Duke University is the most expensive college in North Carolina.

The elite academic hamlet in Durham costs undergraduates about $58,000 a year in tuition and fees to attend. But the hefty price tag is a pretty good deal, according to one study. 

SmartAsset, a personal finance company, ranked Duke as the “best value” college in the state as judged by its “performance in categories including scholarships, starting salary, tuition, living expenses, and student retention rate,” according to the study. Ranked second was the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which costs in-state undergraduates about $9,000 per year in tuition and fees to attend.

But Duke’s $58,000 price tag doesn’t include the cost of living, which the school estimates is another $21,000. So if you are paying full price, a Duke bachelor’s degree will cost more than $315,000. For the same price, you can afford a house in Durham. 

Granted, about half the students don’t pay the full cost of attendance, but even with the school awarding students an average of $49,000 in scholarships and grants, according to SmartAsset, Duke still costs more to attend than any state school when you factor in other expenses.  

The “best value” rating ostensibly comes from a Duke grad’s high starting salary, which the study puts at $72,300 out the gate.

Does it seem worth it? Here’s the full list, if you’re curious.

Follow Senior Staff Writer Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to ltauss@indyweek.com

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.