Purdue was founded in 1874 with just 39 students and six teachers. Now it's a public land grant university with more than 50,000 students, including more than 37,000 undergraduates.

About a quarter of Purdue undergraduates enroll in its well-regarded school of engineering, but overall, students have more than 200 different majors to choose from, with programs ranging from animal sciences to finance drawing many students. (If you’re unsure what you’d like to study, Purdue's website has an intriguing feature where students can browse majors by personality type.)

Boilermaker football is a school-wide obsession at this Big Ten school, and Greek life is a dominant social force on campus. But with more than 1,000 student organizations to choose from, everyone is likely to find something to match their interests, whether that's volunteering at no-kill animal shelters or preparing for dental school. When students want to venture off campus, West Lafayette boasts its share of student-friendly bars and restaurants.

Purdue scores high in Money’s ratings thanks in part to its commitment to affordability: It has one of the lowest degree prices among all of the colleges in our rating, and students graduate with below-average debt loads. In fact, the university has made national headlines for its decision to hold tuition flat for more than a decade now.