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2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools

835 Ranked Colleges
366,996 Degrees Awarded
$7,900 Avg Net Price*
Best Value Liberal Studies Schools

It’s not easy to decide which college to attend when there so many options available for students. One of our goals at College Factual is to give you as much information as we can - such as our “Best Value Liberal Studies Schools” ranking - to help you make that decision.

In 2020-2021, 366,996 liberal arts students received their degree, making the major the 2nd most popular in the country.

This year’s “Best Value Liberal Studies Schools” ranking analyzed 835 colleges that offered a degree in liberal arts. This ranking identifies schools with high-quality liberal arts programs that also have a lower cost than schools of similar quality.

Some of the factors we look at when determining these rankings are overall quality of the liberal arts program at the school and the cost of the school after aid is awarded among other things. For more information, check out our ranking methodology.

More Ways to Rank Liberal Arts Schools

When choosing the right school for you, it’s important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we’ve created a number of major-specific rankings, including this “Best Value Liberal Studies Schools” list to help you make the college decision.

You can create your own custom comparison that focuses on the factors most important to you using our tool, College Combat. When you have some time, check it out - you may want to bookmark the link so you don’t forget it.

Best Value Liberal Studies Schools

The colleges and universities below are the best for liberal studies students.

Top 25 Best Value Colleges for Liberal Arts

#1

Central New Mexico Community College

Albuquerque, New Mexico

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Central New Mexico Community College. The school came in at #1 for the Best Value Liberal Studies Schools. Albuquerque, New Mexico is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out ’s liberal studies degrees to 2,357 students in 2020-2021.

CNM excels when it comes to liberal studies quality. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in that analysis. The estimated yearly cost for CNM is $3,322 for Liberal Studies students.

Read more about Liberal Arts at Central New Mexico Community College

#2

Thomas Edison State University

Trenton, New Jersey
Top 10% in overall quality

Out of the 835 schools in the Best Value Liberal Studies Schools that were part of this year’s ranking, Thomas Edison State University landed the #2 spot on the list. Trenton, New Jersey is the setting for this medium-sized institution of higher learning. The public school handed out ’s liberal studies degrees to 557 students in 2020-2021.

TESU excels when it comes to liberal studies quality. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The school has an impressive undergrad student loan default rate. It’s only 4.7%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at TESU

#3

Central Texas College

Killeen, Texas

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend Central Texas College. The school came in at #3 for the Best Value Liberal Studies Schools. Central Texas College is located in Killeen, Texas and, has a medium-sized student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 345 ’s liberal studies degrees to qualified students.

On top of its placing in this ranking, Central Texas College also did well on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. It’s in the top [COLLEGE_QUALITY_PECTENTILE_ALL_LEVES]% of all schools in this category. The yearly cost to attend Central Texas College is $5,196 for liberal studies students.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at Central Texas College

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Metropolitan Community College. It ranked #4 on our 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. MCC is a public institution located in Omaha, Nebraska. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 353 ’s degrees in 2020-2021.

On top of its placing in this ranking, MCC also did well on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis. The estimated yearly cost for Metropolitan Community College is $4,315 for Liberal Studies students.

The school has an impressive undergrad student loan default rate. It’s only 5.0%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%.

Full MCC Liberal Arts Report

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Collin County Community College District. It ranked #5 on our 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. This large school is located in McKinney, Texas, and it awarded 1,979 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

Collin County Community College District excels when it comes to liberal studies quality. It’s ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. The estimated yearly cost for Collin County Community College District is $7,040 for liberal studies students.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at Collin County Community College District

McLennan Community College ranked #6 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. This medium-sized school is located in Waco, Texas, and it awarded 764 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

MCC also claimed a top spot on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. It’s ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. The yearly cost to attend MCC is $6,849 for liberal studies students.

Full McLennan Community College Liberal Arts Report

#7

Excelsior College

Albany, New York

Excelsior College did quite well in the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking, coming in at #7. Excelsior College is located in Albany, New York and, has a fairly large student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 1,877 ’s liberal studies degrees to qualified students.

