50 Most Affordable Small Private Colleges

Affordable private universities, which often have fewer than 2,000 students, are a great option for those wanting to avoid the larger students bodies of the public university system. While classes at state schools often take place in lecture halls with hundreds of students, private universities offer an intimate class setting with more interaction between students and professors. Studies show that undergraduate students in lecture-style classes are 1.5 times more likely to fail than those in classes that use a more interactive teaching approach. On top of that, courses at private schools are generally taught by professors with a terminal degree — whereas courses at larger, state universities may be led by graduate students working as teaching assistants.

The advantages of a small student body at affordable private universities extend beyond the classroom. Dorms tend to be less crowded, making it easier for students to forge connections with one another; there are also more opportunities for students to find leadership positions. Small private universities are ideal for students who crave a supportive, intimate atmosphere that encourages personal growth. If you want the benefits of private school at a price tag that you can afford, explore our ranking below to find the most affordable private universities across the nation.


50 Most Affordable Small Private Colleges
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

Summit Christian College

Value Score 8.86
Average Tuition $5,600
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $9,697
Graduation Rate 25%
Student to Faculty Ratio 6:1
Admissions Rate 38%
Enrollment Rate 73%
Retention Rate 100%

As one of the top most affordable private universities, the mission of Nebraska-based Summit Christian College is to educate leaders for Christian service. Academic programs include associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in Bible and ministries. The college's rates are maintained on behalf of the Church, and its mission is to provide students with the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Summit boasts that its students are able to earn a ministry degree for around $40,000 less than the average Christian college tuition. Summit sits on a beautiful and intimate campus adjacent to a walking trail that runs out into the Scotts Bluff National Monument in the Cornhusker State's Platte Valley. Famous as part of the Oregon and Mormon trails, students can see all the way to the summit of Laramie Peak in Wyoming's Rockies.

2

College of the Ozarks

Value Score 8.50
Average Tuition $18,100
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $10,296
Graduation Rate 62%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Admissions Rate 8%
Enrollment Rate 90%
Retention Rate 88%

The Wall Street Journal once referred to the College of the Ozarks as "Hard Work U," and the name stuck for a good reason. The college doesn't charge tuition, but instead puts students to work for their education. A Christian school with conservative traditions, C of O assigns students jobs when they are accepted, guaranteeing they will graduate debt-free. The program has won the school national rankings from prestigious quarters like US News and World Report, the Princeton Review, and Forbes. Set on a 1,000-acre campus overlooking Lake Taneycomo in Point Lookout, Missouri, C of O offers associate and bachelor's degrees in 30 different academic areas, from agriculture to military science to theater. Its hotel and restaurant management major is among its strongest programs, and the Keeter Center, the flagship of the school's hospitality program, has been awarded the #1 Small Hotel in the nation by TripAdvisor. Notably, the school has also been voted among the most sober in the nation, making it unique among our list of cheap private universities.

3

Bethel College

Value Score 8.40
Average Tuition $8,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $12,472
Student to Faculty Ratio 7:1
Admissions Rate 57%
Enrollment Rate 75%
Retention Rate 100%

Founded in 1996 as the Bethel Bible Institute, the not-for-profit Bethel College was set up to train missionaries and ministers, specifically for the Assemblies of God. With less than 100 students, the school shares a campus with the big Bethel Church in the city of Hampton, Virginia, just miles away from Virginia Beach and Colonial Williamsburg. BC requires students to take a core curriculum of general studies for a well-rounded education, and further offers four different concentrations: Biblical studies; ministerial leadership and development; missions; and worship and worshipping arts. The school prides itself on keeping tuition affordable and in producing students of "exemplary moral character, Christian ethics, and intrinsic values."

4

Curtis Institute of Music

Value Score 8.32
Average Tuition $2,475
Students Receiving Financial Aid 55%
Net Price $6,751
Graduation Rate 100%
Student to Faculty Ratio 2:1
Admissions Rate 5%
Enrollment Rate 93%
Retention Rate 100%

With an acceptance rate of around 5%, Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music is one of the most selective institutions of higher learning in the U.S. For those who get in, it's also one of the most affordable private universities -- Curtis grants students a full scholarship. Admissions are based solely on artistic potential. The school's 174 students pursue bachelor's of music degrees in composition, conducting, guitar, keyboard instruments, orchestral instruments, voice, and string quartets. They can also pursue a master's of music in opera. Curtis ensembles tour internationally, generally playing more than 200 dates a year to more than 20,000 people. The school's vision is to simply be the best conservatory of music in the world. The school also offers a free online program that is much less selective.

5

Soka University of America

Value Score 8.12
Average Tuition $28,510
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $9,335
Graduation Rate 92%
Student to Faculty Ratio 9:1
Admissions Rate 43%
Enrollment Rate 57%
Retention Rate 96%

SUA is a small liberal arts school in sunny Aliso Viejo, California that's one of the most worldly schools in the nation. Half of its 400 students come from abroad, and more than 40 countries are represented on the picturesque campus, which is surrounded by a wilderness preserve. SUA is relatively young as American universities go -- the graduate program was founded in 1994, the baccalaureate school in 2001 -- and it already enjoys national rankings for its faculty, its affordability, and its study abroad programs. The core curriculum is unique in that it focuses on a student's place in both the environment and society, and there is an emphasis on comparative studies of Western and Eastern cultures. The bachelor's in liberal arts includes concentrations in the humanities, environmental studies, international studies, and social and behavioral sciences. Fees for the junior year study- abroad program are included in the tuition.

