It's a dilemma facing most high school students and their parents these days. They know their chances for a successful, financially secure future are dramatically higher if they have a college degree. But with average tuition skyrocketing -- at its current rate of increase it doubles every nine years -- college can seem completely unaffordable.

But there are some state universities that are both very, very good, and relatively affordable. That's especially true if you live in the same state, can establish residency in the state, or can take advantage of a program that provides in-state tuition to residents of nearby states or to veterans. Many of these colleges have earned the nickname "Public Ivies," meaning that although they are state schools, the quality of both the education and the facilities they provide rivals that of Ivy League schools. 

To help you choose, the personal finance site GOBankingRates has looked at both tuition estimates at state universities and those college's place in the U.S. News & World Report's 2020 Best National University Rankings. They've combined that data to come up with the 52 best universities in the nation with estimated tuition lower than $20,000 per academic year. It's important to note that these tuition numbers include mandatory fees that all students, but don't include housing, dining, transportation, or books.

GOBankingRates also looked at four-year and six-year graduation rates. After all, if you're going to choose between buying a Tesla and paying for a college education, you really want to make sure that you or your child does come away with a degree.

Here's the full list. I've picked out the five top entries with tuition below $15,000. Because, frankly, that's expensive enough. 

1. University of California-Los Angeles

Estimated annual in-state tuition 2019-2020: $13,239

Out-of-state tuition: $42,218

U.S. News & World Report Ranking: #20

UCLA is considered a "Public Ivy." It was founded in 1919, making it one of the older schools in the University of California system. Its six-year graduation rate is 91 percent, and as of 2017, 24 Nobel Prize winners were affiliated with the school as either alumni, faculty, or researchers.

2. University of California-Berkeley

Estimated annual in-state tuition 2019-2020: $14,254

Out-of-state tuition: $43,176

U.S. News & World Report Ranking: #22

Founded in 1868, Berkeley is the oldest University of California campus. With 107 Nobel Prize winners associated with the school, some rankings put it among the world's top ten universities. During the Vietnam War, it was known as a center for student protests and activism. In modern times, it's less activist and more politically eclectic. It's also known as a center for mathematical research and draws mathematicians from around the world. Its six-year graduation rate is 91 percent.

3. Georgia Institute of Technology

Estimated annual in-state tuition 2019-2020: $12,682

Out-of-state tuition: $33,794

U.S. News & World Report Ranking: #29 (tie)

Georgia Tech is located in Atlanta, but has campuses in Savannah, Georgia, Metz, France, Athlone, Ireland, Shenzhen, China, and Singapore. Created in 1885 during Reconstruction after the Civil War, it initially offered only one degree, in mechanical engineering. Today it's divided into six colleges and 31 departments, mostly with an emphasis on science, technology, and business. It's in a five-way tie for 29th place in the U.S. News ranking with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, New York University, Tufts, and the University of Rochester.

4. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Estimated annual in-state tuition 2019-2020: $9,018

Out-of-state tuition: $36,222

U.S. News & World Report Ranking: #29 (tie)

UNC Chapel Hill was chartered in 1789 and began enrolling students in 1795, which makes it the only public university in the U.S. to have held classes and graduated students in the 18th century. Nine Nobel Prize winners and 23 Pulitzer Prize winners are among its faculty or alumni. Its six-year graduation rate is 89 percent.

5. University of Florida

Estimated annual in-state tuition 2019-2020: $6,380

Out-of-state tuition: $36,222

U.S. News & World Report Ranking: #34 (tie)

The University of Florida is tied with UC Santa Barbara for 34th place in the U.S. News ranking. It's located in Gainesville. In addition to being a public college, it's a sea-grant and space-grant school, meaning that it's one of 33 colleges working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on marine preservation and research, and one of 52 colleges designated to work on outer space research. Its six-year graduation rate is 90 percent.