This article highlights the 50 most competitive small colleges with great financial aid packages.
According to the American Student Assistance (ASA), a non-profit organization that acts as a student loan guarantor, the financial aid industry is constantly evolving. At the forefront of change is the re-creation of financial aid programs designed to eliminate the burden of educational debt after graduation.
Even the most expensive and highly selective colleges in the country now offer substantial financial aid awards that either eliminate, or cap, loan amounts. This means that students can often graduate from a highly competitive college debt-free. With nearly 40 million Americans burdened with outstanding college debt, even the most selective small colleges are providing educational expense relief.
Small colleges and private higher-learning institutions are paying attention to the student loan debt crisis. Need-Blind policies allow schools to offer generous financial aid packages that include grants, scholarships, and work study programs, no matter the student’s financial standing or economic demographic. Some schools even offer tuition reimbursement packages that promise a debt-free education – for all four years.
We examined 247 schools to compile our list of the 50 competitive small colleges offering great financial aid packages. We looked at colleges offering a four-year bachelor’s degree, an enrollment of 5,000 or fewer students, and a 50 percent or less admittance rate. We then compared the total expenses on campus and the average net price as indicated by the National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences – College Navigator.
From these numbers we were able to gather the 50 Most Competitive Small Colleges with Great Financial Aid. The list price (total expenses before aid) and net price are the most current numbers listed by College Navigator, and may be subject to change. Be sure to contact the school directly for the most recent attendance cost.
Ranking the Top Small Liberal Arts Colleges with Best Financial Aid
#50 – Concord University
Athens, West Virginia
List Price: $17,720
Net Price: $7,224
Concord University is a public university dating back to 1872. The school is considered to be one of the most affordable in the state, offering various scholarships and financial aid options. Incoming and current students are eligible for many of Concord’s scholarship programs. The tuition reduction program is offered to out-of-state students who declare a qualifying major. Concord University is nationally ranked among the top schools in the country. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the university as the 50th Best Regional College in the South and the 5th Top Public School in the United States.
#49 – Bard College
Annandale-On-Hudson, New York
List Price: $62,572
Net Price: $25,275
Known for its historic main campus along the Hudson River, Bard College offers innovative undergraduate and graduate programs in a comfortable and scenic atmosphere. The school was founded in 1860 and today operates as a co-ed, nonsectarian liberal arts institution that promotes diversity and emphasizes all forms of tolerance. The school focuses on financial aid awards so that students of all economic backgrounds are eligible. The award packages include scholarships and grants, loans, and work-study funding. U.S. News and World Report ranks Bard College as the 45th Best National Liberal Arts College in the country. Bard’s Fine Arts graduate program is ranked among the Top 13 Best Graduate Schools in the U. S.
#48 – Trinity College
List Price: $62,310
Net Price: $25,120
Recognized for its architecture and traditional New England style, Trinity College emphasizes liberal arts and sciences through a variety of degree programs. The college boasts a 10:1 student-faculty ratio that promotes student access to professors outside of classes. About 40 percent of Trinity students receive need-based financial aid. Each year, Trinity College commits over $30 million of the school’s own funds to financial assistance. U.S. News and World Report ranks Trinity College as the 45th Best National Liberal Arts College in the U. S., and the 34th Best Value School.
#47 – Saint Xavier University
List Price: $41,772
Net Price: $16,736
Saint Xavier University is a highly ranked institution in the heart of Chicago, boasting national, regional, and global accolades. Recent awards include Catholic Colleges of Distinction, Illinois Colleges of Distinction, and two Silver Trumpet honors for university relations. U.S. News and World Report ranks Saint Xavier as the 49th Best Regional University in the Midwest in the magazine’s 2015 edition of Best Colleges. Undergraduate and graduate aid programs are available through the school. From grants and work-study programs to graduate assistantships and fellowships, award packages make the school one of the most affordable of its kind.
#46 – Notre Dame of Maryland University
List Price: $46,092
Net Price: $18,370
Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1873, Notre Dame of Maryland University is located in the heart of Baltimore. The school is one of the only women’s colleges in the state and was the first Catholic college for women in the U.S. The school has received numerous national rankings and honors for its dedication to excellence in education. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution as the 50th Best Regional University in the North. To make education more affordable, Notre Dame offers various financial aid packages for entering and continuing students. Approximately 95 percent of Women’s College students receive need-based or non-need based financial aid.