6

Virginia Baptist College

Value Score 8.01
Average Tuition $4,800
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $6,676
Student to Faculty Ratio 6:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%
Retention Rate 100%

Founded by three Baptist ministers in 1984 to educate churchgoers in the area surrounding its home in Fredericksburg, VBC has been growing ever since. The school became accredited to grant baccalaureate degrees in Christian education and pastoral studies in 1990 and conferred its first degree in 1992. Soon students were coming from a much greater radius, and the curriculum was expanded to include Bible studies and elementary education along with minors in youth ministry, office administration, and music. Today, the school's 84 students come from all over and study ministry, Biblical studies, and Christian education at the associate through master's levels. VBC offers a full slate of affordable online classes as well, which are recorded and posted on the web the day after they take place.

7

Southeastern Baptist College

Value Score 8.00
Average Tuition $5,040
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $5,634
Student to Faculty Ratio 6:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%
Retention Rate 100%

SBC's mission is focused on "serving Christ with a Biblical worldview in a Christian atmosphere." Set in what looks like an old motel, the Mississippi college sees its role as preparing students for work in church vocations, including pastoral, youth ministry, and music. The school offers young Christians interested in work outside the church the opportunity to earn transferable college credits and to get a feel for college life in a safe, Christian setting. The school offers five different programs of study and is a remarkable bargain, among the cheapest private colleges in the nation. SBC sees itself as a great big family, with dormitory life that fosters a sense of community outside the classroom. Undergrads can also participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, including college choir, Ministerial Alliance, Student Government, and the Association of Baptist Students.

8

Mid-South Christian College

Value Score 7.86
Average Tuition $3,480
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $11,972
Student to Faculty Ratio 2:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%
Retention Rate 100%

Mid-South Christian College was founded as part of the Restoration Movement, an attempt to reform Protestantism by the American pioneers of the 19th century, and the school is entirely based around preparing Christians to enter the ministry. The Memphis-based Bible college sees itself "focused more on the calling than the credits alone." Mid-South isn't about "a multitude of educational tracks, a myriad of course offerings, or a tangled web of activity through which [students

must navigate." Instead, its curriculum is a streamlined, providing its 21 ministry-focused students with an opportunity to earn an associate or a bachelor's in five different ministry fields -- including divinity, Bible studies, lay ministry, missions, and youth ministry -- to fulfill the mission for which God chose them.

9

Franklin W Olin College of Engineering

Value Score 7.85
Average Tuition $43,500
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $1,427
Graduation Rate 94%
Student to Faculty Ratio 8:1
Admissions Rate 12%
Enrollment Rate 67%
Retention Rate 96%

A little-known gem in the Greater Boston suburb of Needham, Massachusetts, Olin is quietly becoming one of the best engineering schools in the nation. Also one of the most affordable private colleges, every student who is accepted receives a four-year, half tuition scholarship valued at more than $90,000. Olin was chartered by the state of Massachusetts in 1997 in response to a call from the National Science Foundation and the engineering community at large for a change in engineering education. In order to best serve the growing global economy, engineers needed to have a broader skill set that included business savvy, creativity, and entrepreneurship. The Franklin W. Olin Foundation stepped in with one of the largest grants in the history of higher education -- at $460 million -- and the college was born. The school is entirely engineering-based, with an interdisciplinary, project-based approach that encourages entrepreneurship, and a strong liberal arts foundation. The 334 students pursue degrees in electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering with a concentration in computing, robotics, design, bioengineering, and materials science.

10

Berea College

Value Score 7.76
Average Tuition $23,400
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $2,453
Graduation Rate 66%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Admissions Rate 34%
Enrollment Rate 75%
Retention Rate 84%

No one pays tuition at Berea College, a small liberal arts school in Berea, Kentucky, set where the foothills of the Cumberland mountains meet the state's famous Bluegrass Region. Founded in 1855, Berea was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, and it prides itself on its inclusivity. The school is one of seven federally recognized work colleges, where students pay their way by working as they pursue their degrees. It has been nationally ranked for quality and affordability. There are 32 degrees on offer, with particularly strong programs in nursing, engineering, and teacher education, and the school's 1,600 students have the opportunity to participate in research or gain experience in internships paid for by Berea. The school ranks in the top three in the nation for producing PhDs, and many students have gone on to win Fulbright, Compton, Truman, and Udall scholarships. All students are given laptops when they arrive, and the school makes it possible to get online from almost anywhere on campus. Berea's College Farm is the oldest continuously operated farm of its kind in the nation, making it unique among our list of cheap private universities.

11

Webb Institute

Value Score 7.66
Average Tuition $44,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $4,925
Graduation Rate 96%
Student to Faculty Ratio 8:1
Admissions Rate 33%
Enrollment Rate 75%
Retention Rate 85%

Webb Institute offers degrees only in naval architecture and marine engineering. Situated on Long Island's Glen Cove, the school provides full tuition to all students who are accepted. Webb was founded the late 19th century by shipbuilder William Henry Webb, who recognized that the industry needed more hard science and engineering and funded a school in an old castle in the Bronx. During World War II, the school became a U.S. Navy training center. Today, Webb features a 90-foot-long ship model basin, and Stevenson Taylor Hall was used as the setting for Wayne Manor in two of the recent Batman films. Classrooms are set up for lecture at the front and drafting in the back, and "Webbies" spend a lot of time working with their hands. The school's belief in experiential learning extends to its internship programs, where freshmen work as apprentices in boatyards and sophomores ship out to learn about vessels at sea. Student life features many of the same hallmarks as other schools, including five intercollegiate sports teams, an English-style pub, and, of course, its own yacht club.

