Announces the Top Public Colleges & Universities in the U.S. for 2021

FORT WORTH, Texas, Feb. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — What type of school do three out of four prospective undergraduate students ultimately choose? The answer is the public college or university—a perennially popular pick.

To address the needs of the more than three million incoming college students each fall, releases its ranking of the leading American public higher education institutions:

50 Best Public Colleges and Universities of 2021

“Public universities and colleges remain popular because of their high value, balancing academic scholarship with reasonable costs,” says Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of and professor of physics at Wake Forest University.

This value can be considerable. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time, in-state students) at four-year public universities is slightly over $20,000. In contrast, the price to attend a private university averages nearly $43,000 per year.

“However, lower costs and greater accessibility do not mean all public institutions are interchangeable,” adds Macosko. “The schools featured in our ranking stand out, most notably for the global influence of their faculty and alumni and for their excellence in general academics.”

Criteria for the schools in this ranking include full accreditation, direct funding from the state, and a minimum student body of 1,000 students. Featured schools include:

  • Binghamton University
  • Brooklyn College
  • City College of New York
  • Evergreen State College
  • George Mason University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Hunter College
  • Michigan State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Purchase College, State University of New York
  • Purdue University
  • Queens College
  • Stony Brook University
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • United States Military Academy
  • United States Naval Academy
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Buffalo
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts Boston
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Montana
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Utah
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Wayne State University
  • William & Mary

Visit the link above to view the final ranking order, additional rankings, and top schools by state.

Founded in October 2016, with funding assistance from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Influence Networks created the InfluenceRanking Engine, the core technology behind’s advanced rankings. The InfluenceRanking Engine uses machine learning to scan and analyze data repositories on the web, mapping the impact of a school’s thought leadership across a broad set of disciplines. See the About page for further details on the unique capabilities and advantages of this advanced ranking system.

“Whether a student wants a public, private, or faith-based university experience, seeks an intimate learning environment or a megacampus feel, or wants a choice between online and on-campus, can help with school selection,” says Macosko. “And our College Strategist, Desirability Score, and Custom College Rankings tools provide students with a powerful set of resources in their search for the right school.” is the preeminent technology-driven rankings site dedicated to students, researchers, and inquirers from high school through college and beyond, offering resources that connect learners to leaders. is a part of the EducationAccess group, a family of sites dedicated to lifelong learning and personal growth, including Influence Networks, (nonfiction publishing and publishers of Bright Notes), (instructional video library and easy instructional video creation with 3D elements), (free, online library and reader), and soon, Success Portraits (personalized strengths inventory for college and career).


Jed Macosko, Ph.D.
Academic Director
(682) 302-4945