#45 – Connecticut College
New London, Connecticut
List Price: $60,780
Net Price: $24,152
With a student faculty ratio of 9:1 and a tradition of academic excellence, Connecticut College’s reputation for offering rigorous programs with tremendous pay-offs has become part of the school’s spotlight. The school has received numerous awards and accolades. U.S. News and World Report ranks Connecticut College as the 45th Best National Liberal Arts College in the country. The school is also known for its affordability through its dedication to offering generous financial aid award packages. Approximately 88 percent of the financial aid the school offers is in the form of grants, which do not have to be repaid.
#44 – University of South Florida – Sarasota - Manatee
List Price: $19,937
Net Price: $7,911
The University of South Florida at Sarasota and Manatee is a small and personalized institution, committed to academic rigor and affordability. The school is recognized for offering the lowest tuition in the Florida university system. From scholarships to grant programs, a wide variety of tuition reimbursement and financial aid packages are available to both need-based and non need-based students. University of South Florida’s Graduate Business School and MBA program has earned national ranking from U.S. News and World Report. The school prides itself in offering rigorous programs, both undergraduate and graduate, and making the programs affordable to all who apply.
#43 – Davidson College
Davidson, North Carolina
List Price: $57,458
Net Price: $22,457
Located 19 miles north of Charlotte, North Carolina, Davidson College offers a historically rich campus that serves nearly 2,000 students. The school is ranked among the nation’s strongest and most selective liberal arts institutions. U.S. News and World Report ranks Davidson College as the 11th Best National Liberal Arts College and the19th Best Value School in the United States. Davidson College was the first liberal arts college in the country to eliminate loans within its financial aid packages, making the school even more affordable for students. Through the Davidson Trust, the school is able to meet 100 percent of the calculated financial need through grants and student employment.
#42 – Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, New York
List Price: $62,750
Net Price: $24,316
Located on the scenic 890-acre campus in upstate New York, Skidmore College is a private, four-year liberal arts college that offers 42 majors and over 1,000 courses. The average class size is 17 students with a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. Private institutions demand a considerable financial commitment, but Skidmore offers substantial financial aid packages and various financing plans for families of all economic backgrounds. Nearly 50 percent of Skidmore students receive financial aid. U.S. News and World Report ranks Skidmore as the 37th Best National Liberal Arts College and also the 37th Best Value School in the United States.
#41 – Claremont McKenna College
List Price: $62,010
Net Price: $23,982
Claremont McKenna College, located about 35 miles east of Los Angeles, is a private school founded in 1946. The school boasts small class sizes and a low student- faculty ratio of 8:1. The school is part of the seven-college consortium known as the Claremont Colleges, which include Harvey Mudd, Scripps, and Pitzer. U.S. News and World Report ranks Claremont McKenna as the 8th Best National Liberal Arts College and the 17th Best Value School in the United States. The school is committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need to all students who are accepted. Students of all socioeconomic backgrounds are encouraged to apply due to the school’s Need-Blind Admission policy.
#40 – Christian Brothers University
List Price: $39,058
Net Price: $15,053
Established in 1871, Christian Brothers University was the first college in the city of Memphis, TN. Today, the school is committed to its Lasallian educational heritage by promoting academic excellence mixed with faith and service to the community. The school is ranked in the top 20% of America’s Top Colleges by Forbes magazine, and U.S. News and World Report ranks CBU as the 26th Best Regional University in the South. Affordability is important to the school, which is why U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution as the 7th Best Value School in the country. About 96 percent of all full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid to help offset educational costs.
#39 – Wesleyan University
List Price: $62,849
Net Price: $24,156
Wesleyan University is a private, co-educational university that overlooks the Connecticut River. The school has over 200 student organizations and offers both graduate and undergraduate programs. The school is highly ranked among the best of its kind in a variety of categories. Forbes magazine ranks Wesleyan #15 among America’s Top Colleges. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution as the 15th Best National Liberal Arts College and the 24th Best Value School in the country. About 46 percent of all students receive need-based financial aid. In fact, 33% of first-year financial aid recipients receive scholarships and grants that exceed $55,000.