12

Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences

Value Score 7.49
Average Tuition $9,672
Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%
Net Price $5,618
Graduation Rate 60%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 54%
Enrollment Rate 42%
Retention Rate 73%

BMCHS is operated as part of the larger Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis. Founded in 1912, the school took its current shape in 1994 when the hospital's nursing school and School of Radiologic Technology merged to become a degree-granting college. BMCHS currently offers bachelor's degrees in sonography, medical radiography, nursing, radiation therapy, respiration therapy, medical laboratory science, nuclear medicine, and healthcare management. Roughly half of the students attend school full-time, and the majority study nursing. They can also complete an RN to BSN degree online. Accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Admission is based on secondary school performance, SAT scores, and TOEFL scores, if students are not native English speakers.

13

Allegheny Wesleyan College

Value Score 7.45
Average Tuition $4,800
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $2,495
Graduation Rate 56%
Student to Faculty Ratio 11:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%
Retention Rate 80%

A tiny Bible college just outside the manufacturing town of Salem, Ohio, AWC prepares young Christians for the ministry with one associate degree option and four bachelor's degrees options. Offerings include pastoral ministries, cross-cultural missions, music ministry, and early education taught from a Biblical point of view. The school only has two full-time faculty members, assisted by eight part-timers. The campus is spread across 40 acres of rural grasslands and includes Rhoades Hall and and Leyshon Hall, a dormitory for men. Accreditation is from the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

14

Grace University

Value Score 7.28
Average Tuition $18,540
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $9,756
Graduation Rate 41%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Admissions Rate 45%
Enrollment Rate 69%
Retention Rate 69%

A Christian college in Omaha, Nebraska, Grace began as a small Bible institute and has grown into a full-fledged university with 40 undergraduate degrees, four graduate degrees, and a student population of 500. The most popular programs include business, psychology, pastoral ministry, music, and communications, with teacher education far out front. Aspiring teachers in the elementary and middle school programs automatically earn an English Language Learner endorsement with their diplomas. Student life includes choir and collegiate sports, but is unlike traditional campuses in that no kissing, prolonged hugs, or premarital sex is allowed. Grace also bans many TV channels, including HBO and MTV. There are very strict policies against drinking, drug use, gambling, and pornography. The school has an online adult education program called EXCEL for those who cannot attend classes on campus.

15

Antioch College

Value Score 7.20
Average Tuition $30,250
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $8,946
Student to Faculty Ratio 7:1
Admissions Rate 46%
Enrollment Rate 50%
Retention Rate 92%

Antioch had a strong Unitarian tradition in its earliest days, and its guiding light was education activist and reformer Horace Mann, so it's no surprise the school is one of the most progressive in the nation. A small institution in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Antioch is one of the rare liberal arts schools in the country to have a work-for-study program that takes care of most of tuition -- making it one of the most affordable private colleges in the U.S. The school's 270 students choose from a selection of nine bachelor of arts majors or two bachelor of science majors. Students can also can self-design their academic program. Since its early days, the school has had a tradition of activism, service, and democracy. It was one of the first institutions of higher learning to allow students to participate in the school's governing process and was also in the vanguard of many of the liberal arts hallmarks now practiced in colleges everywhere, including self-designed majors, study abroad, interdisciplinary study, and portfolio evaluation.

16

Peirce College

Value Score 7.17
Average Tuition $13,200
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $9,716
Graduation Rate 56%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%
Retention Rate 100%

Located in Philadelphia's Center City, Peirce was founded in the wake of the Civil War as a business school, and it had the distinction of being co-ed from its very first class. A non-profit, the school provides affordable education to working adults, and offered one of the earliest accredited online programs. Undergraduate degrees are offered in business, healthcare, information technology, court reporting, and paralegal studies, and they can be pursued online or on campus. A master's program was launched in 2013. The school has a unique relationship with Philadelphia's public education system, allowing parents of school kids to work toward a general-studies degree program off campus. Peirce's College Hall was used as the setting of the academy for boys in the movie The Sixth Sense.

17

Davis College

Value Score 7.15
Average Tuition $11,590
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $10,782
Graduation Rate 48%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Admissions Rate 48%
Enrollment Rate 77%
Retention Rate 63%

Named for its evangelist founder, Davis is located on the grounds of the old White City Amusement Park in the small community of Johnson City. The school offers an array of specialized ministry programs, including Christian ministries, international ministries, youth ministries, music, and organizational leadership. The school also has an education department, preparing elementary and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers for work in public and private schools. The school has an articulation agreement with Christian graduate schools that allows its elementary ed students to earn a master's in just one additional year. Davis also has an extensive online arm that gives distance learners the opportunity to earn certificates, associate, and bachelor's degrees at their convenience.

18

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Value Score 7.13
Average Tuition $39,600
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $9,608
Graduation Rate 81%
Student to Faculty Ratio 8:1
Admissions Rate 15%
Enrollment Rate 60%
Retention Rate 96%

Set down right in the heart of the East Village of Manhattan, Cooper Union was founded in 1859 on some radical principles: a school should be available to anyone regardless of race, religion, gender, sex, social status, or wealth. Founder Peter Cooper was inspired when he visited a government-funded polytechnic institute in France in the early 19th century and wanted to do something similar in New York for kids, like himself, who didn't have access to higher education. Until 2014, the school granted a full scholarship to any student who could get in. Today, it's a half scholarship, due to recent budget constraints. Regardless, Cooper is one of the cheapest private colleges in the nation, and one of the best for students interested in architecture, the arts, and engineering. Admissions for the art and architecture departments are among the most selective in the nation, with a 5% admission rate. Notably, President Abraham Lincoln famously gave a speech at Cooper Union in 1860 opposing the spreading of slavery to new states.

