Connecticut’s Best Public Colleges and Universities of 2021

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Connecticut provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Connecticut’s Best Public Colleges and Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Connecticut

As the fourth oldest learning institute in the United States, Yale enrolls just over 15,000 students at its New Haven campus. Higher education in Connecticut includes both public and private institutions that offer associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. With 19 public schools and 20 private schools, students have a variety to choose from. Tuition for most of the state’s community colleges averages $4,000, while the cost for other public schools ranges from $8,000 to $16,000.

Students interested in psychology, economics, and communications can check out the University of Connecticut (UConn), which is home to the premier research institute for ecological psychology. Sacred Heart University, a Roman Catholic university, is known for its religious studies and business programs. And those looking for a smaller student population may want to check out Manchester Community College, which enrolls about 4000 students and offers affordable degrees in literature, biology, and social work.

Students in Connecticut can choose from a variety of higher education experiences fitting a full spectrum of budgets and career goals. Learn more and begin earning your degree from one of Connecticut’s top colleges or universities.


What are Connecticut’s Colleges & Universities?

Connecticut’s Best Overall

What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 7 public universities in Connecticut; 5 of which meet our criteria. The list below of the best public universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must receive direct funding from the state.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It offers a broad range of bachelor’s degree programs.
  4. Its graduation rate must be greater than 50%.

How do we determine Connecticut's best public colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

5 Best Public Colleges & Universities in Connecticut

  1. #1

    University of Connecticut

    #206 institution's historical influence
    #1460 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1305/29

    Storrs, CT

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    What is University of Connecticut known for?

    University of Connecticut’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

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  2. #2

    United States Coast Guard Academy

    #1743 institution's historical influence
    #67 overall school desirability

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1305/27

    New London, CT

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    What is United States Coast Guard Academy known for?

    United States Coast Guard Academy’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Earth Sciences
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
  3. #3

    Eastern Connecticut State University

    #2922 institution's historical influence
    #1167 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    4K

    Willimantic, CT

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    What is Eastern Connecticut State University known for?

    Eastern Connecticut State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Central Connecticut State University

    #1807 institution's historical influence
    #1069 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/20

    New Britain, CT

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    What is Central Connecticut State University known for?

    Central Connecticut State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    Southern Connecticut State University

    #2302 institution's historical influence
    #923 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/20

    New Haven, CT

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    What is Southern Connecticut State University known for?

    Southern Connecticut State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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