#38 – Universidad del Sagrado Corazon
Santurce, Puerto Rico
List Price: $19,760
Net Price: $7,505
The private and Catholic school is known as Universidad del Sagrado Corazon. The school is known for offering the academic excellence of a private college with a public spirit. Academic rigor at an affordable price is the school’s motto. Small class sizes, high selectivity practices, and engaged professors make the school a highly sought after institution for higher learning. A full range of student financial assistance programs is available and provided by the U.S. Department of Education, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the university itself. Academic and athletic scholarship programs are available.
#37 – Franklin and Marshall College
List Price: $60,765
Net Price: $22,974
Franklin and Marshall College is a private, liberal arts college located in the Northwest Corridor neighborhood of Lancaster, PA. Founded in 1787, the school credits its start to Benjamin Franklin, who donated 200 pounds to initiate the school. U.S. News and World Report ranks Franklin and Marshall College as the 37th National Liberal Arts College, the 4th Best Up-and-Coming School, and the 32nd Best Value School in the U.S. The school pledges to meet 100 percent of each student’s financial need for all four years. Over 50 percent of students at Franklin and Marshall receive some form of need-based aid.
#36 – Rice University
List Price: $54,291
Net Price: $20,512
Located in the heart of Houston, Rice University offers a comprehensive research program and intimate learning environment. The school is known for its dynamic student life, with a variety of student-run coffeehouses and pubs. The school’s Office of Financial Aid is committed to offering financial aid packages made up of scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans. Kiplinger’s 2015 rankings list Rice University as the #1 Best Value School in the West/Southwest. U.S. News and World Report ranks Rice University as the 19th Best National University and the 9th Best Value School in the country. The magazine also reports that 40.6% of students receive need-based grants.
#35 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
List Price: $59,020
Net Price: $22,212
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA, is just across the river from downtown Boston. The school utilizes a 4-1-4 based academic calendar, and is esteemed for its selectivity and academic rigor. MIT focuses on research in the fields of science and technology. MIT is ranked the 7th Best National University, the 2nd Best Undergraduate Business Program, and the #1 Best Engineering Programs in the U. S., according to U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News also ranks MIT as the 5th Best Value School. The school reports that 90% of undergraduates at MIT receive some type of financial aid to offset the cost of education.
#34 – Hamilton College
Clinton, New York
List Price: $59,590
Net Price: $22,392
Hamilton College is the third oldest higher education institution in New York. Founded in 1812, the school is named after Alexander Hamilton, the former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and board of trustee. Small class sizes and a diversified array of programs make Hamilton one of the most competitive small colleges. U.S. News and World Report ranks Hamilton as the 15th Best National Liberal Arts College in the country. To help students afford the high-ticket price of a private institution, substantial financial aid packages are given. U.S. News and World Report ranks Hamilton College as the 20th Best Value School in the United States.
#33 – University of Puerto Rico - Humacao
Humacao, Puerto Rico
List Price: $14,249
Net Price: $5,348
The University of Puerto Rico at Humacao is a public, state university located in the urban area of Humacao, Puerto Rico. Small class sizes and unique baccalaureate programs make the university appealing to students who want to work in areas of ecology, biology, and physics. The campus is home to the well-known UPRH Observatory. The school offers substantial financial aid packages that combine scholarships, grants, and work-study. Government and private loan options are available. The school offers financial aid packages for both need-based and non need-based students, and is committed to helping students afford their education without feeling the burden of cost.
#32 – Bowdoin College
List Price: $59,900
Net Price: $22,289
Founded in 1794, Bowdoin is a highly selective, private liberal arts college. Bowdoin offers a student-faculty ratio of 9:1, with over 70 percent of classes containing no more than 20 students. Popular majors at Bowdoin include Economics, Environmental Studies, and Political Science. To offset the cost of attendance, Bowdoin College offers generous financial aid packages. About 50 percent of students receive some form of grant assistance. The school is considered Need Blind and meets 100% of demonstrated financial need. U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowdoin as the 8th Best Value School and the 5th Best National Liberal Arts College in the U.S.
#31 – Swarthmore College
List Price: $60,671
Net Price: $22,557
Affordability and commitment to excellence are what draw students to Swarthmore College. This private, liberal arts school, founded in 1864, is about 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia. The school is a highly selective institution known for its liberal arts and engineering programs. U.S. News and World Report ranks Swarthmore as the 3rd Best National Liberal Arts College in the United States. Other rankings include 4th Best Undergraduate Teaching Program and the 11th Best Value School. The school focuses on the ability to provide financial aid to qualified students. Over 50 percent of the students demonstrate financial need and receive scholarship assistance from the school.