19

Mount Carmel College of Nursing

Value Score 7.12
Average Tuition $11,284
Students Receiving Financial Aid 92%
Net Price $10,646
Graduation Rate 72%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 74%
Enrollment Rate 62%
Retention Rate 88%

Columbus, Ohio's Mount Carmel is in the top 10% nationally for the number of nurses it educates. A Catholic school with 1,084 students, 40% of whom are non-traditional, the college has grown 80% since 2010 and has a second campus in Lancaster. Mount Carmel is affiliated with the larger Mount Carmel Health System and Trinity Health, and it offers a bachelor's in nursing, which can be pursued on campus or online, an MS in adult gerontology nursing, nurse practitioner, nursing administration, and nursing education, and a doctorate in nursing practice. One of the ways the school keeps costs affordable is through a college work program, which allows "Nightingales" to earn money for tuition while getting hands-on experience. Apartment-style dorms are available in Columbus only.

20

Messenger College

Value Score 7.03
Average Tuition $7,500
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $15,700
Graduation Rate 73%
Student to Faculty Ratio 4:1
Admissions Rate 98%
Enrollment Rate 64%
Retention Rate 78%

Messenger College is the Pentecostal Church of God's national institution of higher learning. Based in the Dallas/Fort Worth suburb of Euless, Messenger has two baccalaureate degree programs -- Christian ministry and business administration -- as well as an associate of arts. The school was created with the 1983 merger of Houston's Southern Bible College and Fresno, California's Evangelical Christian College, and was originally located in Joplin, Missouri. It relocated to Texas and was born again after the devastating tornado of May 2011. The Pentecostal Church of God has more than 1,100 churches nationwide, and it uses Messenger to train its ministers, missionaries, teachers, and administrators. About 100 are currently enrolled, and all of them receive some form of financial aid. Messenger On-Line provides distance learning opportunities to broaden the school's reach.

21

Mississippi College

Value Score 7.03
Average Tuition $14,670
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $14,020
Graduation Rate 62%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Admissions Rate 63%
Enrollment Rate 44%
Retention Rate 72%

Founded in 1826, Mississippi College is the oldest institution of higher learning in Mississippi and the second-oldest Baptist school in the nation. It's also the largest private college in the Magnolia State. A Christian, liberal arts school governed by the Mississippi Baptist Convention, MC features 80 undergrad degree programs, 16 graduate degrees, and doctorates in jurisprudence, educational leadership, and counseling. About 5,000 students call the Clinton campus home, 3,000 of them undergrads. MC encourages community involvement and has several men's service clubs and women's "social tribes," which do outreach in the local area. Forty other student organizations provide entertainment on campus. At less than $500 per hour, MC is among the cheapest private colleges in the nation, attracting students not just from Mississippi but from many other Southeastern states.

22

City Vision College

Value Score 7.00
Average Tuition $6,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $8,919
Student to Faculty Ratio 6:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%

The vision at City Vision is to provide "radically affordable" Christian education to underserved communities using the power of the Internet. The Kansas City, Missouri-based school has associate degree programs in business, bachelor's degree programs in addiction studies, business administration, nonprofit management, and urban missions, and a master's degree program in technology ministry. City Vision was established in 1998 as Rescue College, a project of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions to simply train their members. It grew over the decades and is now accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Enrollment is open year-round, and courses are asynchronous and delivered in an accelerated fashion. Sixteen weeks of material is packed into an eight-week term, and students are expected to put in at least 10 hours a week in their studies. Classes in the social services require some on-site visits for the experiential learning component. The school has a Skype hotline for questions.

23

Mid-Atlantic Christian University

Value Score 6.97
Average Tuition $12,800
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $15,083
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 38%
Enrollment Rate 56%
Retention Rate 58%

In the 1940s, churches in North Carolina were desperately short of preachers, and Roanoke Bible College was founded in 1948 to fill the need. Fast forward nearly six decades to Mid-Atlantic Christian -- the full-sized university born from that small Bible school. Today, Mid-Atlantic serves to "train extraordinary leaders for service in the Kingdom," while also offering degrees for Christians who want to work outside the church. In addition to degree programs in general ministry, cross-cultural ministry, theology, and mission aviation, students can also pursue elementary education, business administration, nursing, counseling and psychology, applied linguistics, general studies, and pre-law. Undergrads who elect to work outside the ministry must have a declared major in Bible and theology, and must complete at least 30 hours in Bible studies. MACU has a wealth of online tutoring resources.

24

Uta Mesivta of Kiryas Joel

Value Score 6.96
Average Tuition $9,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 89%
Net Price $5,879
Graduation Rate 55%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%
Retention Rate 97%

An all-male rabbinical college 55 miles north of New York City in the town of Monroe, Uta Mesivta of Kiryas Joel has a student population of about 1,500 undergrads pursuing a classic education in Judaism. The curriculum is based strongly on readings of the Talmud, Halacha, and Hashkafa, and leads to a bachelor's in Talmudic Studies. Any male student with a high school diploma or GED can get in, as the school has an open admission policy. Accreditation is through the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools.