As a testament to the quality of education offered at Excelsior College, the school also landed the #18 spot in our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” ranking.

The low undergrad student loan default rate of 3.7% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at Excelsior College

#8

Cleveland Community College

Shelby, North Carolina

Cleveland Community College ranked #8 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. Shelby, North Carolina is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The public school handed out ’s liberal studies degrees to 196 students in 2020-2021.

It costs about $-141 for liberal studies students per year to attend Cleveland Community College. The negative number means the student will receive more financial aid on average than it costs to attend the school.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at Cleveland Community College

#9

Macomb Community College

Warren, Michigan

Macomb Community College ranked #9 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. Macomb Community College is a fairly large school located in Warren, Michigan that handed out 173 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Macomb Community College is also in the top of our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” ranking. It’s ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. The estimated yearly cost for Macomb Community College is $9,982 for Liberal Studies students.

Full Macomb Community College Liberal Arts Report

#10

Oakland Community College

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Oakland Community College did quite well in the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking, coming in at #10. Oakland Community College is a fairly large public school situated in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It awarded 410 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Oakland Community College is also in the top of our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” ranking. It’s ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. The estimated yearly cost for Oakland Community College is $3,665 for Liberal Studies students.

Full Oakland Community College Liberal Arts Report

#11

Chesapeake College

Wye Mills, Maryland

Chesapeake College came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking. Chesapeake College is a small public school situated in Wye Mills, Maryland. It awarded 60 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

The yearly cost to attend Chesapeake College is $4,118 for Liberal Studies students.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at Chesapeake College

#12

Columbia College

Columbia, Missouri

Columbia College did quite well in the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking, coming in at #12. Columbia College is a medium-sized school located in Columbia, Missouri that handed out 65 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Columbia College Missouri is also in the top of our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” ranking. It’s in the top [COLLEGE_QUALITY_PECTENTILE_ALL_LEVES]% of all schools in this category. It costs about $26,668 for liberal studies students per year to attend Columbia College Missouri.

Read more about Liberal Arts at Columbia College

#13

Dakota College at Bottineau

Bottineau, North Dakota

Dakota College at Bottineau landed the #13 spot on the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking. MSU-Bottineau is a public institution located in Bottineau, North Dakota. The school has a small population, and it awarded 74 ’s degrees in 2020-2021.

MSU-Bottineau excels when it comes to liberal studies quality. It’s ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. The estimated yearly cost for Dakota College at Bottineau is $10,490 for Liberal Studies students.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at Dakota College at Bottineau

#14

Ivy Tech Community College

Indianapolis, Indiana

Ivy Tech Community College came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking. Ivy Tech Community College is a large school located in Indianapolis, Indiana that handed out 356 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Ivy Tech Community College is also in the top of our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” ranking. It’s ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. It costs about $7,669 for liberal studies students per year to attend Ivy Tech Community College.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at Ivy Tech Community College

#15

Johnson County Community College

Overland Park, Kansas

With a ranking of #15, Johnson County Community College did quite well on the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. This fairly large school is located in Overland Park, Kansas, and it awarded 1,257 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

On top of its placing in this ranking, JCCC also did well on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis. The yearly cost to attend Johnson County Community College is $13,371 for Liberal Studies students.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at Johnson County Community College

#16

Central Arizona College

Coolidge, Arizona

Central Arizona College ranked #16 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. Central Arizona College is a public institution located in Coolidge, Arizona. The school has a small population, and it awarded 574 ’s degrees in 2020-2021.

The yearly cost to attend Central Arizona College is $5,804 for Liberal Studies students.

Full Pinal County Community College Liberal Arts Report

#16

University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Green Bay, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin - Green Bay did quite well in the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking, coming in at #16. UW - Green Bay is a public institution located in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 94 ’s degrees in 2020-2021.

As a testament to the quality of education it offers, UW - Green Bay is also in the top of our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” ranking. It’s in the top [COLLEGE_QUALITY_PECTENTILE_ALL_LEVES]% of all schools in this category. The yearly cost to attend UW - Green Bay is $13,092 for liberal studies students.