#30 – St. Vincent’s College
List Price: $44,650
Net Price: $16,579
St. Vincent’s College was founded in 1905 as the St. Vincent’s Hospital Training School for Nurses. Today, the school is a comprehensive health career college that focuses on specific areas of health, including nursing, radiologic science, and medical assisting. To help students afford education costs, a variety of financial aid programs are available. Students may choose from grants, work-study, and scholarships. Eligible students may also benefit from the school’s access to the State of Connecticut Capitol Scholarship Program and the Connecticut Independent College Student Grant Program. The school is dedicated to offering financial aid packages to need-based students.
#29 – Mount Mary University
List Price: $37,512
Net Price: $13,665
Considered to be an all-women’s college at the undergraduate level, Mount Mary University is a private, Catholic liberal arts university that serves women pursuing baccalaureate degrees and men pursuing master’s degrees. Mount Mary is located in the heart of Milwaukee and has the reputation of challenging students for over 100 years. U.S. News and World Report ranks Mount Mary University as the 91st Best Regional University in the Midwest and the 33rd Best College for Veterans. To help offset the costs of attendance, the college offers substantial financial aid packages. Nearly 100 percent of full-time undergraduate students receive some form of an academic scholarship.
#28 – Haverford College
List Price: $61,898
Net Price: $22,409
Ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the U.S., Haverford College is recognized for its academic excellence and affordability. U.S. News and World Report ranks Haverford as the 8th Best National Liberal Arts College and the 10th Best Value School in the country, in the magazine’s 2015 edition of Best Colleges. Haverford’s rigorous academics and commitment to minimizing student debt at graduation make the college a top choice for students. Students and their families who earn less than $60,000 per year will not receive loans in their financial aid packages. Award packages include scholarships, work-study, and grant monies that do not need to be paid back.
#27 – Bates College
List Price: $61,000
Net Price: $22,062
Bates College was the first coeducation college in New England. The small, private liberal arts institution sits along the Androscoggin River in Lewiston, offering an inviting and scenic spot for learning. Outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to the campus location, with beaches, ski resorts, and natural parks situated nearby. College attendance is made affordable through the school’s generous financial aid awards and packages. The school believes in making high-quality education accessible to all. Over $33 million in grant aid is provided to students annually and more than 50% of the students receive some form of financial aid. U.S. News and World Report ranks Bates as the 19th Best National Liberal Arts College and the 22nd Best Value School in the U.S.
#26 – Colgate University
Hamilton, New York
List Price: $60,050
Net Price: $21,649
Founded in 1819, Colgate University is a private, liberal arts institution nestled within 553 acres of rural land near Hamilton, N.Y. Along with academic excellence and rigorous academics, the school is known for its student engagement and outdoor education programs. The school is committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need for all admitted students. Need-based assistance is offered through generous financial aid packages. Grant, loan, and work-study programs are available. U.S. News and World Report ranks Colgate University as the 22nd Best National Liberal Arts College and the 16th Best Value School in the United States.
#25 – Mississippi Valley State University
Itta Bena, Mississippi
List Price: $19,452
Net Price: $7,003
A public institution, Mississippi Valley State University is one of the top historically black colleges in the country. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks MVSU as the 50th Best Historically Black College and University. The school is also ranked among the Tier 2 Regional Universities in the South. Mississippi Valley is dedicated to offering financial aid packages that offset the costs of education for admitted students. The school's is to remove financial barriers for students who want to earn a college degree from the MVSU. Through grants and scholarships, loans, and work study programs, Mississippi Valley provides the means for affordable education.
#24 – Wellesley College
List Price: $59,092
Net Price: $21,216
Wellesley College is a private, women’s focused liberal arts college located in a suburban setting of Wellesley, Massachusetts. The school offers strong academics and beautifully landscaped campus that encompasses a lake and woodlands. The campus is about 12 miles west of Boston. To offset the cost of education at one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the country, Wellesley offers comprehensive financial aid packages. Need-based and non-need based scholarships and grants are available, and the school works with families to assist with payment plans and minimal loans. U.S. News and World Report ranks Wellesley College as the 4th Best Value School and also the 4th Best National Liberal Arts College in the U.S.
