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100 Most Affordable Small Colleges East of the Mississippi


Great Value Colleges - Small CollegesBy GVC Staff
June 2015

In this ranking, we present the 100 most affordable small colleges east of the Mississippi. You may also want to check out our ranking of 100 most affordable small colleges west of the Mississippi.

The United States not only has more colleges than almost any other country in the world (it is currently ranked 2nd behind India), but it also has more internationally ranked top universities than any other nation. In fact, the United States is home to more than a quarter of the best schools across the globe. People flock to the U.S. for a chance to get a prestigious American education, but the United States carries a reputation for something else, too – EXPENSE. It’s true, U.S. universities are often quite expensive, but plenty of schools are making an effort to buck the stereotype. Through price reductions, scholarships, and federal grants and loans, colleges are working together with students to help make education accessible to as many people as possible.

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Ranking Methodology
Schools 1-10
Schools 11-20
Schools 21-30
Schools 31-40
Schools 41-50
Schools 51-60
Schools 61-70
Schools 71-80
Schools 81-90
Schools 91-100

Ranking Methodology

A full list of the most affordable colleges in the U.S. would go on for days, so it’s helpful to think about universities in categories. For this ranking, we limited our selection to small schools (4,000 students or less) East of the Mississippi. We approached this process in stages, first collecting a list of all U.S. colleges (there are thousands!) and then eliminating all but traditional, four-year schools. This means we did not consider community colleges, primarily online colleges, graduate schools, or speciality universities – such as established Seminaries. Next, we used College Navigator to determine each school’s average enrollment, dismissing any school with more than 4,000 students.

We then took on the task of separating this list by location and determining if the colleges lay East or West of the Mississippi River. You might be surprised to hear that there are more than 400 qualifying colleges in the Eastern portion of the United States! Finally, we collected information about each school’s net price* and sorted the list accordingly to determine the 100 most affordable universities. You will find each of these 100 options below, ranked according to their average annual cost.

*”Net Price” refers to an adjusted price that considers both annual tuition costs and added fees as well as the average financial aid package per student. College Navigator, a component of the National Center for Education Statistics, calculates these figures primarily from self-reported institutional information. Understandably, the actual cost for your education will depend on the length of your degree program, your personal economic situation, your ability to attain scholarships, school-imposed tuition changes, and other factors.

As a final note, you will see that some of the selections below are listed as “regional campuses.” There were some instances in the original ranking where multiple regional locations of a large state university (which are typically much smaller than the main campus) showed up in the top 100. In order to organize the ranking, we chose to list all regional locations as one school. And although we list the main campus location in the heading, we also mention the specific qualifying regional campuses in the description. Furthermore, the net price and student body we list are averages between all of the small, regional campuses – NOT the main university.

100. Quincy University

Quincy, Illinois


As far as small Catholic colleges go, Quincy University has plenty to offer. Offering education in the “Franciscan Tradition,” Quincy works hard to provide comprehensive curricula that make students feel valued, challenged, and engaged. Degree programs in Advertising, Clinical Laboratory Production, Entrepreneurship, International Business, Theology, and Web Development – to name but a few – all will help you gain a strong educational foundation while preparing for professional success. But Quincy defines academics in a way that reaches far beyond the classroom; utilizing an IDEAL model (Individually Designed Experiential and Active Learning), this premier university pushes students to simultaneously explore the creative arts, research, global studies, leadership, service, and internships.

Net Price: $17,099/yr
Student Body: 1,455

99. Charleston Southern University

North Charleston, South Carolina


With a strong emphasis on Baptist values, over 50 graduate and undergraduate programs to choose from, and a competitive tuition rate, Charleston Southern University is one of the best small colleges for Christians east of the Mississippi. At CSU, students can pursue degrees in the humanities, including Christian Studies and Graphic Design, as well as business, nursing, and technology. Online coursework makes scheduling convenient, and a 300-acre campus gives 3,000 undergraduates the space they need to study, pray, and relax. Throw in Division I men’s and women’s sports, and it’s not hard to see why CSU was rated one of Americas Best 100 College Buys.

Net Price: $17,058/yr
Student Body: 3,269

98. Pfeiffer University

Misenheimer, North Carolina


Pfeiffer University, one of the most affordable private colleges in North Carolina, also offers a diverse range of academic experiences despite its small size. Here, undergraduates select from dozens of majors and degree programs, from Art to Accounting. Students can also select from more unique programs like Financial Fraud, Health and Exercise Science, and Sports Management—all of which feature online components for added convenience. Founded all the way back in 1885, this Methodist-based university has over a century of experience transforming young people into future leaders with strong values and critical thinking skills.

Net Price: $17,032/yr
Student Body: 1,860

97. Spring Arbor University

Spring Arbor, Michigan


Spring Arbor University is one of the oldest teaching colleges in Michigan, and the second-largest Evangelical Christian University in the state. Whether you are a high school graduate or a working professional looking to take the next step in your career, SAU offers an array of graduate and undergraduate degree programs to help you achieve your spiritual and professional goals. Business Administration, Special Education, and Spiritual Formation and Leadership degrees are just some of the promising opportunities available at this top small college. Strong spiritual life both on and off campus makes SAU a great resource for Christian students at every level.

Net Price: $16,951/yr
Student Body: 3,962

96. Waynesburg University

Waynesburg, Pennsylvania


With a tuition rate of only $16,000 a year and an average of $20,000 in combined gift and institutional aid per student annually, Waynesburg University is one of the most affordable private colleges in Pennsylvania. This small, private Christian university has been committed to making education available and affordable since 1849, when it was founded by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. They were also one of the first colleges to offer degrees to women in the U.S. Whether you wish to take Biblical and Ministry Studies, Biology, Engineering, or create your own major, studying at Waynesburg guarantees that you get more out of your education than they take from you.

Net Price: $16,768/yr
Student Body: 2,190

95. Washington Adventist University

Takoma Park, Maryland


Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; the Adventist Accrediting Association; and approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Washington Adventist University ranks highly in educational rigor as well as college affordability. This Christian liberal arts school offers degree programs in everything from Biology to Business, as well as a strong study abroad program sponsored by Adventist Colleges Abroad. WAU students can pursue their degree around the world in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain, augmenting their education with a new perspective on the world.

Net Price: $16,737/yr
Student Body: 1,185

94. Shorter University

Rome, Georgia


“Christ-centered,” “biblically-based,” and “excellence-focused” are the three cornerstones of the education mission at Shorter University. This top small private college is a great resource for traditional students and adult learners alike. Sharing faith, hope, and high intellectual standards makes for a stimulating learning environment for all members. Students can select from a variety of liberal arts and pre-professional programs in secular and spiritual disciplines like Youth Ministry, Church Music, Pre-Law, and more. Robust Student Life programs in Student Government, Greek Life, Inter- and Intramural Sports and the Miss Shorter Pageant round out this institution into a formative experience for those looking to get more out of their education.

Net Price: $16,612/yr
Student Body: 1,629

93. Aquinas College

Grand Rapids, Michigan


Faith is the foundation of service, service is the foundation of leadership, and leadership is the route to success. At Aquinas College, students are immersed in all three of these Christian values to create leaders that inspire others and shape the world. Set on 107 wooded acres, this small Catholic College lies just east of Michigan’s second largest city, Grand Rapids, providing a balance of serenity and excitement. Students choose from over 60 majors and degree programs and are free to explore all the opportunities Grand Rapids has to offer in their free time, from festivals to restaurants and regular cultural events.

Net Price: $16,581/yr
Student Body: 2,001

92. Alderson Broaddus College

Philippi, West Virginia


Alderson-Broaddus University was founded in the late 20’s when two Baptist colleges merged in order to strengthen their devotion to liberal education. To this day, A-B University still requires all students to take a fundamental core curriculum to ensure a benchmark of knowledge before specializing into different departments. This not only encourages greater intellectual curiosity, but also fosters a sense of community among all students. Afterwards, students choose their degree program from a variety of majors in five academic divisions: Education and Special Programs, Health Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences.

Net Price: $16,551/yr
Student Body: 1,117

91. Amherst College

Amherst, Massachusetts


Ranked as the second-best liberal arts college by U.S. News and tenth among all universities in the country by Forbes, Amherst is a top small private college by any measurement. But Amherst also makes its best in class education highly affordable by offering an average of $47,000 in aid per student, or around $60 million a year. Coupled with the fact that they have replaced all loans with scholarship grants, an education at Amherst is one of the best you can get with minimal debt. All this makes Amherst very selective, of course, attracting top performing students from around the country. But for the students who get in, they can enjoy a world-class liberal education in beautiful rural Massachusetts for close to nothing.

