Best colleges Liberal Arts Most Affordable Schools

Most affordable liberal arts schools

While cost may not be the deciding factor when choosing a liberal arts school, it remains an important consideration that can significantly affect your future finances. Here we rank the most affordable schools currently on the market with the help of our impartial methodology. Find the school that is right for you.  

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Net cost: The median annual cost of all students that receive any aid. This does not refer to the “sticker price”, the price listed by the college.

Earnings: The median earnings of all bachelor-level students 10 years after enrollment. This includes both students that do and do not graduate, across all majors.

Payback: The amount of time in years it takes to pay off the median net cost by the median earnings. For this calculation, the median earning of high school graduates (in the school’s home state) are deducted from the median earnings.

Earningsplus: The difference between the school’s median earnings and the median earnings for all schools in the same state.

Rankings: The ranking order is based on the economic score. The economic score is calculated using a school’s payback and earningsplus performance.

Net cost
Payback
Earnings
EarningsPlus
Rankings
Ranking methodology
#1 in Most Affordable Schools | #25 in Liberal Arts

Berea College

Berea, Kentucky

Economic score: 1.94

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $5,184

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.7 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $37,154

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $5,986

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 33%
Graduation rate: 64%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#2 in Most Affordable Schools | #29 in Liberal Arts

New College of Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Economic score: 2.08

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $8,516

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $43,994

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $727

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 70%
Graduation rate: 60%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#3 in Most Affordable Schools | #81 in Liberal Arts

The University of Virginia's College at Wise

Wise, Virginia

Economic score: 3.06

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $10,061

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $41,055

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,929

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 83%
Graduation rate: 53%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#4 in Most Affordable Schools | #46 in Liberal Arts

Charter Oak State College

New Britain, Connecticut

Economic score: 2.44

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $10,724

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 1.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $54,604

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $14,956

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: N/A
Graduation rate: 58%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#5 in Most Affordable Schools | #36 in Liberal Arts

Shepherd University

Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Economic score: 2.19

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $11,021

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $45,723

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,351

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 98%
Graduation rate: 50%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#6 in Most Affordable Schools | #120 in Liberal Arts

Wesleyan College

Macon, Georgia

Economic score: 4.17

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $11,358

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $38,065

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $3,828

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 60%
Graduation rate: 58%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#7 in Most Affordable Schools | #68 in Liberal Arts

University of Minnesota-Morris

Morris, Minnesota

Economic score: 2.82

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $11,412

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $47,373

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $7,903

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 65%
Graduation rate: 65%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#8 in Most Affordable Schools | #27 in Liberal Arts

Beloit College

Beloit, Wisconsin

Economic score: 2.05

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $11,433

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $50,499

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $1,576

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 59%
Graduation rate: 80%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#9 in Most Affordable Schools | #59 in Liberal Arts

University of North Carolina at Asheville

Asheville, North Carolina

Economic score: 2.63

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $12,061

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.6 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $42,027

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $44

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 80%
Graduation rate: 62%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#10 in Most Affordable Schools | #23 in Liberal Arts

University of New Hampshire at Manchester

Manchester, New Hampshire

Economic score: 1.87

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $13,649

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $61,997

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $2,460

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 86%
Graduation rate: 62%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#11 in Most Affordable Schools | #87 in Liberal Arts

Soka University of America

Aliso Viejo, California

Economic score: 3.19

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $13,914

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $48,193

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $2,486

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 52%
Graduation rate: 91%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#12 in Most Affordable Schools | #103 in Liberal Arts

Lyon College

Batesville, Arkansas

Economic score: 3.72

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $15,447

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $43,343

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $660

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 51%
Graduation rate: 51%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#13 in Most Affordable Schools | #95 in Liberal Arts

Ave Maria University

Ave Maria, Florida

Economic score: 3.36

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $15,527

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.4 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $45,789

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $1,068

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 92%
Graduation rate: 57%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#14 in Most Affordable Schools | #170 in Liberal Arts

Blackburn College

Carlinville, Illinois

Economic score: 6.90

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $15,993

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 5.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $38,571

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $6,266

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 56%
Graduation rate: 47%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#15 in Most Affordable Schools | #176 in Liberal Arts

Fort Lewis College

Durango, Colorado

Economic score: 7.83

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,274

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 6.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $38,083

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $7,838

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 92%
Graduation rate: 47%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#16 in Most Affordable Schools | #172 in Liberal Arts

Bethany Lutheran College

Mankato, Minnesota

Economic score: 6.99

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,368

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 5.1 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $40,621

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $14,655

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 65%
Graduation rate: 53%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#17 in Most Affordable Schools | #105 in Liberal Arts

Illinois College

Jacksonville, Illinois

Economic score: 3.75

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,562

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 3.9 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $46,510

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $1,673

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 76%
Graduation rate: 69%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#18 in Most Affordable Schools | #37 in Liberal Arts

Saint Vincent College

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Economic score: 2.20

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,634

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $55,543

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $1,965

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 73%
Graduation rate: 78%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#19 in Most Affordable Schools | #18 in Liberal Arts

Albion College

Albion, Michigan

Economic score: 1.73

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,653

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 2.2 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $54,792

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: + $10,746

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 75%
Graduation rate: 65%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

#20 in Most Affordable Schools | #182 in Liberal Arts

Judson College

Marion, Alabama

Economic score: 16.63

The economic score is calculated using two factors: 1) how fast students are able to payback their educational investment with new earnings and 2) how much alumni earn compared to all alumni in the same state, 10 years after enrollment. These two factors are referred to as payback and earningsplus.

These scorings are based on the most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

View school
Net cost: $16,827

The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

Payback: 11.3 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $29,569

Median earnings of all students 10 years after enrollment. Includes students that did not graduate.

EarningsPlus: - $13,794

How much more/less money the median student earns against all bachelor students in the same state, same enrollment year.

Admission rate: 57%
Graduation rate: 45%

Schools with a graduation rate in the bottom 50% in their state are shown in red. Schools in the bottom 25% nationally are put to the end of the ranking list.

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