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30 Most Affordable Colleges and Universities Founded in Judaism

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Gabrielle Kratsas
April 2018

If you’re looking for a college experience grounded in Jewish religion and values, consider a yeshiva or one of the Judaism-affiliated colleges and universities that we’ve ranked below. Whether you’re interested in studying the Talmud, becoming a rabbi or earning a liberal arts degree in a religious environment, we’ve found a variety of Jewish schools that can meet your needs without emptying your pockets. Some will even allow you to study the Talmud online!

The yeshivas/yeshivot are most often all-male schools that lead to rabbinical ordination. They are usually small, private schools, as well as some of the cheapest colleges in New York! Some larger universities offer co-educational opportunities or women’s campuses.

To create this ranking, we sourced information from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Database, the individual school’s website and other college resource websites listed at the end of this article. We started with a list of more than 40 Jewish colleges and universities offering faith-based higher education. Affordability is our No. 1 goal, so we narrowed it down and ranked the 30 cheapest colleges via their reported net costs. Gratz College and Hebrew College did not report net price information to NCES, so we listed their per-credit costs.

30. Gratz College in Melrose Park, PA

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Gratz College is also recognized by the Ministry of Education and Culture of the State of Israel and is a partner of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Net Cost: Gratz College didn’t report its net cost to NCES, but the undergraduate per credit cost is $783, and the graduate tuition ranges from $389 to $914 per credit. (Not including fees or financial aid)

Founded in 1895, Gratz College is the “oldest independent and pluralistic college for Jewish studies in North America.” It’s also the first Jewish college to accept women on par with men. At Gratz, you can earn a degree completely online, and you can choose from a wide variety of degree programs at the following levels:

  • PhD and EdD
  • Masters’ level programs
  • BA completion programs
  • Graduate and undergraduate certificates

29. Hebrew College in Newton Centre, MA

Hebrew College is one of the larger religious universities on this list, offering adult-learning and youth-education programs in addition to the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs.
Net Cost: Hebrew College didn’t report its net cost to NCES, but undergraduate tuition starts at $330 and $990 per credit. (Not including fees or financial aid)

Founded in 1921, Hebrew College is private, not-for-profit and has a 7-acre hillside campus. Hebrew College is rooted in the Hebraist-Zionist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but it is a self-dubbed “modern equivalent of Abraham’s tent, with all sides open to anyone who wishes to join our passionate pursuit of Jewish education.” It offers programs that lead to the following degrees:

  • PhD in Educational Studies (in conjunction with Lesley University)
  • Master of Arts in Jewish Studies
  • Master of Jewish Education
  • Master of Jewish Liberal Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies
  • Bachelor of Jewish Education
  • Cantorial Ordination
  • Rabbinic Ordination

28. Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, NY

The Jewish Theological Seminary of America is in the process of building a brand new, 21st Century Campus, which is set to open Fall 2019.
Net Cost: $35,803

Jewish Theological Seminary of America is an institute of Jewish higher learning grounded in conservative Judaism. JTS boasts the “most extensive Jewish studies program in North America.” Plus, it has a unique dual-degree program with Columbia University and Barnard College. JTS is a system of five different schools:

  • List College (Undergraduate)
  • The Rabbinical School
  • H. L. Miller Cantorial School
  • The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education
  • The Gershon Kekst Graduate School

27. Brandeis University in Waltham, MA

Brandeis University is not a rabbinical college, but its roots are strongly grounded in Jewish history and experience.
Net Cost: $32,148

Founded in 1948, Brandeis University is a private research university just nine miles outside of Boston. One of the very few co-educational universities on this list, this mid-sized college offers a wide variety of pre-college, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Brandeis has strong Jewish roots, reflecting the following values of the Jewish community:

  • Rigorous academics of the highest standard
  • Emphasis on critical thinking and self-criticism
  • Acceptance of nothing without study, debate and reflection
  • The ideal of making the world a better place through one’s actions and talents

26. Yeshiva University in New York, NY

Even though Yeshiva University is one of the biggest Jewish schools on this list, it still maintains an 8:1 student-faculty ratio.
Net Cost: $30,968

Yeshiva University is a premier Jewish school for higher education that is made up of a number of undergraduate and graduate colleges. YU runs a system of four campuses, including the Stern College for Women in midtown Manhattan. YU’s undergraduate school’s curriculum combines Jewish studies with liberal arts and sciences courses.

25. Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, IL

Unlike many Jewish schools on this list, Hebrew Theological College extends to Chicago with it’s all-women’s campus, the Blitstein Institute for Women, and it offers an online degree program in Jewish studies.
Net Cost: $30,909

Hebrew Theological College is housed with Fasman Yeshiva High School on a seven-acre campus within a quiet suburb. The college runs a women’s institute in Chicago in addition to the men’s campus in Skokie. HTC comes with a higher net cost, but it offers even more amenities, like:

  • The largest rabbinical library in the Midwest with 60,000 volumes
  • State-of-the-art computer lab
  • Science laboratory
  • Full-size gymnasium
  • New outdoor basketball court and renovated softball field
  • Dormitory with updated rooms and laundry
  • Full-service dining hall

24. American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA

The American Jewish University has one of the most beautiful college campuses amongst the Jewish schools on this list.
Net Cost: $28,389

In 2007, the American Jewish University began as two separate Jewish colleges: The University of Judaism and the Brandeis-Bardin Institute. Now one of the largest institutes of Jewish education, AJU offers the following and more:

  • Two campuses
  • Undergraduate and graduate programs
  • International students from countries like The Ukraine, Argentina and India
  • A youth camp for Jewish children
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Prre-medical education
  • Rabbinical Management Institute
  • Jewish Television Network (JTN)
  • Ostrow Library with over 120,000 volumes
  • Platt Art Gallery

23. Rabbinical College of Ohr Shimon Yisroel in Brooklyn, NY

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The Rabbinical College of Ohr Shimon Yisroel is one of the many colleges in New York on this list.

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Net Cost: $17,066

Brooklyn’s most expensive college with Jewish affiliation on this list is the Rabbinical College of Ohr Shimon Yisroel. This small, private school offers a 15:1 student-teacher ratio, and it enrolls just under 200 students (undergraduate only). Accredited by the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, this rabbinical college has an open admissions policy.

22. Beis Medrash Heichal Dovid in Far Rockaway, NY

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Beis Medrash Heichal Dovid offers post-high school Jewish education for men on the southwestern end of Long Island.

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Net Cost: $13,424

Beis Medrash Heichal Dovid is a four-year, private school for those interested in studying Judaism. According to NCES, the 124 students are working toward bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in Talmudic studies.

21. Talmudic University of Florida in Miami Beach. FL

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The Talmudic University of Florida is a unique Jewish college in its approach to Torah study and its emphasis on individual expression.

Net Cost: $13,162

Opened in 1974, the Talmudic University of Florida is a small college in Miami Beach that’s recognized for its community-building and leadership-development. With fewer than 50 students, this college-level school for men is part of a community-based systems of schools that focus on the study of Torah with an approach of “growth through learning.”

20. Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, MD

Ner Israel Rabbinical College is unique in that it has agreements with five local colleges and universities so that its students can expand their education beyond the yeshiva.
Net Cost: $11,461

Founded in 1933, Ner Israel Rabbinical College is an all-male Lithuanian-style Talmudic college that is politically affiliated with Agudath Israel of America, according to its Wikipedia page. Its campus is just northwest of the Baltimore City limits, and it offers on-campus housing. As an undergraduate student at this yeshiva university, you also have the opportunity to take night courses in a variety of academic fields, as well as earn academic credits toward your religious studies degree program at the following colleges:

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Towson University
  • Loyola College in Maryland
  • University of Baltimore
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County

19. Yeshiva Gedolah Imrei Yosef D’spinka in Brooklyn, NY

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Yeshiva Gedolah Imrei Yosef D’spinka is an all-undergraduate, all-male religious college for Jewish students.

