Liberal Arts General Studies

2021 Best Value Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies

289 Colleges
45,514 Bachelor's Degrees
$20,546 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies School for You

Best Value Colleges for Liberal Arts General StudiesIn 2018-2019, 45,514 people earned their bachelor's in liberal arts general studies, making the major the #11 most popular in the United States.

This year's Best Value Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies ranking looked at 289 colleges that offer a bachelor's in liberal arts. When talking about the 'best value', we do not simply mean those with the lowest price. We are more focused on liberal arts schools that offer a high quality education at a price lower that other schools of similar academic excellence.

When calculating average cost, we take tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other related expenses into account. We then subtract the average financial aid award. The is meant to give you an idea of how much money you'll need to pay out-of-pocket through loans, external scholarships, or other methods. Your cost may be different from the average one, depending on your income and other factors.

More Ways to Rank Liberal Arts General Studies Schools

The liberal arts school you choose to invest your time and money in matters. To help you make the decision that is right for you, we've developed a number of major-specific rankings, including this list of the Best Value Liberal Arts Schools.

In addition to College Factual's rankings, you may want to take a look at College Combat, our unique tool that lets you pit your favorite schools head-to-head and compare how they rate on factors that most interest you. When you have some time, check it out - you may want to bookmark the link so you don't forget it.

2021 Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Schools in the United States

Check out the liberal arts programs at these schools if you want to get the best value for your money.

Top 25 Best Value Liberal Arts Schools

Brigham Young University - Provo landed the #1 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value liberal arts general studies schools. BYU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Provo. BYU also took the #4 spot in our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies rankings.

It takes about 5.2 years for the average student at BYU to complete their degree, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $12,239. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the BYU is $64,132. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#2

St John's College

Annapolis, MD

The #2 spot in this year's ranking belongs to St John's College. St. John's Annapolis is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Annapolis. St. John's Annapolis also took the #9 spot in our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies rankings.

It takes the average student at St. John’s Annapolis about 4.1 years to graduate, and it costs about $12,430 per year to attend the school. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s Annapolis is $50,590. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The average amount in student loans that liberal arts majors at St. John's Annapolis take out while working on their bachelor's is $25,062. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $280.

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#3

Soka University of America

Aliso Viejo, CA

Soka University of America comes in at #3 in this year's ranking. Soka University is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Aliso Viejo. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Soka University also is in the top 5% of our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies ranking.

At Soka University, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $16,398. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Soka University is $66,412. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

While working on their bachelor's, liberal arts majors at Soka University accumulate an average of around $19,474 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $202.

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#4

St. John's College

Santa Fe, NM

St. John's College landed the #4 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value liberal arts general studies schools. Located in the rural area of Santa Fe, St. John's is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly small student population. St. John's excels when it comes to quality. It's ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies list.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at St. John’s to complete their degree, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $14,375. This means that the average student pays around $60,087 to get a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

The average amount in student loans that liberal arts majors at St. John's take out while working on their bachelor's is $28,348. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $280.

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#5

Mercer University

Macon, GA

Mercer University comes in at #5 in this year's ranking. Located in the midsize city of Macon, Mercer is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population.

It takes about 4.3 years for the average student at Mercer to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $19,614. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Mercer is about $84,144. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

After completing their bachelor's degree, liberal arts graduates from Mercer carry an average student debtload of $31,036. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $313, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#6

William Jewell College

Liberty, MO

William Jewell College comes in at #6 in this year's ranking. William Jewell is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Liberty. In addition to its great value ranking, William Jewell is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies list.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at William Jewell is 4.1 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,544. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from William Jewell is $101,367. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

While working on their bachelor's, liberal arts majors at William Jewell accumulate an average of around $22,422 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $263.

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University of South Florida - Main Campus landed the #7 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value liberal arts general studies schools. USF Tampa is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Tampa. USF Tampa excels when it comes to quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies list.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at USF Tampa is 4.3 years, and it costs about $23,095 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the USF Tampa is $99,309. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

After completing their bachelor's degree, liberal arts graduates from USF Tampa carry an average student debtload of $24,893. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $244.

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South Dakota State University earned the #8 spot in our 2021 rankings. South Dakota State is a large public school located in the town of Brookings.

At South Dakota State, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $20,370. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State be around $89,628. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

The average amount in student loans that liberal arts majors at South Dakota State take out while working on their bachelor's is $23,935. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $251, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#9

Harding University

Searcy, AR

Harding University comes in at #9 in this year's ranking. Located in the town of Searcy, Harding is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at Harding to complete their degree, and it costs about $20,917 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the Harding is $90,989. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

After completing their bachelor's degree, liberal arts graduates from Harding carry an average student debtload of $28,665. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $284.

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#10

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, IL

The #10 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Eastern Illinois University. EIU is a moderately-sized public school located in the distant town of Charleston.

At EIU, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $16,976. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from EIU be around $75,034. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The average amount in student loans that liberal arts majors at EIU take out while working on their bachelor's is $22,750. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $225.

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#11

Bridgewater College

Bridgewater, VA

Our rankings recognize Bridgewater College as the #11 school in this year's rankings. Bridgewater is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Bridgewater.

It takes about 4.1 years for the average student at Bridgewater to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $26,429. This means that the average student pays around $108,095 to get a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

While working on their bachelor's, liberal arts majors at Bridgewater accumulate an average of around $24,743 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $275.

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#12

Thomas Aquinas College

Santa Paula, CA

Thomas Aquinas College earned the #12 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the rural area of Santa Paula, TAC is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. In addition to its great value ranking, TAC is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies list.

