overall, the state is home to many outstanding universities, including Ivy League Cornell in Ithaca and Columbia in New York City. Students can choose from a wide range of public colleges and universities within either the State University of New York (SUNY) system or the City University of New York (CUNY) system, the former being the largest system of public higher education in the United States.

Best universities in New York

Average tuition fees in New York

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of New York Colleges is $9,438 for in-state and $20,446 for out-of-state. (College Tuition Compare website)

4. Florida

Located in the southeastern region of the United States, Florida is America’s third-most populous state and best known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, diverse wildlife, and relaxed way of life

Image source: Juan Pablo Mascanfroni on Unsplash

From the bustling cities of Miami and Orlando to the panhandle's sleepy beach communities, Florida offers something for everyone. Home to some of the country's most popular theme parks, including Disney World and Universal Studios, the state attracts millions of visitors annually. And Florida's natural attractions are just as impressive as its man-made ones. From the Everglades to the Keys, there is something to explore at every turn.

But Florida is much more than just a tourist destination. The Sunshine State also boasts some of the top universities in the USA, including the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Miami, a private research university known for its excellent programs in medicine, law, and business.

Best universities in Florida

  • University of Florida
  • Florida State University
  • University of Miami
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Central Florida

Average tuition fees in Florida

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of Florida Colleges is $4,242 for in-state and $16,535 for out-of-state. (College Tuition Compare website)


Nestled in the heartland of the United States, Wisconsin is a state that embodies the quintessential Midwestern way of life. The state's mid-sized capital city, Madison is consistently selected as one of the best places to live in the US.

One of the most significant draws to this state is the access to the beautiful Great Lakes Region, which offers opportunities for outdoor recreation, research, and learning. Lake Superior lies to the north and Lake Michigan to the east. These Lakes—especially Lake Michigan —help drive the third-largest industry in the state; tourism! And of course, Lake Michigan is also home to America's third largest city, history and culture-rich Chicago.

Wisconsin itself however is also home to many cultural attractions including museums and historic sites, as well as more music festivals than any other state in the nation. Probably the best known is Milwaukee-based Summerfest, the largest music festival in the world!

Wisconsin is home to a variety of prestigious universities that offer a comprehensive range of academic programs and research opportunities, including the highly ranked University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Best universities in Wisconsin

Average tuition fees in Wisconsin

The average tuition & fees of Wisconsin colleges is $6,408 for Wisconsin residents and $11,630 for students from other States. (College Tuition Compare website)


The state of Washington is a hub of culture, innovation, and natural beauty located in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. It is also home to some of the top universities in the country.

Image source: Michael Discenzaon Unsplash

Washington State boasts a thriving higher education system that attracts students from all over the country, and internationally. The state is home to several highly acclaimed universities, including Spokane-based Gonzaga University and the state's flagship institution, the University of Washington. Located in Seattle, one of the most vibrant, diverse and dynamic cities in the country, students here have access to exceptional academic programs, research opportunities and internships.

Washington state is a compelling choice for students looking to challenge themselves academically, broaden their horizons culturally, and explore the beautiful natural scenery that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Best universities in Washington

Average tuition fees in Washington

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of Washington Colleges is $6,116 for in-state and $17,833 for out-of-state. (College Tuition Compare website)

7. Oregon

Bordering California and Nevada in the South, Washington in the North, and Idaho in the East, Oregon is known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich heritage, and vibrant cultural scene. Whether you prefer the urban energy of Portland or the scenic beauty of towns like Ashland, Oregon offers an enviable way of life

Image source: Varadh Jainon Unsplash

From the pioneering technology of Silicon Forest, to the flourishing arts community of Ashland, Oregon is a place where people come to pursue their passions and make a difference in the world.

The ninth-largest state in America, Oregon is home to more than fifty colleges and universities. One of the most prestigious institutions in the state is the University of Oregon, known for its strong programs in areas such as business, journalism, and architecture. Another standout institution is Oregon State University, renowned for its cutting-edge research in fields like agriculture, engineering, and marine sciences.

Currently, students at Kings have the option to complete their studies at the top-ranked University of Oregon through the Guaranteed Outcome program. They study the first two years of their undergraduate degree program at our partner institute, Southern Oregon University, before transferring to the University of Oregon to finish their degree.

Best universities in Oregon

  • University of Oregon
  • Oregon State University
  • Pacific University
  • George Fox University
  • Southern Oregon University

Average tuition fees in Oregon

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of Oregon Colleges is $8,140 for in-state and $20,895 for out-of-state. (College Tuition Compare website)

8. Colorado

Situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is known for its stunning vistas, winter sports, hiking, and other exhilarating outdoor recreation. It also enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine per year - more than either San Diego or Miami beach!

Image source:Cassie Gallegos on Unsplash

But Colorado isn’t just an adventure playground – it's also a hub for education, with a plethora of outstanding universities that offer a diverse range of programs to students all over the world. From the bustling urban campuses of the University of Denver and Colorado State University to the picturesque mountain surroundings of Colorado College and the University of Colorado Boulder, students are sure to find a university that suits their academic and personal needs.

