By Tracy Eisenberg
Published January 2016
In the following list of the 20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for STEM, we selected small colleges with a lower net price than similar institutions of this size and academic focus. We awarded points based on the presence of a wide range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees, advanced laboratory facilities, STEM-related internships, scholarship options, and any additional special features that add value for a student beginning their STEM field career. The 20 top STEM colleges profiled below scored the highest among institutions with a maximum enrollment of 6,000 students and a net price (per College Navigator) of $32,000 USD or less. The following will serve as a guide to the best colleges for STEM from a dollar value point of view.
#20 - Westminster College
New Wilmington, Pennsylvania
Net Price: $21,635
Just north of Pittsburgh, Westminster College is a small academic community with diverse options for students interested in studying at one of the best STEM colleges. One of its newest majors is engineering physics, where one acquires a well-rounded education in contemporary physics, mathematics, computer science, and chemistry. Westminster encourages STEM majors to continue their liberal arts studies for good balance in the future workplace. 98% of students receive financial aid, either through merit-based scholarships or other need-based assistance.
#19 - York College
Net Price: $21,120
York College of Pennsylvania is a small suburban college with several academic departments related to STEM study. Some of these departments include biological sciences,engineering, computer science, nursing, and physical sciences. In addition, York sponsors a number of special interest students groups including Biology Club and Chemistry Society for added science exploration. One of York College’s best offerings is its Center for Professional Excellence, where students have access to seminars and other resources for learning how to incorporate professionalism into a career. With an average class size of only 19, this institution provides a personalized, balanced education.
#18 - Christopher Newport University
Newport News, Virginia
Net Price: $20,996
Christopher Newport University in suburban Virginia is a liberal arts college with many opportunities for beginning a STEM career. One available degree is in Computational and Applied Mathematics, which combines a math core curriculum with other scientific courses of study. The 156,000 square-foot science building is an advanced facility for research in behavioral science, chemistry, environmental science, and biology. CNU offers valuable work experience at institutions including the Jefferson Lab, Langley Air Force, and NASA Langley Research Center.
#17 - Berea College
Net Price: $1,990
Berea College has STEM degree opportunities in focus areas including technology and applied design, mathematics, computer science, physics, engineering, and more. Berea is distinct in that it is a “work-college,” which is a tuition model where students work a minimum of service hours in exchange for a degree at no cost. One of the school’s newest majors is in its chemistry department, where graduates are prepared to advance in fields including chemical industrial research, medicine, and biology. The courses taken in the chemistry department also serve as prerequisites for individuals pursuing a nursing career.
#16 - Stevens Institute of Technology
Hoboken, New Jersey
Net Price: $31,492
Stevens Institute of Technology, a research university is one of the oldest technological universities in the nation and the first college in the U.S. dedicated entirely to mechanical engineering. The College’s three “centers of excellence” have top-notch laboratory and research facilities for a wide range of STEM-related disciplines. Some of these disciplines include energy and environment, systems and security, nanotechnology, and biomedicine. Stevens has also partnered with government, industry, and universities worldwide for more advanced educational opportunities. The institution reports a 95% employment rate within six months of graduation.
#15 - Wofford College
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Net Price: $24,731
Wofford College is located in a dynamic community surrounded by six other higher education institutions. One of the College’s many STEM-related offerings is the physics department, where students navigate a rigorous and diverse science curriculum. This curriculum prepares them not only for careers in physics, but also in engineering and technology. Wofford has international study opportunities in more than 70 countries, and was recently ranked fourth in the nation for percentage of students studying abroad.
#14 - Rockford University
Net Price: $20,861
Rockford University, with its small enrollment and rural setting, is a strong option for STEM students seeking a rigorous and diverse curriculum. The College of Science, Math, and Nursing includes concentrations in math, computer science, physics, nursing, and psychology. One of Rockford’s best campus resources is the Starr Science Center, which has advanced computer lab facilities and other educational tools. Rockford awards more than $9 million in grants, scholarships, and other financial aid.
#13 - Colorado School of Mines
Net Price: $25,138
The Colorado School of Mines, at the base of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, is an exciting option for students seeking a STEM degree. It offers the state-of-the-art facilities comparable to those of larger institutions, with a student enrollment that allows for a more personalized education. Mines receives extensive research funding from public and private sources that support alternative energy sources, earth sciences, environmental science, engineering, and more. Mines offers research opportunities through strong partnerships with local laboratories, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Bureau of Reclamation and the United States Geological Survey. This institution is home to the largest section of the Society of Women Engineers in the nation, now reaching nearly 400 members.
#12 - Williams College
Net Price: $20,315
Williams College in northwest Massachusetts includes a science division that will have much appeal to budding STEM professionals. Within this division, one can excel in concentrations including physics, astronomy, biology, computer science, chemistry, and more. Science majors make up more than a third of Williams’ students, and 70-80 seniors per year engage in a year-long thesis in collaboration with faculty. Senior thesis projects often result in science journal publications and participation in professional conferences. Williams College is highly committed to creating financial aid opportunities for talented students of all needs.
#11 - George Fox University
Net Price: $25,359
George Fox University, a Christian-based institution in suburban Portland, is consistently noted for its top-notch faculty and strong academic offerings. In STEM study, available majors include applied science, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and more. According to Money magazine’s “Best Colleges for your Money” issue, George Fox has one of the top values among private universities in the Northwest. Merit scholarships ranging from $7,000 to $17,000 per year are awarded to incoming students with an impressive academic standing, .
