Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges

Typically small, private and best known for concentrating on undergraduate studies, liberal arts colleges offer a wide range of degree programs and opportunities for students from all walks of life.  Read More

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31Oglethorpe University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$274,000
Total 4 Year Cost$189,000
Grad Rate51%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,700
32Franklin and Marshall College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$272,000
Total 4 Year Cost$248,000
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$20,300
33Saint Anselm College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$269,000
Total 4 Year Cost$205,000
Grad Rate75%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$37,900
34Connecticut College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$263,000
Total 4 Year Cost$247,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,700
35Wesleyan University - Middletown, CT(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$261,000
Total 4 Year Cost$254,000
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,300
36Wellesley College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$257,000
Total 4 Year Cost$241,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$17,700
37Morehouse College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$252,000
Total 4 Year Cost$188,000
Grad Rate53%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$33,400
38Muhlenberg College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$251,000
Total 4 Year Cost$226,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,200
39 (tie)Doane College - Crete, NE(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$250,000
Total 4 Year Cost$158,000
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,500
39 (tie)Westmont College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$250,000
Total 4 Year Cost$218,000
Grad Rate78%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,400
41Ursinus College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$249,000
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Grad Rate80%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,800
42Barnard College - Columbia University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$238,000
Total 4 Year Cost$250,000
Grad Rate89%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$20,700
43 (tie)Furman University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$234,000
Total 4 Year Cost$233,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$36,200
43 (tie)Westminster College - Fulton, MO(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$234,000
Total 4 Year Cost$142,000
Grad Rate66%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$33,700
45 (tie)Carleton College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$232,000
Total 4 Year Cost$246,000
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$19,300

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

Beyond that, even in today's tech-dominated culture, the perceived value of a degree in liberal arts seems to be on the rise. "That 'useless' liberal arts degree has become tech's hottest ticket," declared Forbes Magazine in July of 2015. The article goes on to detail the story of tech unicorn Slack, a company valued at about $2 billion and founded by Stewart Butterfield, proud holder of degrees in philosophy and history. Indeed, famously successful liberal arts students include former governor of New York Mario Cuomo, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, CNN founder Ted Turner, Late Night host Conan O'Brien, Harry Potter Author J.K. Rowling and Oscar-winning Director Steven Spielberg. So take that, business majors!

Before you enroll in a quaint little liberal arts college, you should use the College ROI Report to find out which liberal arts colleges give alumni a high return on investment and prepare them for successful careers.

Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, ranks highly in terms of 20 Year Net ROI. Located on a 38-acre campus about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, the school is a part of the Claremont Colleges consortium, and students can attend classes at other schools in the system as well. The school offers four-year degrees in physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, engineering and computer science. Harvey Mudd College traditionally has the highest rate of science and engineering PhD production in the U.S., and numerous astronauts, business leaders and other prominent members of society have graduated from the private school through the years.

When it comes to liberal arts colleges return on investment, you can't go wrong with Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Founded in 1749, the school gets its name from two sources: George Washington endowed it with stock shortly after its founding, and Robert E. Lee served as president from 1865 through 1870. The school is consistently ranked in the first tier for liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. 42 undergraduate majors and 22 minors are offered by its three academic units, and notable alumni include three U.S. Supreme Court justices, 27 U.S. Senators, 31 state governors and several Pulitzer Prize winners.

The largest private liberal arts university in the U.S., Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, is located on a 445-acre rural campus. The school confers degrees from its three schools and colleges across a variety of disciplines, including social sciences, education, engineering and management.