25

Piedmont College

Value Score 6.96
Average Tuition $21,350
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $14,995
Graduation Rate 52%
Student to Faculty Ratio 11:1
Admissions Rate 58%
Enrollment Rate 47%
Retention Rate 73%

Georgia's Piedmont College has two campuses, each of which offers very different experiences. The Demorest campus is in the foothills of the Appalachians, not far from the Appalachian Trail and the Chattahoochee National Forest. The Athens campus puts students smack dab in one of the nation's quintessential college towns. Piedmont offers more than 50 undergrad programs, an MBA program, and master's, specialist, and doctoral programs in education. It's the rare place where the school president and all the academic deans believe so strongly in teaching that they all actually teach. All undergrads are required to participate in the Compass Program, an individual-study/internship project that takes them out of the classroom and into the community, and the school encourages both travel and study abroad. To place itself among the most affordable private colleges, the school offers more than $10 million in scholarships. Commuting options are available at both campuses, as well as online and hybrid programs.

26

Simmons College of Kentucky

Value Score 6.94
Average Tuition $4,320
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $3,605
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%

Simmons College of Kentucky is the only private historically black college (HBC) in the state. It's also the fastest-growing college in Kentucky. Founded in 1879 by area Baptist churches and named for former school president Rev. Dr. William J. Simmons, the school still has profound religious traditions. Convocation is an important part of student life at Simmons, so much so that attendance and participation are required at the weekly gatherings. The school offers bachelor's degree programs in religious studies, business administration, cross-cultural communication, and sociology, and associate degrees in religion and general studies. Simmons believes strongly in keeping costs low and students graduating debt-free. President Kevin Cosby personally returned every paycheck he earned in his first 10 years back to the school.

27

Augustana College

Value Score 6.93
Average Tuition $28,764
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $14,173
Graduation Rate 66%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Admissions Rate 61%
Enrollment Rate 42%
Retention Rate 80%

The leafy campus of Augustana is in Sioux Falls, North Dakota, a city of more than 173,000. A comprehensive, private university considered among the Midwest's best, the school is affiliated with the Lutheran Church. It enjoys national rankings for affordability, value, and for social mobility. Augustana's 1,800 enrollees can choose from among 53 fields of study, and the most popular include business, biology, nursing, psychology, education, exercise science, Spanish, polisci, government, and sports management. The school's grad school specializes in medicine, law, business, and the sciences. Student life includes over 100 organizations, sports teams, extracurricular activities, and 20 ensembles of music or theater, and about 87% of students participate in intramurals. The school actively encourages students to get out into the community and to study abroad.

28

Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College

Value Score 6.89
Average Tuition $9,300
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $12,854
Graduation Rate 9%
Student to Faculty Ratio 6:1
Admissions Rate 53%
Enrollment Rate 78%
Retention Rate 68%

The mission of Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College is to prepare students to serve Christ both in the church and in society at-large. The small Oklahoma school is set between Oklahoma City and Norman, allowing students access to the city with the comfort of a small town. The school's religious background pervades everything it does, from academics to student life. Undergrad degrees are offered in ministry, youth ministry, business ministry, theology, worship, and music. Degrees in health, liberal studies, letters, interdisciplinary studies, intercultural studies, teacher education, and psychology are also available. Teacher certification is offered, and the school has an online adult education division. Hillsdale competes in eight sports in the Association of Christian College Athletics and the National Christian College Athletic Association, and is particularly proud of its baseball and basketball programs.

29

Denison University

Value Score 6.89
Average Tuition $44,670
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $9,697
Graduation Rate 86%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Admissions Rate 56%
Enrollment Rate 25%
Retention Rate 89%

The second-oldest liberal arts college in Ohio, Denison was founded in 1831. The school is proud of its 1,000-acre campus, which was laid out by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. It features a 400-acre wildlife area, is home to many fine old buildings, and in many ways looks like the archetypal college on the hill. Based in the Columbus suburb of Granville, Denison has been enjoying a rising profile in recent years, winning national rankings for affordability, quality, and diversity. More than 40 nations are represented among its 2,150 students. Among first-year students, 45% ranked in the top 10% of their high-school class. DU offers 49 fields of study and 11 pre-professional programs, leading to bachelor's of arts, sciences, and fine arts, taught by an impressive faculty; 100% of the school's professors have terminal degrees.

30

Mount Mary University

Value Score 6.88
Average Tuition $25,336
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $11,696
Graduation Rate 35%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Admissions Rate 35%
Enrollment Rate 69%
Retention Rate 78%

MMU is an innovative all-women's college. The school's professional doctorate in art therapy is the only one of its kind in the nation, and MMU is the only private college in Wisconsin to have an accredited program in interior design. It has the largest occupational therapy program in the state and its social work degree program was the first to be accredited at a private school in the Badger State. Based in the city of Milwaukee, MMU was founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1913, and it offers its 1,500 women more than 39 undergraduate and nine graduate degree programs. (The grad school is co-ed.) Students of all faiths and beliefs are welcome.

31

Family of Faith College

Value Score 6.85
Average Tuition $5,550
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $14,860
Student to Faculty Ratio 4:1
Admissions Rate 35%
Enrollment Rate 75%
Retention Rate 50%

At Family of Faith, a small Christian school in Shawnee, Oklahoma, students are called "laborers," and they work towards fulfilling the mandate of God. Bachelor of arts degrees are offered in education and church ministry, with concentrations in business, Christian healing, prayer and intercession, and worship. Students in the education department have the opportunity to teach at the FFC's own Christian K-12 school. Because the school believes strongly in bringing the word of God to the world, each laborer is required to do missionary work before they can graduate. That includes students who pursue their education online.

