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2021 Best Value Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts

483 Colleges
94,501 Bachelor's Degrees
$23,310 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Value Visual & Performing Arts School for You

Best Value Colleges for Visual & Performing ArtsWith 94,501 bachelor's degrees handed out in 2018-2019, visual and performing arts is the #8 most popular major in the United States.

For this year's Best Value Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts ranking, we looked at 483 colleges that offer a bachelor's in visual and performing arts. When talking about the 'best value', we do not simply mean those with the lowest price. For this ranking, we are identifying those visual and performing arts schools that provide their students with a hiqh quality education at a price that is lower than other colleges and universities of the same caliber.

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. Depending on your income and other factors, the cost for you to attend a particular school may be more or less.

One Size Does Not Fit All

The visual and performing 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 Visual & Performing 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. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

2021 Best Value Visual & Performing Arts Schools in the United States

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

Top 25 Best Value Visual & Performing Arts Schools

Brigham Young University - Provo landed the #1 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Located in the city of Provo, BYU is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. In addition to its great value ranking, BYU is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

It takes the average student at BYU about 5.2 years to graduate, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $12,239. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from BYU be around $64,132. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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University of North Carolina School of the Arts landed the #2 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Located in the city of Winston-Salem, UNCSA is a public school with a small student population. UNCSA not only placed well in our value rankings. It is also #1 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

At UNCSA, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.0 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $26,963. 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 UNCSA is $109,200. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#3

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Florida State University landed the #3 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Florida State is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Tallahassee. Florida State also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list. It's in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at Florida State to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $27,233. 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 Florida State is $115,196. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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The #4 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Cornish College of the Arts. Cornish College of the Arts is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Seattle. Cornish College of the Arts did well in our quality rankings, too. It placed #5 on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

At Cornish College of the Arts, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.0 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $31,526. 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 Cornish College of the Arts is $127,365. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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The #5 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. Located in the city of Milwaukee, MIAD is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. On top of its placing in our value rankings, MIAD also did well on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list. It's in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The average student at MIAD graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $29,646. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from MIAD is $123,920. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#6

Mills College

Oakland, CA

Mills College comes in at #6 in this year's ranking. Mills is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Oakland.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Mills is 4.2 years, and it costs about $15,260 per year to attend the school. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from Mills be around $64,702. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Illinois State University earned the #7 spot in our 2021 rankings. Illinois State is a very large public school located in the medium-sized suburb of Normal. Illinois State excels when it comes to quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Illinois State is 4.4 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $24,958. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State is $108,817. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#8

Purchase College

Purchase, NY

Purchase College landed the #8 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Purchase College is a small public school located in the large suburb of Purchase. In addition to its great value ranking, Purchase College is in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

At Purchase College, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.2 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $26,570. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Purchase College is $111,063. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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#9

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

University of Florida earned the #9 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the medium-sized city of Gainesville, U of F is a public school with a very large student population. U of F also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at U of F is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $28,230. 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 U of F is $120,542. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#10

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX

The #10 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Texas Tech University. Located in the large city of Lubbock, Texas Tech is a public college with a fairly large student population. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Texas Tech also is in the top 20% of our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts ranking.

The average student at Texas Tech graduates in less than 4.5 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $23,296. 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 Texas Tech is $105,298. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#11

Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, NC

Our rankings recognize Western Carolina University as the #11 school in this year's rankings. Located in the town of Cullowhee, WCU 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 WCU is 4.4 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $15,387. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from WCU is about $67,549. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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North Dakota State University - Main Campus comes in at #12 in this year's ranking. North Dakota State University is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of Fargo.

It takes the average student at North Dakota State University about 4.5 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $21,224. This makes the estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree from North Dakota State University be around $96,145. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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University of South Florida - Main Campus earned the #13 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the city of Tampa, USF Tampa is a public school with a fairly large student population.

It takes the average student at USF Tampa about 4.3 years to graduate, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $23,095. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from USF Tampa is $99,308. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#14

University of Houston

Houston, TX

The #14 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Houston. Located in the large city of Houston, U of H is a public college with a very large student population. In addition to its great value ranking, U of H is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

It takes about 4.6 years for the average student at U of H to complete their degree, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $25,217. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the U of H is $116,503. Graduating sooner can prevent you from having to pay more money out of pocket.

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The #15 spot in this year's ranking belongs to West Texas A&M University. Located in the fringe town of Canyon, West Texas A&M University is a public college with a moderately-sized student population.

It takes about 4.4 years for the average student at West Texas A&M University to complete their degree, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $16,505. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the West Texas A&M University is $72,952. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#16

Oklahoma City University

Oklahoma City, OK

The #16 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Oklahoma City University. Located in the large city of Oklahoma City, OCU is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. OCU also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list. It's in the top 20% of all schools in this category.

The average student at OCU graduates in less than 4.2 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $27,356. 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 OCU is $114,895. When students graduate in a lesser amount of time, they can save thousands of dollars.

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Our rankings recognize Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as the #17 school in this year's rankings. SIUE is a large public school located in the suburb of Edwardsville.

It takes the average student at SIUE about 4.5 years to graduate, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $17,498. 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 SIUE is $79,091. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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University of North Carolina at Greensboro comes in at #18 in this year's ranking. UNC Greensboro is a very large public school located in the large city of Greensboro.