Not only do these institutions offer world-class academic programs, but they also have thriving research programs and engaging extracurricular activities that enhance the overall student experience.

With a growing economy and a vibrant cultural scene, Colorado is a great location for any student seeking a well-rounded education.

Best universities in Colorado

Average tuition fees in Colorado

The average tuition & fees of Colorado colleges is $7,103 for Colorado residents and $17,314 for students from other States. (College Tuition Compare website)

9. Texas

Texas is one of the largest states in the USA and is located in the far south of the country. It has a distinct way of life, characterized by its cowboy culture, southern hospitality, and Hispanic influence.

Image source: Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash

The state is home to some of the world’s best student cities, including Houston, Austin and Dallas and some of America’s best universities. The University of Texas at Austin and Rice University in Houston, for example, both feature in the Top 50 of the US News and World Report’s National University rankings. These institutions are renowned for their world-class academics, research facilities, and diverse student bodies.

The state is also increasingly attractive to some of the world’s biggest employers, such as Tesla and Apple, which is building is second-largest campus in Austin, Texas. As a result, there are plenty of employment and work experience opportunities at both student level and graduate level.

Studying in Texas is also relatively affordable compared to other US locations, with a low cost of living and affordable housing.

Best universities in Texas

Average tuition fees in Texas

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of Texas Colleges is $6,622 for in-state and $16,780 for out-of-state. (College Tuition Compare website)

10. Virginia

Halfway down the eastern coast of the United States lies Virginia. One of the most historically significant states in the US, it is also known as the “Old Dominion” and the “Mother of States” .

Image source: Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash

The Commonwealth of Virginia borders five other states—Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina—and the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C.

The state's capital, Richmond, is home to numerous museums and landmarks, showcasing Virginia's role in the American Revolution and Civil War. Additionally, Williamsburg, a popular tourist destination, preserves the colonial era with its restored buildings and reenactments.

Beyond historical significance, Virginia is also known for its excellent universities, such as the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, consistently ranking among the top universities in the country.

Virginia's stunning natural beauty, with the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley inland, and miles of sandy beaches on the coast, offers the perfect backdrop for academic pursuits.

Best universities in Virginia

Average tuition fees in Virginia

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of Virginia Colleges is $8,678 for in-state and $19,301 for out-of-state. (College Tuition Compare website)

11. Minnesota

Minnesota is in the north central United States. Near the geographic center of North America, it is bordered on the north by the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, on the west by North Dakota and South Dakota, on the south by Iowa, and on the east by Wisconsin and Lake Superior.

Image source: Nicole Gerion Unsplash

With hundreds of lakes and forests, not to mention miles of stunning prairies, Minnesota is known for its natural beauty. It is also a place renowned for having friendly communities, progressive values, a strong economy, and an excellent education system.

Minnesota houses some of the top universities in the country including the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and the University of St. Thomas. These institutions provide top-tier education, research opportunities and extracurricular activities for students.

From the awe-inspiring beauty of Lake Superior to the cosmopolitan excitement of Minneapolis, there is no shortage of sights and activities to enjoy in Minnesota alongside university studies. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures, urban exploration or cultural experiences, this popular state has it all.

Best universities in Minnesota

Average tuition fees in Minnesota

The average tuition & fees of Minnesota colleges is $8,387 for Minnesota residents and $8,995 for students from other States. (College Tuition Compare website)

12. North Carolina

Located in the southeastern region of the United States, North Carolina, or the ‘Tar Heel State’ has breath-taking scenery and vibrant cities with a number of excellent universities.

Image source: Sara Parlier on Unsplash

The state's landscape is characterized by rolling hills, dense forests, sparkling lakes, and winding rivers, yet it also boasts the rugged Appalachian Mountains and the beautiful sandy beaches of the Atlantic Coast. While the wider state is known for its relaxed way of life, with a slower pace and a love of the outdoors, cities are fast-paced and the state capital of Raleigh is becoming increasingly recognized as a hub for innovation and technology.

North Carolina is a highly sought-after location for universities, and for good reason. The state boasts renowned institutions such as Duke University in Durham, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University located in Raleigh. All locations have many notable research facilities, healthcare institutions, and companies, making it a great place for potential employment opportunities.

Best universities in North Carolina

Average tuition fees in North Carolina

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of North Carolina Colleges is $3,528 for in-state and $17,485 for out-of-state. (College Tuition Compare website)

13. Michigan

Situated in the Midwest region of the United States, Michigan is known for its diverse landscapes, the Great Lakes, and its iconic main city, Detroit.

Image source: Alex Brisbey on Unsplash

Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, is a hub for the auto industry and, as the celebrated birthplace of Motown, boasts a vibrant musical history. Ann Arbor, home to the prestigious University of Michigan, is a progressive college town with an impressive food and arts scene.

Michigan is a great state to consider for higher education due the numerous universities with globally recognized academic programs. With two of the most renowned universities in the country, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Michigan State University in East Lansing, students have access to top-tier research facilities, experienced faculty, and a diverse student body. Furthermore, Detroit, is a hub for corporations and industries, which means students have many opportunities to partake in internships or join a network of professionals.