#10 - Davidson College
Davidson, North Carolina
Net Price: $24,731
Davidson College was founded just north of Charlotte, North Carolina in 1837. The College has maintained a high academic standard, counting 23 Rhode Scholars among its alumni. The academic dean of Davidson, Wendy Raymond, was recently appointed Chair of the National Science Foundation, and she has committed much of her focus on creating STEM opportunities for underrepresented minority groups in the field. One STEM-related initiative at Davidson is called RISE (Research in Science Experience), a month-long research opportunity offered to select first-year students.
#9 - St. Lawrence University
Canton, New York
Net Price: $30,938
Settled in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of New York State, St. Lawrence University is an excellent choice among the STEM colleges with a smaller student body. Among this institution’s most popular degree programs are biology, mathematics, engineering, statistic, and nursing. Engineering students may choose to take part in international research opportunities in New Zealand, Australia, and Trinidad. A recently added facility is the Johnson Hall of Science, a STEM academic center built with environmentally conscious materials. SLU reports 96.5% of its students are employed or enrolled in professional schools within one year of graduation.
#8 - Albertus Magnus College
New Haven, Connecticut
Net Price: $22,171
Albertus Magnus College is receiving increased recognition for its STEM-related academic offerings. The College’s Bachelor of Science in Chemistry prepares students for diverse career options such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and chemistry education. Albertus offers financial support to incoming science majors through the S.T.E.M. Award, which provides $7,500 tuition reduction and is renewable annually given strong academic standing. Albertus Magnus also sponsors student organizations including Science Club, where members aim to generate a wider interest in science through special activities and initiatives.
#7 - Millikin University
Net Price: $19,208
Millikin University is a close-knit liberal arts college whose goal is to help students become well-rounded, critical thinkers. In the College of Arts and Sciences, STEM academics are found in the departments of biology, chemistry, clinical nuclear science, mathematics, and physics. State-of-the-art facilities, including the 83,000 square-foot Leighty-Tabor Science Center, provide advanced research laboratories, an observatory, and a greenhouse. For extracurricular STEM activity, Millikin sponsors school groups including the Society of Physics Students, Math Club, and American Chemical Society.
#6 - Tuskegee University
Net Price: $28,414
Tuskegee University is a historically black university located just west of Montgomery, Alabama. It was founded by African-American author and educator Booker T. Washington, and was the academic home of scientist George Washington Carver. Tuskegee has several academic programs for STEM students, including agriculture, environment, engineering, veterinary medicine, nursing, and many more. This remarkable institution holds the distinction of being the nation’s number one producer of African-American aerospace science engineers, and is one of only two centers funded by NASA to develop technology for food growth in space during space missions. Tuskegee has a range of STEM-related scholarships available to qualifying students.
#5 - Albion College
Net Price: $24,906
Albion College in South Central Michigan is a higher education community with state-of-the-art facilities and numerous STEM-related degree opportunities and a small student body, placing it among the top five of our best colleges for STEM based on educational value. The College’s Science Complex has four academic buildings that house the departments of biology, geology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science. This complex offers research space and laboratories for the best possible education in this field. For STEM student seeking travel opportunities, Albion has study-abroad partnerships in biology, chemistry, health science, and mathematics in colleges all over the world. One of this institution’s goals is affordability, awarding more than $24 million in scholarships and grants in the past academic year alone.
#4 - Colby College
Net Price: $18,477
Colby College is one of the most selective institutions in higher education. Among its 54 majors and 30 minors is a comprehensive range of STEM-related degree opportunities. Some of these available degrees include biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, physics, and technology. Additionally, Colby participates in engineering dual-degree programs with top STEM colleges including Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Colby College offers science-based scholarships including SMART (Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation), a program in partnership with the Department of Defense laboratories.
#3 - Aquinas College
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Net Price: $18,358
Aquinas College is a diverse liberal arts college rooted in Catholic Dominican tradition. This institution was recently recognized for its affordability by U.S. News and World Report, adding it to its "Great Schools, Great Prices" list. For aspiring STEM professionals, Aquinas has degrees available in chemistry, mathematics, pre-med, nursing, biology, physics, and more. The Albertus Magnus Hall of Science features high-end science labs, a greenhouse, and a scaled model of the solar system called Foster Planet Walk. Aquinas has scholarship opportunities for students in life sciences, and for women who are excelling in STEM academics.
#2 - Clarkson University
Net Price: $28,303
Clarkson University in upstate New York is one of the most well-respected educational institutions in the nation. STEM programs occupy a large portion of the college’s 50+ academic programs. Some of these STEM programs include biotechnology, environment and energy, and advanced materials science. One of the school’s most innovative engineering opportunities is SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design), in which student teams from 15 different majors collaborate on specialized projects. For extracurricular STEM-related involvement, Clarkson supports professional organizations such as the American Indian Science & Engineering Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Society of Women Engineers, among others.
#1 - New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Socorro, New Mexico
Net Price: $11,789
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology tops this ranking of best STEM colleges, offering bachelor of science degrees in technology, engineering, technical communication, and the sciences. Newsweek ranked this college, also known as New Mexico Tech, among the best small science and engineering schools in North America. This institution is well known for its impressive list of research partnerships, some of which include the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and the Petroleum Recovery Research Center. These centers often employ students and give them the opportunity contribute to groundbreaking research.
The preceding is a ranked list of the 20 Best Deals on Small Colleges for STEM fields.