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Net Cost: $11,304

Yeshiva Gedolah Imrei Yosef D’spinka is a small, non-residential rabbinical college that offers a curriculum with a rich Halachic, Mussar and ethical background. It has a comprehensive program of Talmudic study and analysis. Graduates of this course receive a First Talmudic Degree and are prepared to enter the field of Jewish education. In its mission, as reported to NCES, this school explains that it offers a Lithuanian style of learning in a Chassidic atmosphere.

18. Mirrer Yeshiva Central Institute in Brooklyn, NY

The Mirrer Yeshiva Central Institute’s main building has undergone major reconstruction and updating over the last several years.
Net Cost: $10,296

A short driving distance from Manhattan Beach and the New York Aquarium, the Mirrer Yeshiva Central Institute is commonly known as the Mirrer Yeshiva. According to NCES, this is one of the few Orthodox Jewish schools that accepts AP and dual credits. Accredited by the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, Mirrer Yeshiva has fewer than 200 students and a 9:1 student-teacher ratio.

17. Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah in Kew Gardens, NY

Located just blocks from the green Forest Park, Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah students can enjoy the perks of living in a big city while having a nearby place of environmental reprieve from the concrete jungle.
Net Cost: $10,088

Founded in 1974, Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah is a small, all-male college that offers high school programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate programs that result in Talmudic law degrees. Accredited by the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, this yeshiva is one of the more competitive colleges on this list, but maintains a 93 percent student retention rate. According to Wikipedia, the curriculum at this Jewish school focuses on the following:

  • Talmudic law
  • Aramaic texts
  • Theology
  • Philosophy
  • Epistemology

16. Yeshivath Beth Moshe in Scranton, PA

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Yeshivath Beth Moshe is a small, private college within a small city, which grants financial aid to 90 percent of all its undergraduate students.

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Net Cost: $9,965

Founded in 1964, Yeshivath Beth Moshe is an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish high school and rabbinical college. It offers rabbinical and Talmudic studies, as well as other related academic areas. In addition to the campus’ main building, this small college has a Bookstore that is consistently updated with the latest curriculum-related materials, a Co-op store with many Kosher food options, a music room and recreational courts. As a student, you have access to a large number of courses and training programs that will prepare you for careers in fields like:

  • Rabbinics (pulpit or congregational rabbis)
  • Jewish education (at the elementary, secondary and postsecondary levels)
  • School administration

15. Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA

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One Local Guide on Google referred to the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia as an “Ivy-League-caliber yeshiva.”

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Net Cost: $9,731

Founded in 1953 as one of the first yeshivas in the U.S., Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia is a Haredi Litvish yeshiva located in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia. This Jewish college is private and not-for-profit, offering a high school program and bachelor’s degree program, both centered on Talmudic studies. This undergraduate men’s college has 124 enrolled students, an 89 percent retention rate and 59 percent overall graduation rate.

14. United Talmudical Seminary in Brooklyn, NY

The United Talmudical Seminary has a great financial aid program, offering institutional grants and scholarships of $3,439 on average.
Net Cost: $9,100

The United Talmudical Seminary is a private rabbinical college for Satmar students. It offers on-campus housing and a bachelor’s degree program in Talmudic studies, as well as a graduate-level program. According to NCES, its total student enrollment is 2,624. It has an open admissions policy. Earning a degree at UTSNY will lead you into such careers as:

  • Rabbinic authorities
  • Dayanim
  • Talmud educators
  • Communal functionaries

13. Uta Mesivta of Kiryas Joel in Monroe, NY

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Uta Mesivta of Kiryas Joel retains 95 percent of its students and has a 70 percent overall graduation rate.

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Net Cost: $7,202

The Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools accredits Uta Mesivta of Kiryas Joel, which offers a bachelor’s degree program in theology/Talmudic studies. It’s located within a large suburb, and the curriculum emphasizes the study of Talmud, Halacha and Hashkofa. Compared to other schools on this ranking, Uta Mesivta is a bit larger with 1,764 enrolled students, but its student-faculty ratio remains low at 10:1.