Net Price: $16,550/yr
Student Body: 1,785

90. Monmouth University

West Long Branch, New Jersey


Monmouth is another selective university that makes its sought-after education as affordable as possible. With an historic campus located at the crossroads of Philadelphia and New York City, Monmouth is a fertile environment for inquisitive and ambitious minds from around the world. Like many other colleges on this list, students can pursue dozens of degree programs more than we can list; suffice it to say that 95% of the 2012 graduating class was either employed full-time or in graduate school 6-9 months after graduation. With a strong emphasis on career-building and real-world experience, this top small college invests in your success as much as you do.

Net Price: $16,537/yr
Student Body: 1,255

89. Trevecca Nazarene University

Nashville, Tennessee


Located just three miles outside of downtown Nashville, TNU is a bastion of Christian values in a culturally rich, urban environment. While students pursue individual degrees in anything from Financial Mathematics to Media Studies, the institution is grounded in service and spirituality that brings the community together both on and off-campus. International mission trips, corporate worship, and university-sponsored urban farm camps all nourish the mind and the soul of involved community members, helping students develop their leadership potential in a constructive environment. One of the top affordable colleges in Tennessee, TNU is a great choice for students who can’t wait to make a difference.

Net Price: $16,513/yr
Student Body: 2,406

88. Piedmont College

Demorest, Georgia


Nestled in the foothills of the northeast Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains, Piedmont offers an intimate educational environment at a great price. This top small college features over 50 academic programs in the humanities, business, education, and nursing and health sciences. The student body is equally diverse, with a rich mix of local, domestic, and international students of every faith and ethnicity. Students flock from all over the world not only for the beautiful campus setting and affordability, but for Piedmont’s commitment to fostering inquiry and intellectual diversity as well.

Net Price: $16,396/yr
Student Body: 2,358

87. Wesleyan College

Macon, Georgia


Wesleyan made a name for itself in 1836 as the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women. Since then, Wesleyan has consistently been one of the most affordable colleges in the U.S., making higher education available to women all over the world for almost a century. Between major and minor programs, interdisciplinary and pre-professional studies, and double majors, Wesleyan offers over 70 degree paths for both female and male (graduate) students to pursue their dreams. Wesleyan’s commitment to student growth is demonstrated by its Honor Code, which furnishes a community of intellectual integrity and camaraderie instead of competition.

Net Price: $16,353/yr
Student Body: 700

Johnson C Smith University Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

86. Johnson C. Smith University

Charlotte, North Carolina


A historically black college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, Johnson C. Smith University has been enlightening young minds since 1867. This urban university has since made a name for itself by its unique incorporation of liberal arts subjects with pre-professional, technology-based curricula. JCSU prepares students for meaningful careers by developing entrepreneurial, intellectual, and ethical ambition in a diverse community setting. JCSU also provides continuing education programs for adults in pre-professional and technical fields available both online and on-campus. Students select from over 23 degree programs that guarantee college degrees go hand in hand with college affordability.

Net Price: $16,118/yr
Student Body: 1,387

85. Warner University

Lake Wales, Florida


Affiliated with the Church of God, Warner University is one of the best small colleges for students of faith in Florida and beyond. Warner is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and offers 20 undergraduate degree programs, ranging from Agricultural Studies and Business Administration to Ministry and Humanities. Online coursework as well as pre-professional and adult education programs make Warner a great resource for students of all ages and career paths. Despite its historically black status, Warner has been top ranked for Campus Diversity by U.S. News for four consecutive years.

Net Price: $16,109/yr
Student Body: 1,162

Oakland City University Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

84. Oakland City University

Oakland City, Indiana


Oakland City University has been providing some of the best teaching education in Indiana since 1885. Between strong Baptist values, technical preparation, hands-on learning, and community service, OCU engages students at every level to fashion them into ethical, intelligent leaders in their field. Although early childhood, elementary, and secondary education are the most popular programs at OCU, students can study anything from Web Design and Digital Media to Biology and Accounting. Among the top small private colleges in the state, Oakland City University combines value with values to create excellence that lasts.

Net Price: $16,077/yr
Student Body: 2,418

Salem College Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

83. Salem College

Winston Salem, North Carolina


The oldest women’s school in the Southwest, Salem College is also ranked 67th among Forbes’ best colleges in America. Founded in 1772 as a primary school, Salem quickly graduated to providing the highest quality, cheapest education available to women. Salem is not only one of the most affordable colleges in the U.S.; it is also committed to encouraging to women to pursue higher education and further their careers, be it in education or the sciences (the two most popular departments at Salem). Students at Salem can also pursue degrees in dance, creative writing, international business, women’s studies, and dozens of other stimulating options.

Net Price: $16,068/yr
Student Body: 1,187

82. Kuyper College

Grand Rapids, Michigan


Students looking to pursue a career in Christian ministry and leadership won’t break the bank at Kuyper College. Among the most affordable private colleges in Michigan, Kuyper is built on Christ-modeled leadership and service learning to encourage students to earn their education with faith and goodness rather than just money. While students can pursue over 30 unique degree programs, Kuyper requires at least 21 Bible and Theological credit-hours for graduation—among the highest in the nation. Between grants, scholarships, and online coursework, Kuyper can be a great opportunity to advance your spiritual career without selling out.

Net Price: $16,030/yr
Student Body: 291

81. Cambridge College

Cambridge, Massachusetts


If you’re looking to pick up where your education left off, Cambridge College may be the best small college for you. Specializing in adult education, Cambridge offers all the resources to succeed in undergraduate or graduate school as a working professional. Between online coursework, flexible scheduling, career services, and affordable tuition, students have the opportunity to make a living while living the life of the mind. Students can either begin or complete their bachelor’s degree, or seek a graduate degree in education, management, or psychology and counseling. Cambridge College is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Net Price: $15,910/yr
Student Body: 3,114

80. Dominican University

River Forest, Illinois


Affiliated with the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, Dominican University is one of the best small Catholic colleges for traditional students and adult learners alike. Dominican offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD levels in a wide range of subjects, and places 19th among regional universities in the Midwest on U.S. News’ top ranking. In addition to a liberal core curriculum in reading, writing, and mathematics, students can pursue degrees in Neuroscience, Painting, and Pre-Dentistry, among nearly 60 others. A lovely but intimate 37-acre campus in historic River Forest with close proximity to the international metropolis of Chicago makes Dominican University a great cultural destination to boot.

Net Price: $15,882/yr
Student Body: 3,470

79. Culver-Stockton College

Canton, Mississippi


Culver-Stockton College’s 140-acre campus, located in Canton, Missouri, overlooks the majestic Mississippi River. With fewer than 900 students on campus, life at Culver-Stockton is the epitome of close-knit. The Culver-Stockton Wildcats provide a diversion from academic work and the opportunity to take part in healthy competition with other schools in the region. Student organizations span a range of interests, granting you the choice to take part in Greek life, explore your spirituality, or indulge a new hobby with friends. And despite being one of the top affordable colleges in Mississippi, CSC doesn’t skimp on resources; counseling and wellness services and workout facilities encourage students to stay in tip-top shape both mentally and physically.

Net Price: $15,803/yr
Student Body: 843

Kentucky Wesleyan College Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

78. Kentucky Wesleyan College

Owensboro, Kentucky


Located in the heart of Owensboro, Kentucky Wesleyan College is a NCAA Division II school and home of the mighty Panthers. Variety is the name of the game at KWC when it comes to both athletics and academics – nearly 30 different majors support study in everything from Elementary Education to Fitness & Sports Management. Opportunities outside the classroom will support your pursuit of career training. For example, the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning helps enhance education majors’ understanding of didactic principles. You might also consider a pre-professional program, such as Pre-Medical or Health Sciences. In general, students often choose a small college because of the useful attention and guidance they receive from faculty, and KWC is no exception. Comprehensive advising backs a unique “Four-Year Graduation Guarantee,” although the school is also happy to help you graduate early! Ambitious students who place a premium on college affordability should put KWC at the top of their list.

