Hunter College offers a double benefit for its reasonable tuition: intellectually demanding academics, plus the resources, opportunities and cultural outlets that come with going to college on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

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The college — one of 11 senior colleges in the City University of New York system — has more than 170 areas of study and over 17,000 undergraduates, of which 75% graduate debt-free. Especially strong are its psychology, language, biology, and communications and media studies. The Silberman School of Social Work is particularly well-regarded.

With a diverse student body, Hunter places special emphasis on languages, including Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Polish and Japanese, along with classical Greek and Latin. Hunter also boasts a number of well-known research centers, including the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies and Roosevelt House, a public policy institute in a townhouse once occupied by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

On-campus living can be tricky due to the overwhelming demand for housing in New York City, but Hunter does have four residence halls in the area, so students should apply early to ensure a room. Hunter can count former President Barack Obama among its fans: In 2014, he called the school "one of the best colleges in the country."