It takes the average student at TAC about 4.2 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,861. This means that the average student pays around $103,670 to get a bachelor’s degree from TAC. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

On average, liberal arts graduates from TAC take out $17,781 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $187.

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The #13 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Illinois at Springfield. Located in the city of Springfield, UIS is a public school with a small student population.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at UIS to complete their degree, and it costs about $20,739 per year to attend the school. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the UIS is $91,044. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

After completing their bachelor's degree, liberal arts graduates from UIS carry an average student debtload of $19,952. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $211, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Our rankings recognize Western Illinois University as the #14 school in this year's rankings. WIU is a medium-sized public school located in the remote town of Macomb.

At WIU, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $17,615. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from WIU is about $78,211. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

After completing their bachelor's degree, liberal arts graduates from WIU carry an average student debtload of $24,901. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $254.

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Grand Valley State University earned the #15 spot in our 2021 rankings. GVSU is a very large public school located in the large suburb of Allendale. GVSU excels when it comes to quality. It's ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies list.

The average student at GVSU graduates in less than 4.5 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $23,233. This means that the average student pays around $105,245 to get a bachelor’s degree from GVSU. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

Liberal Arts majors at GVSU take out an average of $26,371 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $270.

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#16

Union University

Jackson, TN

Union University earned the #16 spot in our 2021 rankings. Union U is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Jackson. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Union U also did well on our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies list. It's in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The average student at Union U graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $23,968. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from Union U is about $98,029. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

Liberal Arts majors at Union U take out an average of $26,029 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree.

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Indiana Wesleyan University earned the #17 spot in our 2021 rankings. IWU is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Marion.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at IWU is 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $21,484. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the IWU is $90,018. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

After completing their bachelor's degree, liberal arts graduates from IWU carry an average student debtload of $24,356. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $243.

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#18

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA

Our rankings recognize University of Northern Iowa as the #18 school in this year's rankings. UNI is a fairly large public school located in the city of Cedar Falls.

At UNI, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.4 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $24,198. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from UNI is $107,439. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

Liberal Arts majors at UNI take out an average of $21,000 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $222, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#19

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX

The #19 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Texas Tech University. Texas Tech is a fairly large public school located in the city of Lubbock. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Texas Tech also is in the top 20% of our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies ranking.

It takes the average student at Texas Tech about 4.5 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $23,296. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech is $105,298. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

Liberal Arts majors at Texas Tech take out an average of $26,048 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $270.

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#20

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

The #20 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of North Dakota. UND is a large public school located in the city of Grand Forks. UND excels when it comes to quality. It's ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies list.

It takes about 4.6 years for the average student at UND to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $23,788. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the UND is $109,187. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

On average, liberal arts graduates from UND take out $24,436 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $258, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#21

Ferris State University

Big Rapids, MI

Our rankings recognize Ferris State University as the #21 school in this year's rankings. Located in the distant town of Big Rapids, Ferris is a public college with a fairly large student population.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Ferris is 4.6 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $15,909. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Ferris is $73,022. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The average amount in student loans that liberal arts majors at Ferris take out while working on their bachelor's is $27,738. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $280.

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#22

University of Memphis

Memphis, TN

The #22 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Memphis. U of Memphis is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Memphis.

It takes the average student at U of Memphis about 4.7 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $21,599. This means that the average student pays around $101,083 to get a bachelor’s degree from U of Memphis. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

Liberal Arts majors at U of Memphis take out an average of $32,627 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $349, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#23

Columbia College

Columbia, MO

The #23 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Columbia College. Columbia College Missouri is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Columbia.

It takes about 4.0 years for the average student at Columbia College Missouri to complete their degree, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $19,593. Putting this cost and the average time to graduate together, we find that the average amount you’ll pay to get a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Missouri is $78,960. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

After completing their bachelor's degree, liberal arts graduates from Columbia College Missouri carry an average student debtload of $23,614. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $208, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Iowa State University comes in at #24 in this year's ranking. Iowa State is a very large public school located in the city of Ames. On top of its placing in our value rankings, Iowa State also did well on our Best Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies list. It's in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at Iowa State to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $26,749. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State is $118,231. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

On average, liberal arts graduates from Iowa State take out $22,111 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $223, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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The #25 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. Located in the small city of Oshkosh, UW Oshkosh is a public college with a large student population.

It takes about 4.8 years for the average student at UW Oshkosh to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $19,232. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from UW Oshkosh be around $91,544. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

The average amount in student loans that liberal arts majors at UW Oshkosh take out while working on their bachelor's is $30,552. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $284.

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#26

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL
#29

New College of Florida

Sarasota, FL
#31

Westfield State University

Westfield, MA
#32

Simpson College

Indianola, IA

#40

Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, AZ

#43

SUNY Cortland

Cortland, NY

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Value Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies award.

Rank College Location
44 Florida International University Miami, FL
45 University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO
46 University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Whitewater, WI
47 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
48 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
49 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
50 University of North Texas Denton, TX
51 Ball State University Muncie, IN
52 Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, KS
53 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE
54 Eastern New Mexico University - Main Campus Portales, NM
55 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
56 Oakland University Rochester Hills, MI
57 Arizona State University - Polytechnic Mesa, AZ

Liberal Arts General Studies by Region

View the Best Value Colleges for Liberal Arts General Studies for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Liberal Arts General Studies is one of 0 different types of Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities programs to choose from.

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • 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 the rest 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).

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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