Net Price: $15,773/yr
Student Body: 657

77. Young Harris College

Young Harris, Georgia


Young Harris College is quite the gem among small liberal arts colleges. YHC is unusual in its focus on performing arts programs, which are quite successful; the school touts a highly accomplished graduate in country music superstar, Trisha Yearwood! But Young Harris offers much more than guitar lessons – students can take advantage of the gorgeous Georgia Mountains through the YHC Outdoor Adventures program and go horseback riding in their free time. In short, you’ll never be bored here: the school’s self-published, 100-item “Bucket List” of nearby things to do provides a quick cheat sheet for your weekend plans. In addition, YHC’s LEED-certified Recreation and Fitness Center and well-kept facilities only bolster the argument that this is one of the best small colleges around.

Net Price: $15,771/yr
Student Body: 1,117

76. Holy Family University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Holy Family University is a small Catholic school with four primary schools of study: Arts & Sciences, Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Business Administration, and Education. HFU offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree and certificate programs to suit every need, while International and Study Abroad programs are available to round out your collegiate experience at this top small college. Located in Philadelphia, Holy Family University attracts smart students who seek to combine low tuition with the vibrancy of one of the nation’s largest and most popular cities. Strong sports teams and a warm and inviting campus add to the allure of this liberal arts college.

Net Price: $15,730/yr
Student Body: 2,956

75. Saint Mary of the Woods College

Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana


Saint Mary of the Woods’ motto, “Aspire Higher!” perfectly encapsulates this small private college’s main mission. The school actively works to create “students [who are] empowered to meld intellect and spirituality, direct ambition, attain goals and stretch beyond the imagination.” Students who see this mission as an exciting call-to-action rather than a daunting demand will fit right in at SMWC. Originally a women’s college, the school recently opened its doors to male collegiate learners as well. 29 unique majors (including a Department of Equine Studies) and academic support such as the Learning Resource Center will provide you a pathway to design your future on your own terms. Campus Ministry is a popular choice for out-of-class activities, but you can also engage in a wealth of other student organizations and secular activities.

Net Price: $15,685/yr
Student Body: 887

74. University of Pittsburgh Regional Campuses

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


The University of Pittsburgh represents a unique selection for this list of the most affordable top small colleges in the country. Although Pittsburgh’s main campus hosts many thousands of students, Pitt also encompasses numerous regional campuses around the state. Three of these smaller campuses – Bradford, Greensburg, and Titusville – all qualify for this list based on their size and college affordability. These regional locations all offer a breadth of academic, athletic, and student life options that rival the state’s biggest public colleges. You can major in Applied Mathematics at Bradford, join the Resident Student Council at Greensburg, or incorporate an internship at Titusville. No matter what, you can’t go wrong at Pitt!
Net Price: $15,642/yr
Student Body: 1,175

Maryville College Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

73. Maryville College

Maryville, Tennessee


Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, founded in 1819, is built upon the foundations of scholarship, integrity, and respect in a never-ending quest for “goodness, truth, and beauty.” This school believes in learning via experience and makes a serious investment in its students beyond simply hoping they earn a good job after graduation. Instead, they have enacted a program called Maryville College Works, which puts you in a work/study program within your field during your studies so that you can “learn the ropes” and be more familiar with what you should expect on the job market. Situated ideally in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Maryville provides an impeccable liberal arts education and is one of the top small colleges in Tennessee.

Net Price: $15,605/yr
Student Body: 1,168

72. Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Mansfield, Pennsylvania


Mansfield University is a premier public, liberal arts school that the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges has named as their representative school for the state of Pennsylvania. Although its campus is on the smaller size, you should think of Mansfield as a gateway rather than a closed space; the university’s popular International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) allows students to attend any one of more than 150 universities in over 50 countries. Students can choose to study abroad in an English language program, brush up on their foreign language skills, or immerse themselves in a completely new culture. And if you choose to stay home and attend the small public college courses locally, nearby athletic and entertainment options will offer a respite from rigorous academic study.

Net Price: $15,520/yr
Student Body: 2,970

71. Alverno College

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Alverno College is located on 46 acres of bliss near the heart of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Whether you live on- or off-campus, opportunities abound for involvement in student life. In addition to more than 30 student organization options, weekly comedy events and karaoke nights will help you maintain a much-needed balance between studies and personal time at this small private college. Speaking of studies, undergraduates can choose from numerous traditional topics within Education, Business, Arts & Sciences, and Nursing. In addition, graduates can obtain master’s degrees in four different disciplines: Education, Administration, Nursing, and Community Psychology.

Net Price: $15,478/yr
Student Body: 2,536

70. Lindsey Wilson College

Columbia, Kentucky


Lindsey Wilson College sits atop a picturesque hillside 20 miles from Lake Cumberland, providing a striking visual argument to choose LWC over an urban alternative. Trade the skyline for a 200-acre wooded backdrop, which will provide a scenic setting for your studies. The school motto, “Every Student, Every Day,” is anything but empty rhetoric; the faculty’s dedication to both supporting and challenging each individual student makes LWC a weighty contender among the nation’s other top small private colleges. Tutors and coaches will also go out of their way to help you reach your potential, whether you’re revising an essay in the Academic Success Center or participating in one of the school’s nine different sports.

Net Price: $15,442/yr
Student Body: 2,644

69. Wingate University

Wingate, North Carolina


Whether your mission is to earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, Wingate University in North Carolina can prepare you for the career of your choice. The university was recently ranked as the 10th best value for education in the southern United States, serving as proof of this top small private college’s dedication to its student body. Annual events such as the Alumni and Friends Trip and Family Weekend indicate Wingate’s commitment to cultivating loyal students and lasting friendships, and family members are always welcome to visit and get a taste of the Wingate experience. NCAA Division II sports, Greek Life, and campus ministries will give you plenty of ways to display your pride and build your resume.

Net Price: $15,438/yr
Student Body: 3,002

68. Brenau University

Gainesville, Georgia


Brenau University is not only the pride of Gainesville, Georgia, but also one of the Best School for Veterans, according to U.S. News & World Report. Four different schools of study –Education, Health Sciences, Fine Arts & Humanities, and Business & Mass Communication – provide nearly endless opportunities to ensure your constant academic engagement. The Brenau Model of Education consists of four key portals: expand your worldview, discover beauty, develop creativity, and refresh and refine communication skills. This unique approach takes the emphasis away from career preparation and paycheck security, instead encouraging students to become refined, well-rounded thinkers who will succeed in multiple fields. And like many of the other best small colleges on this list, Brenau strengthens its appeal with a multiplicity of athletic teams, student organizations, and activities off campus.

Net Price: $15,392/yr
Student Body: 2,854

67. Claflin University

Orangeburg, South Carolina


Are you a visionary? Would you like to be one? If so, Claflin University of Orangeburg, South Carolina is the place for you. Claflin has a strong reputation as a teaching and research university, and the school’s accompanying resources give students a front row seat to advanced study and new discoveries. In the same light, students often choose Claflin for its uncommon degree options, such as Philosophy and African American Studies. offers degree programs that are not often offered at other schools, such as Bachelors of Philosophy and Bachelor of African and African American studies. Combine these features with a small student to faculty ratio, extreme college affordability, and close ties to the United Methodist Church, and it’s easy to see how Claflin is synonymous with value in education.

Net Price: $15,371/yr
Student Body: 1,884

Bryan College Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

66. Bryan College

Dayton, Tennessee


As one of the best small colleges in Tennessee, Bryan College takes a two-pronged approach to education, helping students follow Christ while they pursue a top-notch education. BC’s motto is “Christ Above All,” and the core curriculum strives to help students foster a Christian worldview and to understand the natural world. And you’ll have easy access to this natural world just outside the school’s front door, which sits atop a remarkable 128-acre hilltop. In addition to religious majors, students at Bryan can explore Creative Writing, Mathematics, Philosophy and Culture, or one of several other traditional academic subjects. What’s more, innovative ventures like the Center for Undergraduate Research and the Center for Leadership and Justice will help you become successful thinkers and communicators in your field.

Net Price: $15,258/yr
Student Body: 1,704

65. Ohio Valley University

Vienna, West Virginia


Ohio Valley University is a Christ-centered school based on traditions of faith and biblical understanding. In addition to a low student to faculty ratio, unique programs like the “Freshman Compass” help students feel comfortable and confident in their collegiate experience. Faculty are involved and invested in students’ success, and they will help you achieve your goals whether you pick a major in the Arts & Sciences, Biblical Studies & Behavioral Sciences, Business, or Education. You will even find guidance in Residential Life, where students and faculty work together to find the best clubs and organizations for your taste. Lastly, OVU’s Fighting Scots furnish numerous opportunities for athletes and spectators alike at this small private college.