#23 – Brescia University
List Price: $30,390
Net Price: $10,795
Brescia University is a private college known for its Catholic heritage and tradition, and dedication to academic and moral excellence. Offering affordable education to its small student body is a major mission of Brescia. It has generous financial aid packages. The school’s tuition and fees fall significantly below the national average at other private liberal arts colleges. U.S. News and World Report ranks Brescia University as the 43rd Best Regional College in the South and the 153rd Best Online Bachelor’s Program.
#22 – Barnard College
New York, New York
List Price: $61,512
Net Price: $21,791
Barnard College is an all-female college in Manhattan that works in partnership with Columbia University, located across the street. Barnard College students may take classes, play sports, and join organizations at Columbia, while pursuing a small, liberal arts education at Barnard. Students experience the intimacy of a small school while enjoying an urban lifestyle in the heart of the Big Apple. U.S. News and World Report ranks Barnard as the 32nd Best National Liberal Arts College in the country. With the combination of liberal arts and Ivy League education, the price for attendance can be extreme. However, Barnard College offers generous financial aid packages to offset costs. The mission of the financial aid office is to help each family make the best financial choice.
#21 – Washington and Lee University
List Price: $58,575
Net Price: $20,700
Washington and Lee University is located in the rural area of Lexington, Virginia. The school was founded in 1749, offering a historically rich heritage and campus filled with museums and traditional architecture. The school is known for its nationally ranked law school and the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. U.S. News and World Report ranks Washington and Lee University as the 14th Best National Liberal Arts College in the U.S., due to its strong academics and selectivity. The school is also ranked as the 9th Best Value School by U.S. News and World Report. Generous financial aid awards and packages help students and their families afford the quality education found at Washington and Lee.
#20 – Middlebury College
List Price: $59,470
Net Price: $20,903
Ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the U.S., Middlebury is one of the most affordable schools of its kind. Founded in 1800, Middlebury is nestled in the Champlain Valley between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains of Vermont. U.S. News and World Report ranks Middlebury College as the 7th Best National Liberal Arts College in the U.S. The school believes paying for education should not be burdensome and provides generous financial aid packages. Enforcing a Need-Blind stance on admissions, the Financial Aid Office at Middlebury is prepared to meet 100 percent of the financial need related to attendance. Grant aid is offered to about 50 percent of the student body.
#19 – Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
List Price: $63,279
Net Price: $21,277
The name Dartmouth is synonymous with academic excellence. It is a private, coeducational institution offering rigorous academics and an Ivy League education. To offset the expenses Dartmouth offers substantial financial aid packages including scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Dartmouth is committed to affordability, especially to families helped by need-based aid. Dartmouth boasts that their average student debt is one of the lowest in the country. U.S. News and World Report ranks Dartmouth as the 11th Best National University in the country and the 7th Best Value School for affordability.
#18 – Maria College of Albany
Albany, New York
List Price: $20,980
Net Price: $6,957
Maria College of Albany is a private, small college. About 90% of the student body is female, although the school is considered to be coeducational. The school is known for its Allied Health programs, particularly Nursing and Psychology. To help students afford the expense of higher education, Maria College of Albany offers generous financial aid packages through scholarships and grants. Although the school is private, it is also affordable due to commitment to keep costs low. Typical financial aid programs include the New York State TAP Grant, New York State Scholarships, and Institutional Scholarships.
#17 – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
List Price: $22,582
Net Price: $7,452
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a public school situated in the urban setting of Pine Bluff. Founded in 1973, the school is one of the oldest of its kind in Arkansas. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff as the 43rd Best Regional College in the South and the 4th among the Top Public Schools. The institution is also ranked as the 35th Best Historically Black College and University in the U.S. Affordability is a key focus of the school’s financial aid office. To offset tuition, generous financial aid awards are issued to incoming students, including institutional scholarships, private and outside scholarships, state scholarship opportunities, and federal grants.
#16 – Williams College
List Price: $61,850
Net Price: $20,315
Williams College is known for its strong academic programs, rigorous courses, and student engagement. Nestled in the historic town of Williamstown, the school is surrounded by the Berkshire Mountains. Williams College is also the oldest college in the country, founded in 1793. The school ranks #1 among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the U.S by U.S. News and World Report. To offset costs Williams College offers significant financial aid packages. U.S. News and World Report ranks Williams College as the 2nd Best Value School in the country.
