2018 Liberal Arts College Rankings

Since 2005, the Washington Monthly has ranked colleges based on what they do for the country. It’s our answer to U.S News & World Report, which relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of wealth, exclusivity, and prestige. We rank liberal arts colleges—four-year institutions that award almost exclusively bachelor’s degrees and that focus on arts and sciences rather than professional programs—based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

Click here for detailed methodology, here for the rest of our rankings, and here to download the full data set.

RankName8-year graduation rate% of students receiving Pell GrantsMedian earningsPredicted median earningsNet priceLoan repayment rateSocial mobility rankResearch rankService rank
1Berea College (KY)63%83%$33,399 $28,556 $3,458 72%21047
2Washington and Lee University (VA)88%10%$75,624 $56,614 $4,004 93%16840
3Harvey Mudd College (CA)90%13%$77,083 $63,503 $17,128 93%15163
4Amherst College (MA)95%23%$58,743 $54,859 $6,800 88%41131
5Bowdoin College (ME)93%14%$57,226 $55,962 $8,627 91%17203
6Swarthmore College (PA)95%15%$51,379 $59,134 $9,665 92%63243
7Bryn Mawr College (PA)83%15%$52,188 $48,598 $15,851 86%74311
8Williams College (MA)96%19%$56,605 $54,766 $6,390 89%87178
9Middlebury College (VT)94%13%$54,964 $54,857 $9,027 89%36302
10Wellesley College (MA)92%18%$58,892 $56,995 $11,418 91%33561
11Haverford College (PA)94%16%$56,433 $55,187 $10,247 93%131092
12Hamilton College (NY)92%15%$58,848 $53,000 $9,481 93%103547
13Sterling College (VT)53%54%N/A$26,503 $18,313 79%521412
14Colgate University (NY)93%12%$61,934 $53,788 $11,297 91%73777
15Bates College (ME)89%11%$55,065 $53,392 $9,742 93%203618
16Vassar College (NY)92%24%$49,659 $54,033 $9,591 93%321822
17Claremont McKenna College (CA)91%12%$69,852 $61,208 $12,429 N/A92484
18Pomona College (CA)94%19%$55,057 $60,713 $6,740 85%2212106
19Lafayette College (PA)91%10%$69,256 $57,478 $14,710 91%124860
20Davidson College (NC)94%15%$57,058 $53,239 $8,762 92%1132127
21Wesleyan University (CT)93%18%$50,492 $53,811 $9,677 91%398151
22Barnard College (NY)91%18%$57,399 $54,545 $11,058 93%2122108
23College of the Holy Cross (MA)93%16%$65,003 $54,626 $14,647 94%694137
24Salem College (NC)56%56%$33,038 $29,793 $13,954 66%3184125
25Allegheny College (PA)78%26%$49,627 $45,080 $18,859 86%65765
26Cornell College (IA)68%33%$41,914 $40,796 $20,292 84%386323
27Colby College (ME)91%11%$54,460 $52,303 $9,553 92%283172
28St. Mary's College of Maryland (MD)*82%18%$48,569 $49,973 $11,317 86%456220
29Carleton College (MN)93%13%$49,750 $54,641 $13,770 93%107488
30College of Saint Benedict (MN)82%24%$49,213 $42,737 $17,366 94%1812235
31Smith College (MA)88%21%$44,171 $49,627 $13,964 83%1201413
32Grinnell College (IA)89%23%$45,346 $49,163 $13,415 91%78976
33New College of Florida (FL)*69%28%N/A$31,089 $7,416 73%124218
34Knox College (IL)83%32%$40,261 $40,803 $17,127 82%90806
35Agnes Scott College (GA)73%42%$38,292 $36,731 $17,693 66%626017
36Susquehanna University (PA)76%25%$51,684 $44,054 $18,957 90%2614338
37Connecticut College (CT)85%14%$52,643 $52,559 $15,864 93%535336
38Beloit College (WI)81%23%$40,029 $42,798 $10,534 85%516133
39Virginia Military Institute (VA)*73%14%$60,392 $55,736 $8,575 88%3517529
40Franklin and Marshall College (PA)87%17%$54,676 $52,165 $13,439 90%2933142
41Kalamazoo College (MI)82%20%$49,029 $49,248 $15,255 87%663841
42Hobart William Smith Colleges (NY)78%15%$50,322 $49,012 $18,910 87%1401211
43Bucknell University (PA)89%11%$68,098 $56,995 $21,759 95%4626135
44University of Richmond (VA)83%18%$61,278 $55,834 $11,673 80%3445123
45Soka University of America (CA)80%29%N/A$34,596 $8,258 72%5211726
46Willamette University (OR)79%20%$49,577 $44,422 $23,750 87%615544
47Macalester College (MN)90%17%$45,897 $51,563 $16,468 91%1382810
48McDaniel College (MD)70%31%$46,637 $44,717 $14,742 87%16136120
49College of the Atlantic (ME)73%37%$25,885 $22,671 $15,929 85%5612325