Net Price: $15,226/yr
Student Body: 451

64. Silver Lake College

Manitowoc, Wisconsin


Silver Lake College of the Holy Family works hard to maintain its reputation as one of the best small Catholic colleges in the region. Strongly faith-centered and integrally based in the Franciscan Catholic tradition, SLC prepares students for the career of their choosing while also developing them as strong moral thinkers. Academics include associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate level studies in subjects such as Art Education, Human Resources Management, and Early Childhood Education. Co-ed athletic teams include everything from golf to volleyball to dance, and an event calendar full of concerts, art exhibits, festivals, and liturgies provide activities for students from all walks of life.

Net Price: $15,189/yr
Student Body: 679

63. Castleton State College

Castleton, Vermont


Castleton State College simply screams “Vermont,” thanks to its scenic campus that reflects the state’s natural beauty and a robust Green Campus Initiative that supports popular eco-friendly thinking. Students can even use green energy charging ports around campus for their mobile devices! This environmentalism is just one outlet for CSC’s passionate interest in service and compassionate thinking; Castleton also supports a Civic Engagement Program that helps students give back to the surrounding community. Students who agree that CSC is one of the top small colleges in Vermont cite more than two dozen varsity sports, Student Government associations, intramural leagues, and on-campus cultural events as some of the best ways to get involved on campus. What’s more, the on-campus Casella Theater hosts myriad artistic events throughout the year in support of “Arts Reach,” a program that allows local school children to see the performances free of charge.

Net Price: $15,161/yr
Student Body: 2,175

62. Thomas University

Thomasville, Georgia


If you are simply looking for a quick, easy trip through college as a way to earn a credential, this small public college is not for you. Rather, Thomas University promises an education that will “Engages, Empowers, and Transforms.” Students who choose TU have their choice of more than 40 life-changing majors, from Environmental Studies to Visual Arts to Social Work. In order to maximize its accessibility, the school offers a significant number of hybrid and online courses. However, students who attend class on campus won’t feel cheated of a traditional college experience. Study abroad trips, academic student organizations and honors societies, and “Arts for the Community” events ensure that Thomas University is always full of busy, passionate students.

Net Price: $14,992/yr
Student Body: 1,090

61. Peirce College

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Touted as the premier school for working adults, Peirce College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is perfect for those students who want an education but need it to revolve around their lifestyle, not the other way around. For more than 150 years, Peirce has provided quality education to students in fields such as Paralegal Studies, Business Administration, and Criminal Justice. Student organizations, such as Lambda Epsilon Chi, provide the opportunity for excellence outside of the classroom. And while there are no athletic teams or campus pride activities, Peirce appeals to a different type of student – one who seeks both traditional and online courses as well as flexible scheduling. And as one of the most affordable colleges in the U.S., Peirce’s tuition is a selling point for all!

Net Price: $14,903/yr
Student Body: 1,796

60. Tennessee Temple University

Chattanooga, Tennessee


Tennessee Temple University, one of the most affordable colleges in Tennessee, prides itself on offering a college education that is both affordable and Christ-centered. A traditional liberal arts college, Tennessee Temple elevates Baptist faith as the cornerstone upon which its curriculum thrives. The seminary program offers training for students who wish to become pastors, missionaries, or Christian educators, while majors in Communication, Psychology, History, and Business provide exceptional training for secular career paths. Ministry teams dominate student life activities and include both a traditional choir and a campus worship band.

Net Price: $14,876/yr
Student Body: 1,010

59. Ursuline College

Pepper Pike, Ohio


Ursuline College supports a mantra of “Values, Voice, and Vision,” and encourages students to incorporate faith and integrity in their pursuit of self-growth. UC more than earns its label as a traditional liberal arts college, offering a family-like environment and supportive classrooms for the intellectually curious. Mentorship takes on new meaning at Ursuline; programs like “UCoach” help students develop a “personal success plan,” while the “First Year to Career” will let you participate in mini internships before committing to a major. And while UC certainly deserves recognition as one of the most affordable colleges in the U.S., there are plenty of other features that make this school “Uniquely Ursuline.” The primarily women’s college places a premium on community service, empowerment, and social justice as a way to prepare the country’s next generation of successful leaders.

Net Price: $14,815/yr
Student Body: 1,357

58. Hilbert College

Hamburg, New York


Hilbert is a small Catholic college located just outside Buffalo, New York with viable options for commuters and on-campus students alike. In fact, Hilbert offers the best of both worlds in more ways than one; students can enjoy a secluded campus while still being only minutes away from the heart of the city. Moreover, Hilbert is one of the most affordable private colleges in New York. And if you attend Hilbert, can expect a strong emphasis on campus participation and community service, as well as benefit from plenty of personal attention. In fact, the student-to-teacher ratio is just 13:1!

Net Price: $14,778/yr
Student Body: 1,070

57. State University of New York at Cobleskill

Cobleskill, New York


Founded in 1911, SUNY at Cobleskill is a hot destination for students interested in an agricultural-related field. Fittingly, Cobleskill sits on a spacious 905-acre campus a half hour west of Schenectady. For a small public college, Cobleskill is a force to be reckoned with: bragging points include three Fulbright scholars, 50 student organizations (including many with an agricultural bent, such as Trout Unlimited and the Society of Agricultural Engineering), and tremendous facilities – including an ultra-modern agricultural complex that houses a newly-built equestrian center and the largest student-run, cold-water hatchery in the region. For students hailing from a military background, G.I. Jobs named Cobleskill one of their top “military friendly” colleges.

Net Price: $14,608/yr
Student Body: 2,453

56. Lincoln Memorial University

Harrogate, Tennessee


Few schools have the compelling founding story of Lincoln Memorial University. The university is, as the name suggests, a living legacy to Abraham Lincoln. The nation’s 16th president envisioned “a great university for the people” of eastern Tennessee as a way of thanking them for their support in the Civil War. LMU, one of the most affordable colleges in the U.S., sits on a 1,000-acre campus in Harrogate, Tennessee in the rural core of the Appalachian Mountains. Classmates at this “values-based” institution of higher learning can expect plenty of one-on-one time with professors in classes that average just 14 students.

Net Price: $14,576/yr
Student Body: 3,952

55. William Carey University

Hattiesburg, Mississippi


William Carey University is undoubtedly one of the best small colleges in Mississippi. The school promotes a Christian learning environment, informed by deep roots in a Baptist background. WCU’s primary campus is located in the small city of Hattiesburg, home to about 50,000 people and a lot of campus pride! Further south, you can take classes on campus in Tradition, a new construction that replaced buildings heavily damaged after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Although course options are abundant, as a student at William Carey you will also enjoy strong Greek life and many extracurricular groups, including rugby, jujitsu, art club, and a number of choral groups.

Net Price: $14,536/yr
Student Body: 3,882

54. Principia College

Elsa, Illinois


Don’t be fooled by the extremely small size of this school; Principia’s reputation attracts students from a surprising number of locations around the world—37 states and 33 countries, to be exact. While the school is not affiliated with the Christian Science Church, your experience at Principia will nonetheless be grounded in the foundations of Christian Science. The school’s founder started teaching classes to her two sons in 1897, and just a year later 15 more students joined the Principia family. Today, Principia is one of the top small colleges anywhere in the eastern United States, offering an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1 and an average class size of 11 students. And although Elsa offers a safe haven for students used to quiet living, a mere 45 minute drive will bring them within reach of all the big city action of St. Louis.

Net Price: $14,486/yr
Student Body: 508

Virginia University of Lynchburg Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

53. Virginia University of Lynchburg

Lynchburg, Virginia


Originally, Virginia University of Lynchburg opened their doors as Lynchburg Baptist Seminary in 1890, establishing self-reliance as the school’s guiding virtue. Over a hundred years later, the school stands by its original (albeit evolved) values, carrying on with a motto of “self-help and interdependence.” Despite the name change, VUL is still primarily intended for students who seek training to become spiritually attuned leaders with a career in ministry. But regardless of vocational calling, VUL is a solid option for students whose top concern is college affordability. Furthermore, distance learning is available for those unable to regularly commute to campus.

