Best Public Colleges in Connecticut 2024

Badge for BEST IN CONNECTICUT PUBLIC COLLEGES

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.

Best Public Colleges in Connecticut

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  1. University of Connecticut
  2. Central Connecticut State University
  3. Southern Connecticut State University
  4. United States Coast Guard Academy
  5. Western Connecticut State University
  6. Charter Oak State College
  7. Eastern Connecticut State University
  1. University of Connecticut
  2. United States Coast Guard Academy
  3. Central Connecticut State University
  4. Southern Connecticut State University
  5. Western Connecticut State University
  6. Eastern Connecticut State University
  7. Charter Oak State College
  1. Western Connecticut State University 85%
  2. Southern Connecticut State University 83%
  3. Central Connecticut State University 75%
  4. Eastern Connecticut State University 73%
  5. University of Connecticut 56%
  6. United States Coast Guard Academy 19%
  1. University of Connecticut 16 to 1
  2. Eastern Connecticut State University 14 to 1
  3. Central Connecticut State University 14 to 1
  4. Charter Oak State College 13 to 1
  5. Western Connecticut State University 12 to 1
  6. Southern Connecticut State University 12 to 1
  7. United States Coast Guard Academy 7 to 1
  1. University of Connecticut $15,030
  2. Charter Oak State College $7,656
  3. Western Connecticut State University $6,162
  4. Southern Connecticut State University $6,162
  5. Eastern Connecticut State University $6,162
  6. Central Connecticut State University $6,162
  1. University of Connecticut $17,532
  2. Charter Oak State College $9,288
  3. Southern Connecticut State University $7,797
  4. Western Connecticut State University $7,674
  5. Eastern Connecticut State University $7,674
  6. Central Connecticut State University $7,674
  1. Eastern Connecticut State University
  2. Charter Oak State College
  3. Western Connecticut State University
  4. United States Coast Guard Academy
  5. Southern Connecticut State University
  6. Central Connecticut State University
  7. University of Connecticut
  1. Charter Oak State College
  2. Eastern Connecticut State University
  3. Western Connecticut State University
  4. Southern Connecticut State University
  5. Central Connecticut State University
  6. United States Coast Guard Academy
  7. University of Connecticut
  1. United States Coast Guard Academy 19%
  2. University of Connecticut 56%
  3. Eastern Connecticut State University 73%
  4. Central Connecticut State University 75%
  5. Southern Connecticut State University 83%
  6. Western Connecticut State University 85%
  1. United States Coast Guard Academy 7 to 1
  2. Western Connecticut State University 12 to 1
  3. Southern Connecticut State University 12 to 1
  4. Charter Oak State College 13 to 1
  5. Eastern Connecticut State University 14 to 1
  6. Central Connecticut State University 14 to 1
  7. University of Connecticut 16 to 1
  1. Western Connecticut State University $6,162
  2. Southern Connecticut State University $6,162
  3. Eastern Connecticut State University $6,162
  4. Central Connecticut State University $6,162
  5. Charter Oak State College $7,656
  6. University of Connecticut $15,030
  1. Western Connecticut State University $7,674
  2. Eastern Connecticut State University $7,674
  3. Central Connecticut State University $7,674
  4. Southern Connecticut State University $7,797
  5. Charter Oak State College $9,288
  6. University of Connecticut $17,532

Colleges and Universities in Connecticut

Connecticut is home to a variety of top brick-and-mortar schools as well as a wide variety of fully accredited online colleges. Higher education in Connecticut includes both public and private institutions that offer associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, both in person and through online degree programs.

With 19 public schools and 20 private schools, Connecticut gives both traditional and online students plenty of options to choose from.

Students seeking an affordable option can attend one of the state’s numerous community colleges, which average $4,000 a year for tuition. The in-state cost for tuition in Connecticut’s four year public schools ranges from $8,000 to $16,000. Many of the community and public colleges in Connecticut also offer online degree programs.

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.

Those looking for a smaller student population and more online courses may want to check out Manchester Community College, which enrolls about 4000 students and offers affordable in-person and online degrees in literature, biology, and social work.

And of course, Connecticut is also home to Yale University, the fourth oldest learning institute in the United States. The venerable Ivy League school enrolls just over 15,000 students at its New Haven campus.

Both traditional and online 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 the top brick-and-mortar or online colleges in Connecticut.


What are Connecticut’s Colleges & Universities?

Connecticut’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, 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 bachelor’s 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. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

Connecticut's Best Public Colleges Badge
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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 7 public universities in Connecticut. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Connecticut, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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Best Public Colleges in Connecticut 2023

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/22

    Career Outlook for degree at Central Connecticut State University

    Cost of Degree: $12,106
    Expenses: $16,320
    Starting Salary: $53,344
    Salary after 4 years: $64,898
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Central Connecticut State University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    8K

    Career Outlook for degree at Southern Connecticut State University

    Cost of Degree: $12,414
    Expenses: $18,272
    Starting Salary: $47,306
    Salary after 4 years: $56,195
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  3. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    4K

    Career Outlook for degree at Western Connecticut State University

    Cost of Degree: $12,345
    Expenses: $18,118
    Starting Salary: $41,452
    Salary after 4 years: $50,665
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Western Connecticut State University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #6

    Charter Oak State College

    New Britain , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Charter Oak State College

    Cost of Degree: $8,254
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $52,307
    Salary after 4 years: $59,037
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Charter Oak State College known for?

    Charter Oak State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Charter Oak State College’s Online Degrees

    BS in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Small Business
    • Project Management
    • Human Resources
    • Organizational Management
    • General Business
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Resource Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • General Criminal Justice
    • Victim Advocacy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in General Studies
    Degree Concentrations
    • Paralegal
    • American Studies
    • History
    • Information Management
    • Political Science
    • Public Affairs
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Safety Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Healthcare Administration'
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing Rn To Bsn
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Child Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    4K

    Career Outlook for degree at Eastern Connecticut State University

    Cost of Degree: $12,910
    Expenses: $19,296
    Starting Salary: $37,401
    Salary after 4 years: $50,787
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Eastern Connecticut State University known for?

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

    Most Influential Alumni

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Connecticut’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utilized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. University of Connecticut
  2. United States Coast Guard Academy
  3. Eastern Connecticut State University
  4. Central Connecticut State University
  5. Southern Connecticut State University
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