It takes about 4.5 years for the average student at UNC Greensboro to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $22,093. 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 UNC Greensboro is $98,756. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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#19

Luther College

Decorah, IA

Our rankings recognize Luther College as the #19 school in this year's rankings. Located in the town of Decorah, Luther is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. Luther excels when it comes to quality. It's ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

At Luther, the average time it takes a student to graduate is 4.1 years, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $29,834. When we combine these numbers, we estimate that the cost to get a bachelor’s degree from Luther is $122,319. The sooner a student graduates, the more money they can save.

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Our rankings recognize University of Nebraska at Kearney as the #20 school in this year's rankings. UNK is a moderately-sized public school located in the town of Kearney.

It takes about 4.5 years for the average student at UNK to complete their degree, and the estimated yearly cost for the school is $20,217. This means that the average student pays around $91,987 to get a bachelor’s degree from UNK. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Appalachian State University landed the #21 spot in our 2021 rankings for best value visual and performing arts schools. Appalachian State is a fairly large public school located in the distant town of Boone.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at Appalachian State is 4.3 years, and on average, the annual cost to attend the school is $22,137. This means that the average student pays around $95,410 to get a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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#22

Truman State University

Kirksville, MO

Truman State University earned the #22 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the town of Kirksville, Truman State is a public school with a moderately-sized student population.

It takes the average student at Truman State about 4.2 years to graduate, and it costs about $18,927 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 Truman State is $80,250. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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The #23 spot in this year's ranking belongs to John Paul the Great Catholic University. Located in the suburb of Escondido, John Paul the Great Catholic University is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly small student population. John Paul the Great Catholic University excels when it comes to quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts list.

The average student at John Paul the Great Catholic University graduates in less than 4.1 years, and the yearly average cost to attend the school is $32,997. Thus, the average cost to get a bachelor’s degree from the John Paul the Great Catholic University is $135,948. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Northern Illinois University comes in at #24 in this year's ranking. NIU is a large public school located in the suburb of Dekalb.

The average amount of time it takes for a student to receive their degree at NIU is 4.6 years, and the average full-time cost to attend the school is around $20,171. This means that the average student pays around $92,181 to get a bachelor’s degree from NIU. If you can shave even one term off your degree, you can save a substantial amount of money.

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#25

SUNY Oneonta

Oneonta, NY

SUNY Oneonta earned the #25 spot in our 2021 rankings. SUNY Oneonta is a medium-sized public school located in the remote town of Oneonta.

It takes about 4.2 years for the average student at SUNY Oneonta to complete their degree, and it costs about $24,162 per year to attend the school. Looking at these numbers together, we estimate that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oneonta is about $100,997. When you graduate sooner, you can save a lot of money.

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Rest of the Top Schools for Best Value Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts

#26

Ball State University

Muncie, IN
#32

Kansas City Art Institute

Kansas City, MO
#33

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, IL
#34

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, MI
#36

University of Memphis

Memphis, TN
#37

University of Wyoming

Laramie, WY
#39

SUNY Potsdam

Potsdam, NY
#40

CUNY Hunter College

New York, NY
#41

SUNY New Paltz

New Paltz, NY
#42

Lawrence University

Appleton, WI
#48

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
#50

Maine College of Art

Portland, ME

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the remainder of the schools awarded a Best Value Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 483 different United States visual and performing arts schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
52 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
53 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
54 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Norman, OK
55 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
56 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
57 University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Stevens Point, WI
58 Montserrat College of Art Beverly, MA
59 Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA
60 Taylor University Upland, IN
61 SUNY Fredonia Fredonia, NY
62 The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX
63 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
64 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ
65 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX
66 Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI
67 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
68 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
69 The College at Brockport Brockport, NY
70 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
71 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
72 Texas A&M University - Commerce Commerce, TX

Additional Noteworthy Schools

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 Visual & Performing Arts award.

Rank College Location
73 Kent State University at Kent Kent, OH
74 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
75 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
76 San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA
77 University of Wisconsin - Platteville Platteville, WI
78 University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO
79 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
80 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
81 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
82 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Kutztown, PA
83 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO
84 Albright College Reading, PA
85 Point Park University Pittsburgh, PA
86 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
87 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
88 Montclair State University Montclair, NJ
89 SUNY Oswego Oswego, NY
90 California State University - Northridge Northridge, CA
91 Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro, TN
92 University of Cincinnati - Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
93 Arkansas State University - Main Campus Jonesboro, AR
94 Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art New York, NY
95 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
96 Texas Woman’s University Denton, TX

Visual & Performing Arts by Region

View the Best Value Colleges for Visual & Performing Arts for a specific region near you.

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

Visual & Performing Arts Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 25,815
Design & Applied Arts 19,137
Music 15,747
Drama & Theater Arts 12,791
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 11,308

View All Visual & Performing Arts Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities 45,514
English Language & Literature 42,686
Foreign Languages & Linguistics 24,008
Philosophy & Religious Studies 12,372
Theology & Religious Vocations 10,962

View All Visual & Performing Arts Related Majors >

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).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Bonnielou2013.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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