Net Price: $14,374/yr
Student Body: 582

52. University of Montevallo

Montevallo, Alabama


The University of Montevallo shares its historic roots with some pretty iconic American landmarks; the Olmstead Brothers – the same architects responsible for the design of Central Park – drew up the university’s original plans in the late 1890s. Today, Montevallo has a large network of 21,000 alumni across Alabama and the country, proving that UM has consistently attracted loyal students to its campus for more than a century. Not only is Montevallo one of the top affordable colleges in the region, but the academics are also extremely impressive. Among their faculty, 95% hold a doctoral or other terminal degree in their field, ensuring that you will receive high caliber instruction regardless of which of the 75 different degree options you choose. Although diverse in its pedagogy, Montevallo prides itself on traditional liberal arts education and training students in responsible citizenry.

Net Price: $14,370/yr
Student Body: 3,062

51. Briarcliffe College

Bethpage, New York


Founded in 1966, Briarcliffe sits on New York City’s doorstep on the western end of Long Island. This intelligent real estate choice helps BC keep its costs low while still giving students access to the incredible (and expensive) city just an hour away. In addition to on-site programs, the school caters to students with busy schedules by offering online programs as well as flexible scheduling. This makes Briarcliffe a smart choice for career-driven students of all ages and backgrounds, and the esteemed career services department will help students find their dream jobs even after graduating. Without a doubt, Briarcliffe is one of the most affordable small colleges in New York, and the college enhances its value through an emphasis on one-on-one interaction, strong mentorship, and individualized learning.

Net Price: $14,341/yr
Student Body: 1,886

50. Carson Newman College

Jefferson City, Tennessee


Thirty minutes from both Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a prettier place to go to school than Carson Newman College. CNC stands out among the top private colleges in the region for its affordability; a range of over 50 majors; study abroad opportunities in Africa, Asia, and Europe; and a comfortable average class size of just 15 students. Like many of the country’s other small private colleges, CNC builds its academic foundations on traditional Christian perspectives. That being said, CNC won’t limit you to religious classes or campus ministry – students are constantly engaged through more than 70 student groups on campus.

Net Price: $14,312/yr
Student Body: 2,045

49. Paine College

Augusta, Georgia


Paine College, like a number of others on this list of the best small colleges east of the Mississippi, offers students a chance to excel academically while providing spiritual mentorship. Affiliated with the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church, Paine is an HBCU in Augusta, Georgia near the scenic banks of the Savannah River. Among the students who attend school here a whopping 95% receive financial aid, which helps squelch its net price to less than $15k annually. And despite its traditional roots, Paine has taken great pains (no pun intended) to be an innovator in education. Rather than offer traditional semesters, the college splits its classes into six yearly segments – two each in the fall and spring, one in the summer, and a particularly unique “Maymester” for elective coursework.

Net Price: $14,234/yr
Student Body: 924

48. Campbellsville University

Campbellsville, Kentucky


How do you define “rural” living? Distance from the nearest Starbucks? From the nearest Apple Store? Campbellsville University lies deep in rural Kentucky, taking students more than a quick drive from the chain stores that are so ubiquitous elsewhere. While it’s certainly not for everyone, students who want enjoy quietude, communing with nature, and devoted study won’t find a better option than this Christian school. You will find plenty of chances to explore the great outdoors, including 10,000 acres of state park at Green River Lake just five minutes from campus and a 262-acre woodland owned by the school for environmental research. The school’s extensive list of programs secures its place among the top small colleges in the nation, with degrees available in such diverse fields as Early Childhood Education, Sports Management, Economic, Pre-Veterinary Science, and Pre-Optometry.

Net Price: $14,187/yr
Student Body: 3,520

47. Rochester College

Rochester Hills, Michigan


A half hour north of Detroit, Rochester College puts you in the middle of a bustling metropolitan with immediate access to fun neighborhoods, great dining, and lots of activities to choose from on the weekend. The Church of Christ originally founded the school in 1954 as Michigan Christian College, but by the early 90’s the school transitioned in both name and structure to Rochester College. Today, the school remains true to its heritage by embracing a “values-based” approach to higher education while seeking to serve a wider swath of the population. And if you’re interested in sports as much as academics, fear not: the school fields teams in basketball, bowling, baseball, and more, all while being one of the most affordable private schools in Michigan.

Net Price: $14,068/yr
Student Body: 1,129

46. SUNY Alfred State College

Alfred, New York


SUNY Alfred State is an excellent choice for students concerned about college affordability—even if you’re not from New York, as Alfred offers competitive tuition rates for out-of-state students. As far as location is concerned, the college dominates its tiny eponymous hometown, although the major city of Rochester is just an hour and a half away. The school specializes in sustainability programs in agriculture, construction, and energy and offers almost 20 different undergraduate majors, as well as a whopping 50 associate’s programs from which you can choose. Competitive tuition rates, over 100 student organizations, and strong academic programs make Alfred a fixture among top public colleges in the region.

Net Price: $13,967/yr
Student Body: 3,555

45. Trocaire College

Buffalo, New York


Although Trocaire originally opened as a women’s only school, it has since opened its doors to male students and today is a vibrant, multi-dimensional coeducational Catholic college which continues to operate in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters of Mercy founded Trocaire as Sancta Maria College, a training ground for those within the order. The College gained distinction early on in the field of Nursing and Health Science education. Today, Trocaire’s mission is to create a community of learning in which students are empowered to discover themselves and gain access to professions in their chosen field. Offering degrees in healthcare, business and technology related programs, the College tends to serve a slightly older-than-usual crowd (the average new student is 27 years old) and provides small class sizes for personalized attention. And if college affordability is on the top of your mind, you’ll be glad to know that as many as 97% of students obtain financial assistance from year to year.

Net Price: $13,943/yr
Student Body: 1,492

44. Bryn Athyn College of the New Church

Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania


Bryn Athyn redefines the term “small college” with less than 300 students, a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, and an average class size of 15. Despite a campus size that even many high schools dwarf, Bryn Athyn still manages to support several athletic teams – including men’s hockey, men and women’s basketball, cross country, and lacrosse. In the classroom, professors encourage students to think for themselves while simultaneously thinking of others. “Making a difference” and community service are crucial aspects to an education at Bryn Athyn, and the curriculum works to revive the lost motive of learning for purpose rather than a paycheck. The school’s low tuition to start and generous aid programs (98% of students received financial assistance) make it one of the most affordable colleges in Pennsylvania.

Net Price: $13,887/yr
Student Body: 278

43. Lander University

Greenwood, South Carolina


Lander University differentiates itself by offering some pretty unique selling points; as 70% of the student body is female, potential male applicants will enjoy their odds! But despite this “fun fact,” you should know that this small liberal arts school in western South Carolina is seriously committed to serious academics. It has poured substantial resources into its expansion over the past several years and recently implemented a 10-year “master plan” for the campus to accommodate even more growth. Pre-professional programs are available in business, nursing, and education, and regularly attract students from 30 different states and 20 countries. But Lander’s academic breadth is not the only reason students attend – as the most affordable colleges in the U.S., the university’s minuscule financial burden makes it hard to pass up.

Net Price: $13,847/yr
Student Body: 2,877

42. Johnson State College

Johnson, Vermont


On our list of top affordable colleges, Johnson State College stands out for a few pretty unusual reasons. First, Montreal is the nearest large city, providing a unique appeal to students with the international travel bug. Second, winter sports enthusiasts can rejoice knowing that JSC has easy access to six ski resorts. But don’t forget to pack your books –in fact you wouldn’t want to skip class anyway! JSC seeks to foster a supportive atmosphere in the classroom that puts priority on you, the individual. Johnson State looks for plenty of ways to help you grow as an intellectual and as a person, offering plenty of community-based, real-world experiences to help you connect to your future career field.

Net Price: $13,775/yr
Student Body: 1,692

41. Fort Valley State University

Fort Valley, Georgia


Fort Valley State University is one of two land-grant schools in Georgia, one of three public HBCUs statewide, and one of the most affordable small colleges in Georgia. FVSU is located a half hour southwest of Macon, but you don’t have to be on campus to attend class. Online options are available for students who are limited by distance or schedule, making popular undergraduate programs in Veterinary Technology, Early Childhood Education, Agricultural Economics, and Psychology accessible to all. For athletes, the school is an NCAA Division II member with teams including tennis, basketball, track & field, and volleyball.

Net Price: $13,741/yr
Student Body: 3,180

40. Mount Mary University

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Mount Mary University is a small Catholic college in the city of Milwaukee, minutes away from the Lake Michigan shoreline. Despite its affiliation with the Catholic Church, students from all religious background are welcome. But there are some limitations (sorry, men). Mount Mary is a women’s college—and one of the top-ranked women’s colleges in the country at that. The school boasts a particularly strong health care program and has a reputation for high-level of participation in study abroad activities. In fact, 20% of Mount Mary students take advantage of travel opportunities during their time at the school. But rest assured that they go abroad for the experience rather than the escape; students have a great time on campus thanks to small class sizes, personal tutoring, campus ministry, and even daycare options for families.

