The University of Delaware, which traces its history to 1743, is one of the oldest universities in the country. Today, it's a research powerhouse: UD belongs to an elite group of institutions the U.S. government has named land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant universities. It also has its fingerprints on nearly 150 patents in the past decade alone, in the field of cancer diagnosis, sustainable manufacturing, electrical engineering and a laundry list of other areas.

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The school’s coursework reflects that designation: UD’s nearly 19,000 undergraduates pick from more than 150 different majors and minors, including insect ecology, national resources conservation and marine biology. The school has some niche offerings, too, like a world-class figure skating club and a century-old study abroad program that more than 30% of undergraduates participate in today.

UD also stands out for its affordability, coming in at just under $100,000 for the net price of a degree for in-staters. And its six-year graduation rate (79%) is above the national median, according to Money’s calculations.