#15 – Curtis Institute of Music
List Price: $20,742
Net Price: $6,751
Curtis Institute of Music is a private institution located in the heart of Philadelphia. The school is for gifted young musicians who want to launch their careers as professional performing artists. To help offset the cost of education, Curtis has provided an all-scholarship policy since it opened its doors in the 1920s. The school offers merit-based scholarships to all undergraduate and graduate students. These scholarships cover the entire cost of tuition, regardless of need or financial situations. Scholarships are renewed each year and no financial aid application is necessary for the full-tuition scholarship. Curtis works hard to provide affordable, yet quality, education for its gifted musicians.
#14 – Soka University of America
Aliso Viejo, California
List Price: $42,076
Net Price: $13,635
Founded in 1987, Soka University of America is a private, coeducational institution that sits high above a wilderness park, overlooking the California valley about two miles from the Pacific Ocean. While the school was founded on Buddhist principles of peace, harmony, and human rights, it maintains a non-sectarian view with no religious affiliation. U.S. News and World Report ranks Soka as the 41st Best National Liberal Arts College in the country. Soka is also ranked #5 among the Best Value Schools in the country. To help students afford the cost of higher education, Soka offers generous financial aid packages. One hundred percent of entering freshmen received grant and scholarship aid last year.
#13 – Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, New York
List Price: $61,320
Net Price: $19,661
Recognized for its academic strength and rigor, Vassar College is also considered one of the most affordable schools due to great financial aid packages provided to incoming freshmen. Located along the scenic Hudson Valley just 75 miles north of New York City, Vassar attracts students from all over the state with its prime location and affordable education. U.S. News and World Report ranks Vassar as the 11th Best National Liberal Arts College and the 6th Best Value School in the U.S. Vassar is committed to providing affordable, quality education. Vassar meets 100% of the full demonstrated need of every student. Through a need-blind admission policy, Vassar provides grants and scholarships to every admitted student, no matter the income level.
#12 – Reed College
List Price: $59,630
Net Price: $18,671
Located about five miles from Downtown Portland, Reed College is a unique liberal arts institution where professors assign letter grades, but students never see the grade unless it falls below a C. Other things that make this small and prestigious school unique are its quality of education and affordability. U.S. News and World Report ranks Reed College as the 77th Best National Liberal Arts College in the U.S. Reed meets 100 percent of the demonstrated need of all admitted students for all four years of attendance. About 50 percent of Reed students received need-based aid in 2014-2015, with the average financial aid package worth over $44,000.
#11 – Colby College
List Price: $59,110
Net Price: $18,477
Founded in 1813, Colby College is one of the oldest learning institutions of its kind in Maine. The school is in a rural setting with its main campus home to the expansive Perkins Arboretum wildlife refuge. U.S. News and World Report ranks Colby as the 15th Best National Liberal Arts College and the 14th Best Value School in the U.S. To provide students with affordable private education, Colby College offers a no-loan policy financial aid program. The college replaces student loans with grant assistance that does not require repayment. This policy makes it possible for students to attend Colby College without acquiring debt.
#10 – Touro University Worldwide
Los Alamitos, California
List Price: $38,862
Net Price: $11,988
Touro University is a nonprofit university that is part of the Jewish-sponsored Touro College and University System. Students receive online and on-ground campus networks that provide quality liberal arts education with a global-minded setting. Touro is a military friendly institution that is often recognized for its affordability and generous financial aid awards. Touro believes in offering reduced tuition rates for military, alumni, and partnering institution transfers. Tuition assistance is a top priority at Touro. Financial aid packages include grants, scholarships, and work-study programs.
#9 – Inter American University of Puerto Rico - Barranquitas
Barranquitas, Puerto Rico
List Price: $15,839
Net Price: $4,877
The Inter American University of Puerto Rico in Barranquitas is an Ecumenic Christian private university focused on providing quality academics and reduced educational costs. With a net price of under $5,000, it is no surprise that the university is one of the most affordable schools in the country. It was founded in 1912, and is recognized as being the first liberal arts college to receive accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in Puerto Rico. About 99 percent of all incoming freshmen receive grant aid that does not require repayment.