Net Price: $13,711/yr
Student Body: 1,481

39. Penn State University Regional Campuses

University Park, Pennsylvania


Penn State University is another example of an affordable college choice that doesn’t seem small at first glance. And truth be told, Penn State’s main campus at University Park hosts more than 40,000 students each year. But if you’re looking for an intimate campus environment with big time connections, you might consider one of Penn State’s regional campuses. Several satellite locations – including Abington, Lehigh Valley, Fayette Eberly, Brandywine, Scranton, Wilkes Barre, York, Dubois, and New Kensington – all offer the net price and student enrollment numbers to qualify for this list. And since every campus is in Pennsylvania, local students can pick whatever campus they want to meet their schedule and academic interests.

Net Price: $13,703/yr
Student Body: 952

Miami University of Ohio Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

38. Miami University Regional Campuses

Oxford, Ohio


Jumpstart your future by getting an affordable education at Miami University in Ohio, a school that is widely considered one of eight “Public Ivy’s.” And while the main campus in Oxford actually supports more than 15,000 students at a time, the school’s regional locations in Hamilton and Middleton condense big-time resources to a much more comfortable scale. These small public college campuses provide big opportunities, and in fact Miami University is ranked first among public colleges for its commitment to undergraduate teaching by U.S. News. MU uses small class sizes and a low student-faculty ratio to provide a personalized education for students that makes a difference in their lives. In addition to more than 120 undergraduate degree programs and 60 graduate programs, MU features an Honors Program, study abroad courses, and undergraduate research opportunities.

Net Price: $13,653/yr
Student Body: 2,921

37. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

North Adams, Massachusetts


MCLA is one of the top affordable colleges in Massachusetts, offering a comprehensive liberal arts education in over 50 concentrations, undergraduate research opportunities, and more, for a low price. With 17 million dollars in financial aid distributed annually, this small college is dedicated to making education accessible to all. Students can pursue academic topics like sociology and biology, or pursue pre-professional programs like business administration and athletics training all in the same intimate educational environment. The college town of North Adams also features a robust arts community, with gallery openings and performances held regularly just off-campus.

Net Price: $13,600/yr
Student Body: 1,716

Villa Maria College of Buffalo Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

36. Villa Maria College of Buffalo

Buffalo, New York


Sponsored by Our Lady of Hope Province of North America, Villa Maria College of Buffalo is a small Catholic college that educates students through its core tenants: value, clarity, and unity. Volunteerism is also a cornerstone of the education at VUA, where undergraduate students are required to complete at least 50 hours of community service in order to graduate (associate degrees require only 25). Students select from 15 courses of study in the arts, sciences and business, including animation, fashion design, photography, and natural science. Within the Diocese of Buffalo, VMC offers students all the resources of the church and the city to bring them a world-class education.

Net Price: $13,521/yr
Student Body: 465

35. Lyndon State College

Lyndonville, Vermont


Lyndon State College is a small public college that brings all of the freedom and friendliness of the Green State onto one campus. Personalized degree programs in electronic journalism, atmospheric sciences, film studies, and more allow students to explore their unique interests in a community that thrives on curiosity and wonder. Students can also explore the majesty of Vermont’s green mountainsides, opting for outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and mountain biking around the year. Plus, with a green campus complete with LEED Gold Certification, solar energy, recycling and composting, LSC helps protect and give back to the ecology they call their home.

Net Price: $13,469/yr
Student Body: 1,519

34. Martin Methodist College

Pulaski, Tennessee


Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Martin Methodist College is one of the best small colleges in Tennessee. MMC’s low tuition, small classes sizes, and an intimate campus make it an attractive choice for students of faith looking for a unique education. Through church leadership and robust academic offerings, students can pursue a variety of biblical and secular opportunities. Worship opportunities abound through regular church services on campus, student prayer groups, and community service opportunities. And with over 30 academic degree programs available for undergraduates in topics like Business, Education, and Nursing, MMC provides the key to success in a range of promising careers.

Net Price: $13,451/yr
Student Body: 1,144

Blackburn College Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

33. Blackburn College

Carlinville, Illinois


“Learn, Work, and Earn” are the three presiding values at this Midwestern work college, one of only seven in the U.S. The only such work college that is actually student-managed, Blackburn provides its students with the opportunity to develop marketable, profitable professional skills will simultaneously financing their world-class studies. From information technology positions to faculty assistance and food service, students provide meaningful roles in the campus community and even get an opportunity to put their academic knowledge to work. Blackburn students can also select from over 40 majors and concentrations that will give them the credentials they need to top off their résumés.

Net Price: $13,336/yr
Student Body: 543

32. Alcorn State University

Lorman, Mississippi


Known for the Braves, its NCAA Division I men’s football team, Alcorn State is also one of the best small colleges in Mississippi with a big heart. ASU is a historically black college with a long history of providing meaningful opportunities and educational resources for men and women of color. Over 40 student clubs and organizations, ranging from student government and journalism to radio stations and theater and religious groups, allow classmates to make friends and pursue their personal interests right alongside their academic pursuits. And with 20 degree programs in topics like Accounting, Agricultural Science, and Fine Arts, an education from ASU can be a gateway into the career you deserve.

Net Price: $13,319/yr
Student Body: 3,848

Urbana University Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

31. Urbana University

Urbana, Ohio


Urbana University is the quintessential Midwestern liberal arts college: set on a tranquil, 128-acre campus in west Ohio, Urbana is home to a cozy campus of 1,500 students who seek a fun but rigorous education. Urbana was also among the first colleges in the Midwest to admit women, after Oberlin. And like Oberlin, Urbana unites students in their curiosity rather than their fields of study, offering dozens of degree programs in addition to a liberal core curriculum. Entrepreneurial Management, Family Studies, and Self-Design are just some of the unique concentrations that make Urbana so attractive to students with diverse interests. a

Net Price: $13,239/yr
Student Body: 1,748

30. Medaille College

Buffalo, New York


“College meets career” at Medaille College, where the cornerstone of the curriculum is instruction that is simultaneously experiential, practical, and experimental. Whether you choose to pursue Veterinary Science or Television Broadcasting, Medaille guarantees that its students will graduate with hands-on experience in their field, making career success all but a guarantee. In addition, the surrounding city of Buffalo provides ample career and internship opportunities for students in any department. And with dozens of majors within over fifteen different schools and disciplines, students won’t have a hard time finding what they are looking for at this top small college.

Net Price: $13,057/yr
Student Body: 2,390

Marygrove College Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

29. Marygrove College

Detroit, Michigan


Sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Marygrove College is one of the best small Catholic colleges in Michigan. Marygrove began as a women’s college in 1899 and has since expanded to make strong liberal education available to students from all walks of life. A campus of just 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students makes Marygrove an intimate academic environment where students can pursue their studies in the long tradition of Western tutelage and scholarship. Marygrove offers 31 undergraduate degree programs in a multiplicity of unique fields, from Gerontology (the study of aging) to Computer Graphics.

Net Price: $12,867/yr
Student Body: 1,960

28. Grace Bible College

Wyoming, Michigan


Grace Bible College is a fundamentalist school in Wyoming, Michigan, that is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Affiliated with the Grace Gospel Fellowship, Grace offers ample opportunities for religious study and spiritual development, with degree programs in Intercultural, Youth, and Women’s Ministry, as well as Worship Arts. Students can also pursue careers in the private sector after completing academic and pre-professional coursework in Nursing, Education, Sociology, or other essential topics. In terms of college affordability, Grace balances price and value in a community founded on integrity and faith.

Net Price: $12,733/yr
Student Body: 579

27. Brescia University

Ownesboro, Kentucky


Brescia University is one of the most affordable private colleges in Kentucky for Catholic students. This liberal arts college offers personalized, student-centered education, with small class sizes and experiential coursework and internships. Students can pursue a wide variety of majors and concentrations, from Biochemistry and Business to Theology and Social Work. Brescia also has a Student Activities Program Board (SAPB) that brings notable events to campus – including bringing other Catholic universities together to develop conferences and festivals. With a low tuition and high academic standards, Brescia makes a great spiritual and professional education available to all.