Outside of class, Michigan students have access to a host of landscapes for outdoor pursuits. Whether it’s taking a stroll along the sandy beaches of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where Lake Michigan's turquoise waters meet towering sand dunes, or traversing rugged mountain terrain in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, there is something for everyone.

Best universities in Michigan

Average tuition fees in Michigan

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of Michigan Colleges is $8,916 for in-state and $18,706 for out-of-state. (College Tuition Compare website)

14. Missouri

Missouri is a well-kept secret in the world of studying abroad. Located in the heart of the United States, it is bordered by several other states - Iowa in the north, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee in the east, Arkansas in the south, and Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska in the west - and has impressive list of universities that are highly ranked both nationally and globally.

Image source: Brittney Butler on Unsplash

Missouri is home to a number of exceptional universities, including Washington University in St. Louis (currently ranked 15th in the US News and World National Universities category) and the University of Missouri-Columbia. The University of Missouri is the state's largest public university. Mizzou (as it’s also known) was founded in 1839 in the city of Columbia and offers more than 280 degree programs.

As a student in Missouri, you'll benefit from a low cost of living and a variety of cultural experiences that will enrich your academic journey.

Outside of studies, there is plenty to see and do; explore the Ozarks' forested hills, crystal-clear streams, and limestone caves, or visit the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, a symbol of America's western expansion. History buffs can also visit a range of Civil War battle sites, or explore some of the Lewis and Clark trail.

Best universities in Missouri

  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Saint Louis University
  • University of Missouri
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • University of Missouri--St. Louis

Average tuition fees in Missouri

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of Missouri Colleges is $9,531 for in-state and $16,426 for out-of-state (College Tuition Compare website)

15. Georgia

Located in the southeastern region of the United States, Georgia is a state with a rich history and culture that makes it an ideal destination for students seeking a world-class education.

Image source: Tyler Edic on Unsplash

Whether you want to study in a large, bustling city like Atlanta or a historic college town like Athens, you'll find a variety of top US universities across the state. Some of the most prestigious institutions include Emory University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia, all of which are recognized for their academic excellence.

As a student in the Peach State, you will be able to experience the unique Southern hospitality and charm that truly sets this state apart.

Georgia is brimming with attractions, including the enchanting Savannah Historic District, the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and the stunning coastal beaches, meaning there is plenty to see and do outside of study.

Best universities in Georgia

Average tuition fees in Georgia

For the academic year 2022-2023, the average undergraduate tuition & fees of Georgia Colleges is $4,913 for in-state and $16,279 for out-of-state. (College Tuition Compare website)

Other Great States for Undergraduate Studies in the US

The following states also offer excellent university options when it comes to undergraduate studies in America.

How Kings Can Help You Study in the USA

At Kings, we offer a range of programs designed to help international students gain access to the very best US universities and still graduate in 4 years.

Through our Guaranteed Outcome programs, students begin a bachelor’s degree at one of our partner universities, with locations including Boston, New York, California and Oregon.

They are supported extensively by our specialist on-campus teams as they adapt to US college life. They learn more about the US education system, improve their GPA, and gain a host of new skills and experiences. After 2 years, with the full support of our advisors, they are then able to transfer to a Top 50 or Top 100 university, from where they will graduate.

Our students have also been accepted to major in a host of different fields at a wide range of top universities.

Find out more here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What state in the US has the best colleges?

The United States has a plethora of exceptional colleges, but which state stands out as the best in terms of higher education? Many factors come into play, such as graduation rates, student satisfaction, faculty expertise, and research opportunities. However, some states consistently excel in shaping the next generation's minds. California, Massachusetts, and New York are often cited as the top three states with the best colleges due to their impressive track record of academic excellence.

California boasts world-renowned universities such as Stanford and the University of California, while Massachusetts is home to Harvard and MIT, two of the most prestigious institutions globally. Lastly, New York has the Ivy League's Columbia and Cornell, along with many other top-tier schools.

2. Which US state has the best higher education system?

When considering the best higher education system in the USA, many factors must be taken into account. That being said, the state of California consistently ranks highly in terms of both the quality and quantity of universities.

From world-renowned institutions like Stanford and UC Berkeley to top liberal arts colleges like Pomona and Harvey Mudd, California truly has something for every student. In addition, the state invests heavily in its higher education system.

3.How to choose which state to go to for undergraduate studies?

Choosing which state to go to for undergraduate studies can be intimidating, especially since there are so many options within the USA. It's important to consider factors such as the location, climate, cost of living, and the reputation of the schools within the state.

Each state has its own unique characteristics which can greatly impact your college experience. For instance, if you love the outdoors and crave adventure, states like Colorado or Oregon may be more your style, while if you enjoy city life and cultural experiences, states like California or New York may be a better fit.

It's also important to do research on the schools within the state and their academic programs to ensure that they align with your academic goals and interests.

Next steps

We hope that this article has helped you learn more about some of the best states to complete a bachelor's degree in the US and how Kings Guaranteed Outcome programs can help you get there.

If you would like receive more detailed information about the Kings and our programs, please get in touch with us at

Back to top