12. Rabbinical College of Telshe in Wickliffe, OH

Net Cost: $7,192

Originally, the Rabbinical College of Telshe, or Telshe Yeshiva, was a famous Eastern European yeshiva founded in Lithuania in 1875, but it relocated to Ohio after World War II. Today, it’s one of the more prominent Haredi institutions in America for Talmud and Torah study. Fewer than 100 students enroll here annually, working toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree in theology.

11. Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America in New York, NY

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According to NCES, Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America offers a distance education program in Judaism at the baccalaureate level.

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Net Cost: $7,055

One of the oldest yeshivot in New York City, Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America is located just a few blocks from the Manhattan Bridge and East River. The world-renowned Rabbi Moshe Feinstein once led MTJ, and it was passed down to his two sons, Rabbi Dovid Feinstein and Rabbi Reuven Feinstein. Today, MTJ enrolls fewer than 100 students. MTJ offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Talmudic studies, as well as master’s and doctoral programs in rabbinical studies.

10. Yeshiva College of the Nation’s Capital in Silver Spring, MD

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Yeshiva College partners with the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) to offer a range of undergraduate degree programs with a schedule that allows you to still learn a full 1st and 2nd seder in yeshiva.

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Net Cost: $6,900

With just 33 enrolled undergraduate students, Yeshiva College of the Nation’s Capital boasts a “quality three seder yeshiva education on par with larger yeshivos,” while offering the personalized attention of such a small college. Here, you can earn a nationally accredited bachelor’s degree in Talmudic law (BTL) and take advantage of the following amenities local to campus:

  • Large, well-stocked kosher grocery store
  • Kosher bakery
  • Two kosher restaurants
  • A Judaica and book store

9. Yeshiva Gedolah Rabbinical College in Miami Beach, FL

The State of Florida, State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Central Organization for Jewish Education all recognize Yeshiva Gedolah Rabbinical College. It’s also accredited by the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools.
Net Cost: $6,623

Yeshiva Gedolah Rabbinical College opened in 1972 and currently enrolls around 30 students in rabbinical ordination programs. Students can also work toward bachelor’s and master’s degrees in rabbinic studies and Hebraic literature. This campus is less than two blocks from the sands of South Beach Miami. The main curriculum is comprised of:

  • Gemorah
  • Shulchan Aruch
  • Chassidus

8. Sh’or Yoshuv Rabbinical College in Lawrence, NY

Sh’or Yoshuv Rabbinical College has one of the lowest admissions rates (30%) on this list of top Jewish colleges.
Net Cost: $6,403

Founded in 1967, Sh’or Yoshuv Rabbinical College is a Haredi Talmudic and rabbinical school offering a bachelor of Talmudic law in addition to its rabbinical ordination program. More than 100 students at this small private college enjoy an intimate 5:1 student-faculty ratio. On its campus, you’ll find:

  • A large Bais Medrash (study hall)
  • Classrooms
  • English and Hebrew libraries
  • Gymnasium
  • Student housing

7. Telshe Yeshiva-Chicago in Chicago, IL

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Accredited by the Accreditation Commission of the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, Telshe Yeshiva-Chicago has a 100 percent student retention rate.

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Net Cost: $6,253

Established in 1960 as a branch of the Ohio-based Rabbinical College of Telshe, Telshe Yeshiva-Chicago is a traditional school of higher Talmud learning. This four-year private college is very small, with fewer than 100 students enrolled. It offers an undergraduate degree program in Talmudic studies, as well as a graduate program, the second rabbinic degree. Residential and dining facilities are included on this campus.

