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The global nanotechnology market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 17.5 percent during the next five years, reaching $75.8 billion in 2020. Demand for nanotechnology jobs will increase 2.64 percent annually during the next few years, with 14,040 jobs added by 2018, Recruiter forecasts. Forty percent of all nanotechnology jobs are in the United States, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science, one of the leading U.S. colleges offering nanotechnology degrees.

University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania won the highest nanotechnology degree program rating in the country from StartClass, which evaluates schools based on a combination of affordability, career readiness, admissions selectivity, and expert opinion. The centerpiece of the university's program is its Singh Center for Nanotechnology, which provides staff and students with access to cutting-edge research equipment for multiscale 3D printing, electron and scanning probe microscopy, traditional micro- and nanofabrication, electron beam lithography, and soft lithography and laser micromachining. Backed by a $20 million grant from alumnus Krishna P. Singh, the $92 million, 78,000-square-foot facility is being used to develop innovations in high-growth areas such as solar panel and graphene technology, and is intended to bridge the gap between education and entrepreneurship.

Tuition and fees average $49,536 for both in-state and out-of-state students, with financial aid packages averaging $43,166, according to the College Board.

Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins' University's nanotechnology program earned the second-highest rating from StartClass. With the university known for its strong medical and public health programs, Johns Hopkins' nanotechnology program centers around its Institute for NanoBioTechnology, which explores the frontiers of nanotechnology and medical research by combining resources from the departments of medicine, public health, physics, engineering, and arts of sciences. The INBT engages in research in areas such as understanding cellular and molecular dynamics at the molecular level, developing new methods for diagnostics and therapeutics, and exploring the impact of nanotechnology on health and the environment. Learning combines lectures, labs, professional development seminars, peer-to-peer teaching, and communications workshops. The INBT hosts an annual nanobio symposium that draws attendees from both academia and industry, and the Institute partners with industry for internships and other student opportunities.

Tuition and fees average $49,210 for both in-state and out-of-state students, and the average financial aid package is $38,105.

Duke University
Duke University's nanotechnology program tied with Johns Hopkins for StartClass' second-highest ranking. Duke's program combines nanoscience and nanoengineering and brings together faculty from a diverse range of specialties, including chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, physics, computer engineering, electrical engineering, energy research, and environmental science. Duke hosts the Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology, which brings together researchers from over half a dozen universities around the country to study how nanomaterials affect the environment, biology, and ecology.

Tuition and fees average $49,241 for both in-state and out-of-state students, with financial aid packages averaging $43,542.

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities
StartClass ranked the University of Minnesota Twin Cities' nanotechnology program fourth in the nation. The university's Minnesota Nano Center participates in the National Science Foundation's National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure program, which is disbursing $81 million over five years to 16 sites to give academic, small business and industry researchers access to nanotechnology research. Equipped with specialized labs to support interdisciplinary research and produce microfabrication, the center provides tools to develop devices such as integrated circuits, advanced sensors, microfluidic systems, and microelectromechanical systems.

Tuition averages $13,790 for in-state students and $22,210 for out-of-state students, with financial aid packages averaging $13,052. Out-of-state students may be able to reduce their costs by deploying strategies such as taking a gap year to establish residence in Minnesota. Students may be able to save on room and board by renting cheap apartments in Minneapolis. Students seeking financial aid information can learn more on the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website and on FinAid.