Net Price: $12,399/yr
Student Body: 949

Maria College of Albany Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

26. Maria College of Albany

Albany, New York


One of the most affordable colleges in the U.S., Maria College is a great place to launch your career. Recent reports from Maria reveal that 96% of their graduates have either used their degrees to find careers in their field or to pursue further education elsewhere. Maria is particularly renowned for its Health Science programs, which are the most competitive in the school. Students can also pursue promising degrees in Healthcare Administration, Psychology, and Residential Nursing. Founded by the Religious Sisters of Mercy in 1958, Maria brings Catholic values of passion, integrity, scholarship, and community to bear on the personalized education of every student.

Net Price: $12,340/yr
Student Body: 880

25. Edward Waters College

Jacksonville, Florida


Affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Edward Waters College is the oldest historically black college in Florida, serving the black community of faith for nearly 150 years. Both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) offer full course accreditation to the college, promising a challenging and credible experience no matter what degree you choose. Speaking of degrees, you can pick a major in one of eight career-forward programs, including biology, education, and communications. And with ample academic resources like tutoring, faculty advising, and counseling, EWC is committed to the success of every individual student.

Net Price: $12,188/yr
Student Body: 862

24. Cleary University

Howell, Michigan

Cleary University is in the business of making decision-makers. This business college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Financial Planning, Entrepreneurship, Health Resource Management, and more. Thanks to small classes, you’ll have a front row seat to lectures led by real decision-makers in the business world. These professors have the education and experience to provide valuable insights and meaningful mentorship – benefits you certainly won’t miss out on when surrounded by just 500 or so other students. And with associate, terminal, and international programs, Cleary is perfect for high school, traditional, transfer, and adult students alike. Furthermore, low tuition and flexible online coursework make Cleary a top small college for students with a future in business.

Net Price: $11,966/yr
Student Body: 546

23. Georgia Southwestern State University

Americus, Georgia


Offering a full range of bachelor’s programs at one of the lowest net costs in the country, Georgia Southwestern State University is one of the top affordable colleges on this list. Students develop as humans and professionals on this thriving campus in pastoral Georgia. They can also pursue their own academic interests in more than fifteen degree programs, including Music, Computer Science, Chemistry, and Woman’s Studies. Student amenities on campus are enormous, with writing and fitness centers, student government opportunities, Division II athletics, and Greek Life all on a small campus of just 3,000 students.

Net Price: $11,774/yr
Student Body: 2,806

22. LeMoyne Owen College

Memphis, Tennessee


Affiliated with the United Church of Christ, LeMoyne Owen College is a historically black college with strong ties to communities of faith in Memphis and beyond. LOC offers undergraduate degree programs in over 23 different majors and concentrations, in addition to minor and degree completion programs. Students can choose from courses of study such as Information Technology, Geography, Criminal Justice, and Business Administration. And with financial aid services that provide grants, scholarships, and federal work-study, LOC makes getting a degree at one of the most affordable colleges in the U.S. even more affordable.

Net Price: $11,709/yr
Student Body: 1,023

Christian Brothers University Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

21. Christian Brothers University

Memphis, Tennessee


At Christian Brothers University, students of faith can find a spiritual and academic resource tucked away in a 75-acre wooded campus in midtown Memphis, Tennessee. The oldest collegiate degree-granting institution in the city, CBU has a reputation for delivering a strong Catholic education since it was founded in 1871. Students can pursue personalized courses of study in fields like Accounting, Applied Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, and Marketing to develop their skills and imagination. And if you’re not already convinced, in 2010 Princeton Review named this small Catholic college one of the best in the Southeast.

Net Price: $11,679/yr
Student Body: 1,577

20. Calumet College of St. Joseph

Whiting, Indiana


Calumet College of St. Joseph represents a top small private college for its ability to offer a practical, experiential, and varied education for a competitive price. Affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church through the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, CCSJ also offers robust spiritual resources as well as undergraduate degree programs in unique programs such as Forensic Biotechnology, Digital and Studio Arts, and Human Services. But no matter what topic you choose to study, you’ll participate in hands-on learning, from challenging internships to faculty-led research to travel abroad programs. Robust career services and other academic resources round out students’ experiences, promising a comprehensive education that will easily translate to success on the job market.

Net Price: $11,644/yr
Student Body: 1,140

Kentucky State University Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

19. Kentucky State University

Frankfort, Kentucky


Kentucky State University is one of the best small colleges in the state, offering a wide range of degree programs, career and academic support, and other student amenities for an easily accessible price. Students can prepare for careers in a variety of academic, public, and private careers, thanks to degree programs that cover everything from Mass Communications and Applied Mathematics to Music Education and Chemistry. KSU also offers graduate studies, adult education, and dual enrollment options to accommodate professionals’ and parents’ schedules. And with engaging student organizations that will have you running down the court one day and campaigning for student government the next, you can learn to take charge in your community and become a leader in your career.

Net Price: $11,635/yr
Student Body: 2,533

18. Trinity Baptist College

Jacksonville, Florida


Trinity Baptist is an affordable private college in Florida that has established a mission to “prepare Christian men and women for life and ministry.” TBC doesn’t see these two avenues – life and ministry – as separate entities, but rather combines them in an attempt to guide students toward ethical, purposeful living. Academic options lean heavily on religious majors, such as Christian Counseling, Pastoral Theology, and Youth Ministry, but students can choose from secular options in Business and Education as well. Outside of the classroom, you will have plenty of opportunities to join campus ministry or participate in a spiritual community service trip, explore downtown Jacksonville or even head to the beach!

Net Price: $11,606/yr
Student Body: 323

17. University of Wisconsin at Superior

Superior, Wisconsin


Like some of the other large state universities we have mentioned, the University of Wisconsin is typically associated with crowded sporting events, crammed lecture halls, and an almost overwhelming student population. But one regional location in particular – Superior – takes the best features of UW’s main campus and translates them onto a smaller, cheaper stage. Superior is not only one of the most affordable colleges in the U.S.; it’s also a reputable liberal arts school with high caliber academic options. Its connection to such an expansive public system means it has the resources to offer some truly unique degree choices, including Applied Geographic Information Systems, Broad Field Social Studies, Forensic Chemistry, First Nations Studies, Health and Human Performance, and Sustainable Management.

Net Price: $11,565/yr
Student Body: 2,661

Tennessee Wesleyan College Affordable Colleges East of the Mississippi

16. Tennessee Wesleyan College

Athens, Tennessee


Behind every great college is a great approach to learning – after all, it takes a passionate group to tackle the task of educating the next generation of leaders. Tennessee Wesleyan College sees this job as an exciting challenge, and it has partnered with the United Methodist Church to offer students a rich community of learning in cozy Athens. The campus is just 40 acres and houses a mere 1,000 students, but the tight-knit atmosphere allows classmates to acquire not just knowledge, but values, friendships, and memories over their four years at TWC. And besides – Knoxville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Nashville all provide experiential, real-world opportunities within driving distance of campus.

Net Price: $11,349/yr
Student Body: 1,084

15. University of South Carolina at Aiken

Aiken, South Carolina


The University of South Carolina at Aiken has a reputation for recognition – over the past several years, this small public college has earned awards from U.S. News, Military Advanced Education, Military Times, and other top publications for its top academic service. USC is a particular favorite among military members, who flock to South Carolina for this university’s supportive resources and steep tuition discounts. To start your studies at Aiken, you can pick a discipline in Biology, Business, Communications, or nearly 20 other undergraduate options – most of which incorporate additional concentrations within their program. Add to that five pre-professional courses; research opportunities in the physical sciences, behavioral science, and education; and scientific seminars, and it’s easy to see why USC Aiken is a smart choice for smart students.

Net Price: $11,300/yr
Student Body: 3,299

14. University of North Carolina at Asheville

Asheville, North Carolina


When most people think of UNC, they picture the university’s primary campus at Chapel Hill. But what some don’t realize is that the system’s regional campuses – such as the Asheville location – offer the same big time academics and opportunities at a seriously reduced price. UNC Asheville’s net price is a mere $11k annually, and its combination of low cost and high quality makes it one of the best small colleges in the country. The academic programs incorporate a strong liberal core and robust service learning opportunities, as well as research experiences, internships, and international travel. That being said, Asheville doesn’t skimp on the basics – majors include Accounting, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, and Spanish, as well as less common choices in Health and Wellness Promotion and Contemporary Music.