32

Martin Luther College

Value Score 6.84
Average Tuition $12,920
Students Receiving Financial Aid 98%
Net Price $12,988
Graduation Rate 73%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Admissions Rate 97%
Enrollment Rate 87%
Retention Rate 80%

Martin Luther College is the higher education arm of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and it states that its sole purpose is to train pastors, teachers, and staff ministers for work in its Synod. The school's 700 students choose from programs in elementary, secondary, and early childhood education; staff ministry; pre-seminary studies; and work towards bachelor's of arts, bachelor's of science, and master's of science degrees. Applicants must have a high school GPA of 2.5 or better, but the average is 3.4. The school competes in the NCAA Division III, and has a full slate of student organizations, from band and choir to outdoor recreation. Daily worship opportunities are available, and students often choose to take their ministry abroad, teaching overseas. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges provides accreditation.

33

Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

Value Score 6.83
Average Tuition $21,939
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $17,511
Graduation Rate 54%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%
Retention Rate 100%

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology is considered one of the most important Eastern Orthodox institutions in the Western Hemisphere. It's also where the Boston Celtics practiced for years. Founded in the 1930s, the school is the seminary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the U.S., set on a green 52-acre campus in Brookline, Massachusetts. It shares a campus with Hellenic College, the undergraduate, liberal arts school it launched in 1966. At Hellenic, students pursue baccalaureate degrees in classics, elementary education, human development, literature and history, management and leadership, and religious studies. At Holy Cross, master's are earned in divinity, theology, and theological studies. The pair have intramural sports (soccer, flag football, volleyball, and basketball) and an array of student organizations, from the married student association to the outdoor sports and recreation program.

34

The College of Idaho

Value Score 6.83
Average Tuition $24,200
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $13,586
Graduation Rate 64%
Student to Faculty Ratio 11:1
Admissions Rate 93%
Enrollment Rate 31%
Retention Rate 86%

Founded in 1891, the College of Idaho is the oldest private liberal arts college in the state. Located in Caldwell, 30 minutes from the city of Boise and surrounded by outdoor recreational opportunities, COI is home to 1,100 students. It has a unique PEAK curriculum (professional, ethical, articulate, and knowledgeable), which allows students to graduate with a major and three minors in four years. The program is a pure form of liberal arts, challenging undergrads to attain literacy in each of four academic areas: the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and a professional field. The school has produced seven Rhodes scholars and 14 Marshall, Truman, and Goldwater scholars, three governors, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, an Academy Award-winning composer, four NFL players, and the co-founder of Patagonia outerwear.

35

Bais Medrash Toras Chesed

Value Score 6.82
Average Tuition $8,800
Students Receiving Financial Aid 68%
Net Price $8,216
Graduation Rate 8%
Student to Faculty Ratio 17:1
Admissions Rate 48%
Enrollment Rate 81%
Retention Rate 86%

A tiny rabbinical college in Lakewood, New Jersey, Bais Medrash Toras Chesed opened in 2000 in the community's old synagogue with the goal of preparing young Jewish men for ordination or for graduate programs. The bachelor's program is based primarily on the Talmud, but includes courses in philosophy and religion. Classes are kept under 100 students, allowing for personalized attention, and students are encouraged to give back to the community through volunteerism and charitable work. Distance learning is available, and accreditation is through the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools.

36

Christian Brothers University

Value Score 6.81
Average Tuition $28,600
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $6,466
Graduation Rate 60%
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Admissions Rate 50%
Enrollment Rate 32%
Retention Rate 84%

CBU was founded by the Christian Brothers, a Catholic order that was begun by the patron saint of teachers. The school is the oldest college in the city of Memphis and was originally part of an educational institution that included an elementary school, high school, and undergrad program. It sits in a wooded 75-acre campus, four miles east of downtown, and the 1,800 students who attend come from all over. Twenty-six states and twenty-one countries are represented in the student body, along with 34 different faiths. (Despite the school's name, no religious observances are required.) Academics are divided into four different schools, including business, arts, engineering, and sciences. The engineering and business departments are particularly strong and have post-graduate programs. Adult professional ed. is available through the school's online arm. CBU has been nationally ranked for economic and racial diversity among graduate schools.

37

Trinity Baptist College

Value Score 6.80
Average Tuition $9,060
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $10,431
Graduation Rate 42%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 64%
Enrollment Rate 88%
Retention Rate 47%

A small private Christian school, TBC shares a campus with Trinity Baptist church and Trinity Baptist Academy in the city of Jacksonville, Florida. The school offers associate- through master's-level instruction in education, Biblical studies, music, pre-law, and business. Many classes are available online. The college has a dual enrollment policy, allowing high school students to earn college credits, as well as a "Learn and Serve" education philosophy, which combines academics with field-specific internships. The student body is divided into eight Greek-named groups known as "societies," which collaborate on projects and fund-raising. TBC has a unique recruiting arm, a musical ensemble LifeSong, which travels the country, performing at churches, youth rallies, and schools. Accreditation is provided by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

38

Chatham University

Value Score 6.80
Average Tuition $32,234
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $9,608
Graduation Rate 59%
Student to Faculty Ratio 9:1
Admissions Rate 52%
Enrollment Rate 32%
Retention Rate 77%