6. Rabbinical Seminary of America in Flushing, NY

You can study Judaism at a variety of levels at the Rabbinical Seminary of America.
Net Cost: $5,915

The Rabbinical Seminary of America, also known as Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim of Queens, aims to provide high-caliber Torah education and train its students to serve in leadership positions for Jewish communities worldwide. According to The Princeton Review, RSA offers degree programs at the baccalaureate, graduate and doctorate levels, as well as post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificates. RSA graduates have gone on to become

  • Rabbonim
  • Principals
  • Teachers
  • Outreach workers

5. Rabbinical College Bobover Yeshiva Bnei Zion in Brooklyn, NY

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At 83 percent, Rabbinical College Bobover Yeshiva Bnei Zion has one of the highest graduation rates amongst the top Jewish schools on this list.

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Net Cost: $3,759

The first of five Jewish colleges with net costs below $4,000, the Rabbinical College Bobover Yeshiva Bnei Zion is a private, not-for-profit college with an incredibly affordable tuition. This classical school of higher Jewish learning has a mission and curriculum designed to “to pass on the rich heritage of Bible study, Talmud learning and Jewish thought.” Undergraduate students work toward a bachelor’s in Talmudic studies. Graduate students can complete one of two rabbinate programs: either to serve as a spiritual leader and Moreh Hoiroah for a community or congregation, or to serve as a scholar/teacher in a Talmudic college.

4. Mesivta Torah Vodaath Rabbinical Seminary in Brooklyn, NY

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All undergraduate students receive grant or scholarship aid at the Mesivta Torah Vodaath Rabbinical Seminary.

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Net Cost: $3,567

Located just outside of Brooklyn’s Borough Park, Mesivta Torah Vodaath Rabbinical Seminary is a small, private college for men interested in Rabbinical studies at the baccalaureate and post-graduate levels. According to NCES, this Jewish school offers the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree program in Talmudic studies
  • Post-graduate certificates in rabbinical studies, as well as theological and ministerial studies
  • Campus housing
  • 20:1 student-teacher ratio
  • Accreditation from the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools
  • 80 percent student retention rate and 38 percent overall graduation rate

3. Rabbinical College Ohr Yisroel in Brooklyn, NY

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The Rabbinical College Ohr Yisroel has an open admission policy and boasts a 100 percent student retention rate.

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Net Cost: $3,348

Accredited by the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, the Rabbinical College Ohr Yisroel is not-for-profit and located in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn. This small private college is home to 112 undergraduate students, all of whom are working toward a bachelor’s of religious studies degree or First Talmudic Degree. Almost 60 percent of students receive financial aid in the forms of Pell grants, federal grants and scholarships.

2. Talmudical Seminary of Bobov in Brooklyn, NY

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The Talmudical Seminary of Bobov is accredited by the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools, and is an incredibly affordable Jewish theological seminary.

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Net Cost: $2,931

The Talmudical Seminary of Bobov is set within Borough Park in Brooklyn, home to one of the largest concentrations of Jews in America. We had trouble finding a website for the school, but NCES reports that this school trains undergraduate students in “the skills required for understanding, studying and mastering the Talmud and the considerable body of traditional Jewish thought.” It is a four-year, non-residential school that is private and not-for-profit. The school’s 380 all-male students work toward a bachelor’s degree in Talmudic studies. They enjoy a 12:1 student-faculty ratio as well as generous financial aid packages.

1. Kehilath Yakov Rabbinical Seminary in Ossining, NY

Kehilath Yakov Rabbinical Seminary is the cheapest college on this list and of the Jewish-affiliated colleges in New York.
Net Cost: $2,726

The Kehilath Yakov Rabbinical Seminary is a very small (around 155 total students), all-male rabbinical college. It’s accredited by the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools. This private, not-for-profit college offers a four-year undergraduate program, “set to educate its students in Talmud, Halacha and Chassidus in a classroom setting,” according to what the school has reported to NCES. The school’s website doesn’t offer much as far as information about the college, but other sources say that it has the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree program in Talmudic studies
  • 15:1 student-faculty ratio
  • Historic village campus setting between the Hudson River and New Croton Reservoir on more than 100 acres
  • An open admission policy
  • On-campus housing for up to 130 students
  • 88 percent student retention rate and 65 percent overall graduation rate

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