Net Price: $11,263/yr
Student Body: 3,784

13. Central State University

Wilberforce, Ohio


Central State University claims numerous superlatives, including being one of the oldest Black-administered colleges in the nation. Of course it is also one of the most affordable small colleges in Ohio, thanks to abundant scholarship options that variously cater to upperclassmen, STEM majors, freshmen and transfers, high-performing high school graduates, band members, and performing arts scholars – some even offer a full ride! Academic options at CSU are comprehensive to say the least; potential majors include Jazz Studies, Philosophy and Religion, Gerontology, Industrial Technology, Water Resources Management, and many more unique subjects. CSU also supports students’ academic endeavors through “support programs” such a the Institute of Urban Education, the Ohio Minority Health Institute, and the National Environmental Technology Incubator.

Net Price: $11,199/yr
Student Body: 2,068

12. Alice Lloyd College

Pippa Passas, Kentucky


If you’re looking for one of the most affordable colleges in the U.S., you can’t go wrong with Alice Lloyd. Catering primarily to students in the surrounding Appalachian region, ALC goes beyond expectations by guaranteeing tuition costs for all its students. In other words, if you can’t afford a college education, Alice Lloyd will pay your bills for you. The best and brightest from rural Kentucky choose this school not only for its affordability, but also for its brilliant professors and reputable programs. Academics emphasize liberal arts and span every major area of study, including Business, Fitness, Nursing, Biology, Teaching, and English.

Net Price: $11,036/yr
Student Body: 631

11. University of Virginia College at Wise

Wise, Virginia


When it comes to both college affordability and value, the University of Virginia College at Wise is an important mention. This four-year college is one of the top public liberal arts institutions in the region, offering an impressive selection of academics, research opportunities, and experiential learning. Students flock from all over the country to the lush countryside of Southwest Virginia and COW’s unbeatable campus facilities. From the $8 million Wellness Center to the expansive Carl Smith Stadium, this university offers nothing but the best to its students. And on the academic side, you’ll have the opportunity to combine one of 30 different majors with the Peake Honors Program, international study, or undergraduate symposiums.

Net Price: $10,914/yr
Student Body: 2,291

10. Concord University

Athens, West Virginia


No matter what your interest, Concord University can provide the right career path for you. With more than seven different levels of degree and four separate academic accreditations, CU offers a variety uncharacteristic of such a small school. Not only does U.S. News rank Concord one of the best colleges in the South, but the university has also been labeled one of the most “cost conscious.” Touting one of the lowest student loan debt rates in the region, Concord is undoubtedly one of the most affordable colleges in West Virginia. And for such a low price, CU doesn’t skimp on options: course selections cover Business, Education, the Fine Arts, Mathematics, Health, the Physical Sciences, and much more.

Net Price: $10,275/yr
Student Body: 2,767

9. Mississippi Valley State University

Itta Bena, Mississippi


College life should be about more than just coursework, and MVSU supports this assertion with what it calls a “Valley of Growth.” The university employs professional counselors who work with students to develop their interests, aptitudes, and values, pushing them to explore life outside the classroom as much as in it. Between more than a dozen athletic teams, religious activities, and the student-run “Delta Delta Gazette,” it’s hard to be bored during homework breaks. Speaking of homework, it won’t seem like a chore when you’re studying one of your favorite subjects, whether it’s Electronic Technology, Environmental Health, Music Education, or Painting.

Net Price: $9,807/yr
Student Body: 2,203

8. Mississippi University for Women

Columbus, Mississippi


Don’t be misled by this university’s somewhat exclusive name: Mississippi University for Women provides a top-notch education to both men and women. “The W,” as it is sometimes called, claims an impressive list of accolades from such publications as U.S. News and Washington Monthly because of its comfortable class sizes, low tuition, and expert professors. In fact, MUW even counts a Pulitzer Prize-winning author among its faculty! Students tend share a laid-back attitude and intellectual curiosity that fuels their interest in Food Journalism, Speech-Language Pathology, Graphic Design, Wellness, or one of this top small private college’s many other unique programs.

Net Price: $9,766/yr
Student Body: 2,629

7. University of Maine at Machias

Machias, Maine


It’s not often that a traditional state university would fall under the umbrella of small colleges, but the University of Maine at Machias is an important exception. This top affordable college sits in a coastal town of just 2,500 people and boasts nearly 250 acres of trees, greenery, and energy-conserving residence halls. Although a liberal arts college, UMM focuses on “environmental liberal arts” and requires all students to take core courses in sustainability and natural resources. Furthermore, the majority of the college’s majors focus on environmentalism, including Wildlife Biology, Business Sustainability, Environmental Literacy Education, and Conservation Law.

Net Price: $9,727/yr
Student Body: 892

6. Coppin State University

Baltimore, Maryland


As an urban, liberal arts university, Coppin State perfectly blends in with the surrounding Baltimore metropolis. While small, CSU still manages to cram nearly 60 different degree options into its repertoire, with subjects ranging from the Humanities to the Natural Sciences to Allied Health. You even have options in Sport and Entertainment Management and Rehabilitation Counseling, which offer an ideal mix of traditional coursework and technical career training. Coppin State also encourages students to get involved on campus, and events like Homecoming offer a unique opportunity to express your school spirit.

Net Price: $9,667/yr
Student Body: 3,383

5. Blue Mountain College

Blue Mountain, Mississippi


When it comes to the most affordable colleges in the U.S., Blue Mountain College is worth more than a quick mention. This religious school emphasizes Christian character development not just as a goal, but also as a means through which students achieve academic excellence, creativity, and integrity. While students can major in spiritually focused programs like Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry, BMC also offers a plethora of other subjects, from Elementary Education to Exercise Science. Blue Mountain College also encourages students – introverts and extroverts alike – to get involved outside of the classroom, and offers athletic clubs, student interest organizations, and ministerial associations to suit every interest.

Net Price: $9,005/yr
Student Body: 532

4. West Virginia State University

Institute, West Virginia


WVSU offers a more intimate alternative to the state’s other primary public school, the University of West Virginia. The small campus lies just down the road from Charleston, West Virginia’s capital city, and within easy driving distance of five major cities in surrounding states. In addition to 22 undergraduate majors and 28 related minors, students at West Virginia State can also join the prestigious Honors Program and pursue internships in the surrounding area. And if you’re interested in research, this university has no shortage of opportunities; centers such as the Energy and Environmental Science Institute and Agricultural and Environmental Research Station offer exciting opportunities to curious undergrads.

Net Price: $7,910/yr
Student Body: 2,677

3. Chipola College

Marianna, Florida


“Start your journey to excellence” at Chipola, a small public college that is included in the larger Florida university system. Thought the school once only offered associate and certificate degrees, it has now grown to include several B.S. and B.A. options. Students can major in Teacher Education, Business Administration, or Nursing, and within the next few years are likely to see even more four-year programs materialize. CC also provides two-year and endorsement options in Athletic Coaching and Child Care. Although small, this college still manages to find space for plenty of fun activities on campus, from a Radio Webcast to aquatic courses at the nearby pool!

Net Price: $4,785/yr
Student Body: 2,160

2. Berea College

Berea, Kentucky


Affordable tuition won’t be the only highlight of your time at Berea College; this school has received praise from CNBC, The New York Times, the International Living Future Institute, and Charity Navigator for its high performance. From environmentally friendly buildings to unusual financial transparency, Berea more than earns its stripes as one of the best small colleges in America. Major options include African American Studies, Health and Human Performance, Physics, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Technology and Applied Design, and more than a dozen others. You also have the freedom to construct an independent major and participate in such programs as “Entrepreneurship for the Public Good,” which establishes leadership opportunities and commercial enterprises for students in nearby rural communities.

Net Price: $2,323/yr
Student Body: 1,623

1. Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City, North Carolina


Great Value Colleges isn’t the only source to recognize ECSU’s outstanding combination of quality and affordability. Washington Monthly also recognizes this top small college as a best “bang for its buck” institution. Elizabeth City State University is a constituent of the University of North Carolina, making it the perfect choice for students who want big time academics on a small time campus. Guided by the values of accountability, diversity, and excellence, ESCU has developed a strong curriculum that spans both undergraduate and graduate levels. Students who choose to attend this U.S. News top-ranked regional university can major in Physical Education, Computer Science, Economics, or Military Sciences, to name but a few. Elizabeth City also offers a unique “E-Mentoring Program” to help new students at this make the transition to this top affordable college in North Carolina.

Net Price: $1,993/yr
Student Body: 2,421

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