#8 – Webb Institute
Glen Cove, New York
List Price: $61,820
Net Price: $18,276
The Webb Institute is a private engineering institution that offers top-ranked undergraduate studies in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The school is known for its 100 percent job placement program and four-year, full-time tuition scholarship awards. In fact, Webb Institute offers the only full-time scholarship private undergrad program of its kind. This means that all students receive a tuition scholarship. Webb is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its engineering and naval programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
#7 – Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
New York, New York
List Price: $60,075
Net Price: $17,453
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, also known as Cooper Union, is a private college founded in 1859. The school is in New York’s East Village neighborhood. The school is comprised of three schools: the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture; the School of Art; and the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. U.S. News and World Report ranks the college as the 2nd Best Regional College in the North and #1 among the Best Value Schools in the United States. What makes Cooper Union a Best Value School is its quality education combined with affordability. It provides generous financial aid packages designed to meet all educational expenses.
#6 – University of Puerto Rico - Bayamon
Bayamon, Puerto Rico
List Price: $14,442
Net Price: $3,897
The University of Puerto Rico in Bayamon, Puerto Rico is a public institution open to students from all over the world. The school was founded in 1971 and offers various undergraduate programs. The campus is known for its business administration, computer science, and engineering programs. To offset the cost of education, the school offers comprehensive financial aid packages that include federal grants, scholarships, and work-study programs. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid, especially if education costs seem out of reach. The school prides itself in offering grant money that does not require repayment.
#5 – Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico
Arecibo, Puerto Rico
List Price: $14,129
Net Price: $3,465
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico is the third largest campus in the University of Puerto Rico system. The state university is located in the north of island, next to the largest pharmaceutical complex in the Caribbean. The school is known for its programs in microbiology, Latin American studies, and veterinary technology. It offers generous financial aid packages to help students graduating without debt. To assist with the cost of college, the university offers generous work-study programs, tuition scholarships, and grants. Grant monies do not need to be repaid.
#4 – Amherst College
List Price: $61,544
Net Price: $14,687
Amherst College is one of the most highly esteemed liberal arts colleges in the United States. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 2nd Best National Liberal Arts College in the country. With a diverse student body, supportive community engagement, and rigorous academic program, it is no wonder the school is nationally ranked among the best of its kind. To help with cost, Amherst awards generous financial aid packages that offset the expense. Despite the school’s high tuition price tag, U.S. News and World Report ranks Amherst as the #1 Best Value School in the country because of its financial aid programs.
#3 – Antioch College
Yellow Springs, Ohio
List Price: $39,285
Net Price: $8,946
Antioch College is a private, liberal arts institution. The school boasts a 90% student retention rate and a student-faculty ratio of 7:1. Antioch offers a unique study design with immersive majors and the option to self-design the program of interest. To offset the expense of a private, liberal arts education, Antioch offers generous financial aid packages. One hundred percent of the graduating class of 2019 received at least a half-tuition scholarship. The school is committed to meeting up to 95 percent of each student’s demonstrated need. First generation college students are at an advantage with significant aid offered to assist with their educational costs.
#2 – Elizabeth City State University
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
List Price: $13,161
Net Price: $2,490
Elizabeth City State University is a public institution located in the rural and historic area of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The school was founded in 1891, and today offers a dynamic learning environment at an affordable rate. It offers a wide disbursement of aid to help offset the costs of education. Students may receive federal Pell grants, scholarships, or participate in the federal work-study program. U.S. News and World Report ranks Elizabeth City State University as the 29th Best Regional College in the South and the 2nd Top Public School in the country. It is also ranked as the 20th Best Historically Black College and University in the U.S.
#1 – Berea College
List Price: $31,870
Net Price: $1,990
Berea College is a private, liberal arts institution known for being the first coeducational and interracial school in the South. What makes Berea even more notable is that it does not charge students tuition for attending. The college relies exclusively on gifts, endowment, and financial aid to support students with their educational expenses. Affordability is one of the main missions of the school. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 69th Best National Liberal Arts College in the U.S. Between rigorous academics, liberal arts studies, and affordability, it is no wonder why Berea College is #1 in competitive small colleges offering great financial aid programs.
By GCD Staff
Other articles of interest:
• Forbes Magazine, America’s Top Colleges
• Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator
• Princeton Review, College Rankings
• U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges Rankings and Lists