Read more about Liberal Arts at University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

#18

Elgin Community College

Elgin, Illinois

Elgin Community College ranked #18 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. ECC is located in Elgin, Illinois and, has a medium-sized student population. In 2020-2021, this school awarded 931 ’s liberal studies degrees to qualified students.

ECC also claimed a top spot on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. It’s ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. The estimated yearly cost for ECC is $3,828 for Liberal Studies students.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at ECC

#19

Charter Oak State College

New Britain, Connecticut

Charter Oak State College did quite well in the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking, coming in at #19. Charter Oak State College is a small public school situated in New Britain, Connecticut. It awarded 222 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

On top of its placing in this ranking, Charter Oak State College also did well on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. It’s in the top [COLLEGE_QUALITY_PECTENTILE_ALL_LEVES]% of all schools in this category. It costs about $11,872 for liberal studies students per year to attend Charter Oak State College.

The low undergrad student loan default rate of 3.4% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1%.

Read full report on Liberal Arts at Charter Oak State College

Georgia State University-Perimeter College did quite well in the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking, coming in at #20. Georgia State University-Perimeter College is a public institution located in Atlanta, Georgia. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 2,419 ’s degrees in 2020-2021.

Georgia State University-Perimeter College also claimed a top spot on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in that analysis. The estimated yearly cost for Georgia State University-Perimeter College is $9,316 for liberal studies students.

Full Georgia State University-Perimeter College Liberal Arts Report

#21

Otero Junior College

La Junta, Colorado

Otero Junior College did quite well in the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking, coming in at #21. Otero JC is a small public school situated in La Junta, Colorado. It awarded 62 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

The yearly cost to attend Otero Junior College is $10,221 for Liberal Studies students.

Full Otero Junior College Liberal Arts Report

#22

South Texas College

McAllen, Texas

South Texas College came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking. South Texas College is a large public school situated in McAllen, Texas. It awarded 460 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

The yearly cost to attend South Texas College is $1,504 for liberal studies students.

Full South Texas College Liberal Arts Report

#22

Century College

White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Century College ranked #22 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. Century College is a medium-sized public school situated in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. It awarded 426 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

The yearly cost to attend Century College is $10,397 for Liberal Studies students.

Read more about Liberal Arts at Century College

With a ranking of #24, Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City did quite well on the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools list. Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City is a fairly large school located in Kansas City, Missouri that handed out 2,357 ’s liberal studies degrees in 2020-2021.

MCC also claimed a top spot on our “Best Liberal Arts Schools” list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in that analysis. It costs about $6,966 for liberal studies students per year to attend Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City.

Read more about Liberal Arts at MCC

#25

Garden City Community College

Garden City, Kansas

Garden City Community College did quite well in the 2023 Best Value Liberal Studies Schools ranking, coming in at #25. Garden City, Kansas is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The public school handed out ’s liberal studies degrees to 182 students in 2020-2021.

The yearly cost to attend Garden City Community College is $5,217 for Liberal Studies students.

The undergrad student loan default rate at the school is 4.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%.

Read more about Liberal Arts at Garden City Community College

Rest of the Best 50 in Best Value Liberal Studies Schools

Not only did these schools make the top 50 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#26

Arizona State University - Skysong

Scottsdale, Arizona
#27

Forsyth Technical Community College

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
#28

Bismarck State College

Bismarck, North Dakota
#30

Guilford Technical Community College

Jamestown, North Carolina
#31

Oklahoma City Community College

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
#32

Valencia College

Orlando, Florida
#33

Pima Community College

Tucson, Arizona
#33

Normandale Community College

Bloomington, Minnesota
#35

Frederick Community College

Frederick, Maryland
#39

Bergen Community College

Paramus, New Jersey
#40

Lake Superior College

Duluth, Minnesota
#41

NorthWest Arkansas Community College

Bentonville, Arkansas
#43

Tallahassee Community College

Tallahassee, Florida
#44

Fayetteville Technical Community College

Fayetteville, North Carolina
#46

Wilmington University

New Castle, Delaware
#47

Iowa Western Community College

Council Bluffs, Iowa
#48

Lansing Community College

Lansing, Michigan
#49

Lincoln Land Community College

Springfield, Illinois
#50

Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois

Rest of the Top 15% Colleges in Best Value Liberal Studies Schools

While not in the ‘top 50’, these schools make the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

