Best need-blind liberal arts colleges

Needs-blind is a policy where a candidate’s ability to pay for their education is not a factor under consideration during the admissions process. Focusing on schools that implement this policy can increase your chance of acceptance. Here we rank the best need-blinds liberal arts schools using our economics-based methodology.  

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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 Need Blind | #1 in Liberal Arts

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont, California

Economic score: 0.87

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: $22,161

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

Payback: 1.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $86,571

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

EarningsPlus: + $35,892

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

Admission rate: 14%
Graduation rate: 94%

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 Need Blind | #2 in Liberal Arts

Harvey Mudd College

Claremont, California

Economic score: 0.92

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: $32,727

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: $108,988

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

EarningsPlus: + $58,309

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

Admission rate: 18%
Graduation rate: 93%

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 Need Blind | #4 in Liberal Arts

Davidson College

Davidson, North Carolina

Economic score: 1.15

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: $19,115

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: $71,671

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

EarningsPlus: + $29,600

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

Admission rate: 20%
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.

#4 in Need Blind | #6 in Liberal Arts

Pomona College

Claremont, California

Economic score: 1.18

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: $17,458

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

Payback: 1.6 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $69,149

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

EarningsPlus: + $18,470

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

Admission rate: 9%
Graduation rate: 94%

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 Need Blind | #9 in Liberal Arts

Wabash College

Crawfordsville, Indiana

Economic score: 1.45

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: $19,015

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: $63,425

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

EarningsPlus: + $17,780

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

Admission rate: 64%
Graduation rate: 72%

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 Need Blind | #11 in Liberal Arts

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Economic score: 1.53

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: $19,184

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: $72,637

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

EarningsPlus: + $19,059

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

Admission rate: 10%
Graduation rate: 95%

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 Need Blind | #12 in Liberal Arts

Hamilton College

Clinton, New York

Economic score: 1.54

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: $25,440

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: $74,340

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

EarningsPlus: + $18,650

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

Admission rate: 19%
Graduation rate: 93%

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 Need Blind | #14 in Liberal Arts

Amherst College

Amherst, Massachusetts

Economic score: 1.64

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: $18,524

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: $71,567

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

EarningsPlus: + $3,809

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

Admission rate: 12%
Graduation rate: 93%

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 Need Blind | #16 in Liberal Arts

Haverford College

Haverford, Pennsylvania

Economic score: 1.68

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: $22,991

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: $69,192

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

EarningsPlus: + $15,614

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

Admission rate: 19%
Graduation rate: 92%

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 Need Blind | #17 in Liberal Arts

Williams College

Williamstown, Massachusetts

Economic score: 1.71

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: $19,480

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

Payback: 1.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $71,608

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

EarningsPlus: + $3,850

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

Admission rate: 16%
Graduation rate: 96%

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 Need Blind | #19 in Liberal Arts

Bowdoin College

Brunswick, Maine

Economic score: 1.80

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: $21,910

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

Payback: 2.5 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $66,864

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

EarningsPlus: + $19,598

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

Admission rate: 10%
Graduation rate: 95%

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 Need Blind | #21 in Liberal Arts

University of Richmond

University of Richmond, Virginia

Economic score: 1.84

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: $25,838

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: $69,310

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

EarningsPlus: + $26,326

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

Admission rate: 31%
Graduation rate: 83%

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 Need Blind | #22 in Liberal Arts

Barnard College

New York, New York

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: $28,204

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: $71,678

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

EarningsPlus: + $15,988

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

Admission rate: 14%
Graduation rate: 93%

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 Need Blind | #33 in Liberal Arts

Middlebury College

Middlebury, Vermont

Economic score: 2.14

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: $25,656

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: $65,933

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

EarningsPlus: + $12,419

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

Admission rate: 23%
Graduation rate: 92%

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 Need Blind | #43 in Liberal Arts

Wellesley College

Wellesley, Massachusetts

Economic score: 2.36

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: $22,087

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: $66,531

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

EarningsPlus: - $1,227

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

Admission rate: 21%
Graduation rate: 93%

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 Need Blind | #48 in Liberal Arts

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, New York

Economic score: 2.49

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: $26,208

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

Payback: 2.8 years

Average time in years to pay back educational costs.

Earnings: $62,332

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

EarningsPlus: + $6,642

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

Admission rate: 25%
Graduation rate: 92%

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 Need Blind | #51 in Liberal Arts

Grinnell College

Grinnell, Iowa

Economic score: 2.55

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: $22,486

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: $59,488

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

EarningsPlus: + $6,650

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

Admission rate: 20%
Graduation rate: 85%

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 Need Blind | #57 in Liberal Arts

Wesleyan University

Middletown, Connecticut

Economic score: 2.62

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: $26,527

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: $68,102

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

EarningsPlus: - $1,458

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

Admission rate: 21%
Graduation rate: 89%

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 Need Blind | #58 in Liberal Arts

St Olaf College

Northfield, Minnesota

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: $23,543

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: $60,242

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

EarningsPlus: + $4,966

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: 87%

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 Need Blind | #70 in Liberal Arts

Denison University

Granville, Ohio

Economic score: 2.85

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: $28,614

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: $57,435

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

EarningsPlus: + $9,036

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

Admission rate: 29%
Graduation rate: 85%

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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