Chatham is one of the nation's greenest schools. Set in the city of Pittsburgh, the university has one campus that doubles as an arboretum, a second that has been recognized as a leader in environmental design, and a third that's home to the country's first academic community built to study sustainability. The school offers 60 programs in the arts, business, communications, health and lab sciences, and sustainability. It has the country's only three-year bachelor's program that doesn't include summer study, and a five-year master's plan that allows undergrads to finish a bachelor's and add a graduate degree in a single year. The school also features a Center for Women's Entrepreneurship and a Women's Institute, a holistic food master's, one of the country's best online nursing programs, a nationally ranked MFA in creative writing, and a host of other creative programs. It's been nationally ranked for the quality of its graduate school, for green living, for community service, and for being military friendly.

39

Ozark Christian College

Value Score 6.80
Average Tuition $10,720
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $10,845
Graduation Rate 39%
Student to Faculty Ratio 17:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%
Retention Rate 79%

While most colleges put emphasis on the individual, this Joplin, Missouri-based school is focused firmly on Christ. Students who attend OCC are there "not be served, but to serve." The school is Bible-focused and offers six bachelor's degrees, including theology, Christian ministry, Bible and ministry, Bible and intercultural studies, Bible and interdisciplinary studies, and music and worship. Students can also pursue an associate degree in Christian ministry, music and worship, and intercultural studies. Its distance program allows students to earn a degree in Biblical studies entirely online. Most of the school's 600+ students live on campus, where weekly chapel services take place. Five varsity teams and a raft of intramural sports provide a physical outlet.

40

Morthland College

Value Score 6.79
Average Tuition $9,120
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $16,660
Student to Faculty Ratio 7:1
Admissions Rate 67%
Enrollment Rate 80%
Retention Rate 19%

Morthland held its first classes in August, 2011. The small private school was founded by Dr. Tim Morthland to bring Christian education and classical scholarship to Illinois. Today more than 300 students are enrolled, both on the West Franklin campus and online. Degrees are conferred in Biblical studies, biological sciences, classics, computer information systems, and business administration. The school also offers minors in Christian counseling, ministry training, music ministry and worship, accounting, and management. Accreditation is through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. The Morthland Patriots already have eight men and women's varsity sports and a handful of clubs, including student government, games club, and pre-health professions group.

41

Daemen College

Value Score 6.77
Average Tuition $24,480
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $10,060
Graduation Rate 48%
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Admissions Rate 55%
Enrollment Rate 27%
Retention Rate 82%

Daemen was launched as a Catholic school in 1947 by the Sisters of Saint Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, and was named for the school's mother, Magdalen Daemen. In 1976, it cut ties to the Church and is now officially a non-sectarian liberal arts institution. Most of the college's 3,000 students live on its Amherst campus in upstate New York. Core curriculum includes critical thinking and creative problem solving, information literacy, communication skills, affective awareness, moral and ethical discernment, contextual integration, and civic responsibility. Students earn degrees in dozens of undergraduate fields and 15 areas at the graduate-level. Class sizes are kept small, and the school's business, nursing, arts, and education programs are particularly strong. The Wildcats field NCAA Division II teams in basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, tennis, track, volleyball, and bowling. Daemen has a unique CARE team that exists to help struggling students.

42

Wheeling Jesuit University

Value Score 6.75
Average Tuition $27,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $9,581
Graduation Rate 61%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 63%
Enrollment Rate 28%
Retention Rate 74%

WJU prides itself on providing a "rigorous, affordable, liberal arts, graduate, and professional education, grounded in the Catholic Jesuit tradition of educational excellence and compassionate service." The school typically grants more than $11,000 a year to students who need it, and offers more to those willing to donate 60+ annual hours of public service. The campus is located in Wheeling, West Virginia, and is set along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachians. The student body is comprised of 1,500 undergrads from more than 26 states and 20 nations, two-thirds of whom live on the school's wide-open, 65-acre campus on a bend of Wheeling Creek. They pursue degrees in more than 40 different fields of study and participate in events like the Last Blast, a school spree day of concerts, dancing, and a carnival.

43

Turtle Mountain Community College

Value Score 6.75
Average Tuition $1,776
Students Receiving Financial Aid 87%
Net Price $5,718
Graduation Rate 50%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 38%
Retention Rate 78%

TMCC is an offshoot of the Chippewa tribe's Turtle Mountain band, founded in 1972 to provide educational opportunities in northern North Dakota. Though it was set up primarily for the good of the Chippewa themselves, the school is now open to anyone. The campus is part of the Turtle Mountain reservation, just north of the town of Belcourt, North Dakota, and eight miles south of the Canadian Border. The school keeps costs extremely low, and offers four-year degrees in elementary education and secondary science teacher education, along with a host of certificates and associate degrees. Whether students study commercial driving, nursing, art, or native studies, Chippewa tribal traditions are incorporated throughout the curriculum. Currently about 630 undergrads are enrolled.

44

Aquinas College

Value Score 6.74
Average Tuition $19,950
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $19,176
Graduation Rate 80%
Student to Faculty Ratio 8:1
Admissions Rate 61%
Enrollment Rate 32%
Retention Rate 74%

Founded in 1961 by the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia Congregation, Aquinas College's academic programs are deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition. Undergraduate students can pursue degrees offered through the college's School of Arts & Sciences, School of Business, School of Nursing, and School of Education, while graduate students can complete master's degrees in education and nursing. Boasting an average class size of 11, students enjoy personalized attention from faculty and are prepared for rewarding careers of service upon graduating. The private school's campus sits on thousands of acres of green space amid the vibrant and bustling city of Nashville, offering students the best of both worlds.