Rank College Location
51 Beaufort County Community College Washington, NC
52 Northwest Vista College San Antonio, TX
52 North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, MN
54 Waubonsee Community College Sugar Grove, IL
55 Utah Valley University Orem, UT
56 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC
57 Delta College University Center, MI
58 Danville Area Community College Danville, IL
59 Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny, IA
60 St Charles Community College Cottleville, MO
61 Moraine Valley Community College Palos Hills, IL
62 Iowa Central Community College Fort Dodge, IA
63 Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ
64 Lenoir Community College Kinston, NC
65 Central Lakes College - Brainerd Brainerd, MN
Rank College Location
66 University of Memphis Memphis, TN
67 Vincennes University Vincennes, IN
68 Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL
69 Barton County Community College Great Bend, KS
70 Community College of Baltimore County Baltimore, MD
70 Southwestern Oregon Community College Coos Bay, OR
72 College of Lake County Grayslake, IL
73 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN
74 Golden West College Huntington Beach, CA
75 Bristol Community College Fall River, MA
76 Portland Community College Portland, OR
77 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Norman, OK
78 Hillsborough Community College Tampa, FL
79 Eastern New Mexico University - Main Campus Portales, NM
80 Rowan College at Burlington County Mount Laurel, NJ
81 Johnston Community College Smithfield, NC
82 Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville, NC
83 Butler Community College El Dorado, KS
84 Phoenix College Phoenix, AZ
85 Seminole State College of Florida Sanford, FL
86 Oakton Community College Des Plaines, IL
87 San Antonio College San Antonio, TX
88 John Wood Community College Quincy, IL
88 West Valley College Saratoga, CA
90 Ridgewater College Willmar, MN
Rank College Location
91 Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, NC
92 Prairie State College Chicago Heights, IL
93 El Paso Community College El Paso, TX
94 Mott Community College Flint, MI
95 Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland, OH
96 Inver Hills Community College Inver Grove Heights, MN
97 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA
98 Western Iowa Tech Community College Sioux City, IA
99 Alamance Community College Graham, NC
100 College of Southern Maryland La Plata, MD
101 Anne Arundel Community College Arnold, MD
102 Blue Ridge Community and Technical College Martinsburg, WV
103 South Piedmont Community College Polkton, NC
104 University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College North Little Rock, AR
104 Montgomery College Rockville, MD
106 Indian River State College Fort Pierce, FL
107 Baltimore City Community College Baltimore, MD
108 Chandler-Gilbert Community College Chandler, AZ
109 Georgia Highlands College Rome, GA
109 Rockland Community College Suffern, NY
111 Surry Community College Dobson, NC
112 Highline College Des Moines, WA
113 Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL
114 Shawnee Community College Ullin, IL
115 Chaffey College Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Rank College Location
116 Trinidad State Junior College Trinidad, CO
116 Brandman University Irvine, CA
116 Independence Community College Independence, KS
119 South Suburban College South Holland, IL
120 Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College Orangeburg, SC
121 William Rainey Harper College Palatine, IL
122 Mountwest Community and Technical College Huntington, WV
123 Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Salisbury, NC
123 Gaston College Dallas, NC
125 Umpqua Community College Roseburg, OR
126 Northwestern Michigan College Traverse City, MI
126 Los Angeles Valley College Valley Glen, CA

Notes and References

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

Read more about our data sources and methodologies

Footnotes

  • *Average salary, average net price, and average tuition and fees are for the top schools only.
  • Some schools otherwise deserving of recognition may have been removed from this ranking in the event that new data identified post-publication warranted it, or at the request of the school.

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