45

Presbyterian College

Value Score 6.70
Average Tuition $32,076
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $9,972
Graduation Rate 68%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Admissions Rate 54%
Enrollment Rate 34%
Retention Rate 83%

A Carnegie One liberal arts college, PC confers baccalaureate and graduate degrees in 30 courses of study and hosts nine pre-professional programs. Particularly strong fields include pharmacy and engineering, and the school has a dual-degree program in the latter that includes study at Clemson, Auburn U., Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, and the University of South Carolina. Six of PC's professors have won Professor of the Year awards in South Carolina, twice as many as any other school in the state. About 1,000 students attend the school annually and almost a third are in the pharmacy program. PC is one of two schools in the state to host Confucius Institutes, a unique cultural and economic partnership with colleges in China. The school values involvement in both the community and the world at-large, and 100% of students participate in study abroad or an internship. It's also proud of its Greek culture, with almost half of students choosing to join its seven frats and sororities.

46

Cairn University-Langhorne

Value Score 6.70
Average Tuition $23,035
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $13,049
Graduation Rate 63%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Admissions Rate 98%
Enrollment Rate 51%
Retention Rate 75%

Formerly known as Philadelphia Biblical University and based in Center City, the school changed its name to suggest a broader academic base than simply theological studies. CU has an array of liberal arts programs -- from accounting to history to political science and psychology -- in addition to Bible education, Bible ministries, Biblical studies, religion, Christian studies, and camping ministries. Current enrollment is 650 undergrads and 250 graduate students, and they study a core Bible curriculum along with their majors. Campus life includes chapel time, NCAA Division III athletics, and a host of student organizations, from the outdoors activities club to social work groups.

47

Bethesda University

Value Score 6.69
Average Tuition $9,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 58%
Net Price $9,171
Graduation Rate 69%
Student to Faculty Ratio 6:1
Admissions Rate 67%
Enrollment Rate 87%
Retention Rate 82%

A "global Christian university," Bethesda has roots in Korea, where David Yonggi Cho founded the controversial Yoido Full Gospel Church after the Korean War. He would go on, in 1976, to establish BU in Anaheim, California, to spread God's word. The school's campus is a cream-colored, three-story building in the Orange County city, with a chapel, a library containing over 30,000 volumes, an auditorium, and more. Bachelor's degrees are offered in early childhood ed, business administration, music, and religion. Graduate programs include divinity, Biblical study, music, an MBA, and a doctorate in ministry. The school has gained national recognition for its online classes in theology.

48

Goshen College

Value Score 6.68
Average Tuition $29,700
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $14,548
Graduation Rate 71%
Student to Faculty Ratio 10:1
Admissions Rate 54%
Enrollment Rate 33%
Retention Rate 77%

A four-year, liberal arts & Christian college, Goshen takes its name from the Indiana city in which it resides. The campus sprawls for 135 grassy acres, and also includes a marine biology lab in Florida and a 1,100-acre nature sanctuary 30 miles away. The school's founders were Mennonites, and it welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds. The 773-member student body is a diverse bunch, representing 31 states and 26 countries. Around 63% of them live on campus. Students can choose from 39 different undergrad majors and 47 minors, along with graduate degrees in environmental ed, nursing, and business. Goshen prides itself on affordability and has won national rankings for value and for the lack of debt among its graduates. The school is also known for its on-campus farm.

49

Johnson University

Value Score 6.68
Average Tuition $11,200
Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%
Net Price $12,153
Graduation Rate 62%
Student to Faculty Ratio 17:1
Admissions Rate 56%
Enrollment Rate 71%
Retention Rate 67%

Johnson U is a Christian college with campuses in Tennessee and Florida. It was founded in 1893 as the School of the Evangelists when a group of Christians boarded a steamboat to go upriver and place the school's cornerstone. More than a century later, it's still teaching the gospel. Today, about 1,000 students attend the university. All students major in Bible studies, and typically add a second major in the field of their choice, selecting from among 70 different areas of study. Degrees are offered from the associate to the doctoral level. JU considers affordable tuition "foundational" to its mission, and the words of founder Ashley Johnson are still emblazoned on a wall in Tennessee: "Open day and night to the poor young man who desires above every other desire, to preach the Gospel of Christ." Students typically graduate with far less debt than average.

50

Maharishi University of Management

Value Score 6.67
Average Tuition $26,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $14,952
Graduation Rate 58%
Student to Faculty Ratio 11:1
Admissions Rate 38%
Enrollment Rate 88%
Retention Rate 72%

Maharishi University of Management is located on a pleasant, 370-acre campus in the small city of Fairfield, Iowa. It may be the nation's only fully accredited school of management offering a "consciousness-based" education, integrating transcendental meditation into its curriculum. Whether they're studying Maharishi Vedic science, business, art, media, communication, literature, education, or computer science, all of the school's 1,000 students practice the art. And so do the faculty. The student body hails from 85 countries, and they attend a single, full-time course a month, in what's known as the "block approach." In between each class, they have a period of three and a half days to relax and recuperate. MUM believes strongly that holistic learning leads to a higher quality of life. And while it's officially skeptical of national rankings, it does feature highly in student fulfillment.

Related Rankings