50Kenyon College (OH)89%10%$44,380 $48,192 $11,159 89%852953
51Wartburg College (IA)71%22%$43,425 $44,462 $18,617 87%6911516
52Saint John's University (MN)82%19%$57,986 $54,368 $16,130 93%2710891
53Union College (NY)86%15%$63,037 $56,489 $13,336 89%3156129
54University of Minnesota-Morris (MN)*65%29%$39,487 $38,875 $7,173 79%609134
55Fisk University (TN)37%57%$33,794 $35,201 $21,674 39%9313141
56Lake Forest College (IL)74%35%$48,968 $46,330 $17,979 87%4410378
57Dickinson College (PA)85%11%$53,903 $52,403 $16,239 90%1017524
58Mount Holyoke College (MA)82%19%$45,483 $46,574 $15,103 84%1131593
59Trinity College (CT)82%10%$57,937 $54,525 $12,707 86%4269121
60DePauw University (IN)81%19%$49,665 $43,547 $16,335 87%438795
61Reed College (OR)80%18%$37,364 $49,241 $12,900 89%181639
62Wabash College (IN)72%26%$52,183 $45,383 $16,000 79%557475
63Southwestern University (TX)74%27%$49,010 $47,186 $19,085 87%767245
64Ripon College (WI)68%37%$43,722 $39,835 $15,445 83%30105158
65Oglethorpe University (GA)52%38%$42,681 $40,532 $17,760 62%19155199
66Houghton College (NY)77%42%$39,890 $35,796 $19,057 84%23107212
67Stonehill College (MA)82%17%$59,261 $51,839 $20,414 90%5016473
68Occidental College (CA)86%21%$50,335 $55,322 $16,220 91%965168
69Thomas Aquinas College (CA)70%34%$40,100 $30,629 $17,028 87%14131228
70Univ. of Science & Arts of Okla. (OK)*52%42%$31,767 $29,779 $5,997 61%25198169
71Wofford College (SC)79%19%$48,807 $48,415 $18,225 85%5414882
72Illinois College (IL)77%39%$39,127 $39,356 $13,868 86%37181144
73Simpson College (IA)73%28%$45,498 $43,899 $19,759 84%10916627
74Penn State-Greater Allegheny (PA)*43%48%$48,413 $39,413 $13,941 77%24195202
75Gustavus Adolphus College (MN)82%25%$49,685 $48,594 $15,688 89%6489113
76Spelman College (GA)74%48%$47,003 $36,056 $32,902 56%1054198
77Moravian Coll./Moravian Theo. Sem. (PA)71%30%$49,534 $45,691 $23,074 86%40174173
78Saint Mary's College (IN)82%22%$46,246 $43,518 $17,286 92%58130104
79Hanover College (IN)68%31%$43,836 $40,368 $17,301 84%7178119
80Gettysburg College (PA)84%13%$53,253 $52,073 $15,989 93%8177101
81Dillard University (LA)39%76%$33,695 $32,136 $17,080 39%11223183
82Tougaloo College (MS)51%90%$27,956 $24,564 $12,784 41%8457150
83Oberlin College (OH)88%10%$39,634 $47,066 $17,230 89%1801656
84Westminster College (PA)74%32%$43,686 $42,772 $18,117 85%8312089
85Sewanee-University of the South (TN)79%19%$39,732 $44,931 $15,154 86%1608819
86Saint Norbert College (WI)70%22%$45,593 $46,518 $18,276 86%13014428
87Juniata College (PA)78%22%$46,393 $45,741 $19,155 89%8881122
88Illinois Wesleyan University (IL)80%19%$55,574 $52,009 $20,415 90%9183112
89Ursinus College (PA)81%22%$53,047 $50,118 $22,158 86%7986131
90Muhlenberg College (PA)85%10%$56,136 $52,711 $19,638 87%72119117
91Wheaton College (IL)90%20%$44,270 $51,551 $16,834 96%9846171
92Earlham College (IN)73%28%$33,681 $40,531 $15,772 86%1343987
93Univ. of Virginia's College-Wise (VA)*44%39%$37,217 $33,298 $9,472 68%41203193
94Linfield College-McMinnville (OR)72%26%$52,296 $45,789 $21,951 86%57142162
95Millsaps College (MS)65%21%$46,143 $49,970 $16,769 74%10044175
96Whittier College (CA)66%36%$44,492 $48,313 $19,400 78%8213396
97Denison University (OH)83%19%$48,922 $49,259 $15,480 84%1167980
98Goucher College (MD)65%25%$46,495 $44,477 $20,819 83%15714015
99Sweet Briar College (VA)76%26%$38,035 $36,430 $22,208 82%8099124
100St. Olaf College (MN)89%15%$46,439 $51,692 $13,901 92%11943132
101Franklin College (IN)60%37%$41,456 $40,830 $17,229 81%10419151
102Transylvania University (KY)72%25%$41,757 $44,052 $18,157 84%1557037
103Hiram College (OH)65%43%$39,039 $42,675 $21,779 72%11112467
104University of Maine-Machias (ME)*33%41%$26,685 $29,332 $8,488 62%10217170
105Wheaton College (MA)77%20%$46,953 $47,242 $22,439 89%13311148
106Young Harris College (GA)44%38%$35,896 $37,630 $15,543 70%47214182
107Saint Vincent College (PA)75%28%$46,184 $47,276 $16,132 86%68135165
108Colorado College (CO)86%11%$41,857 $53,351 $8,618 90%12714742
109Skidmore College (NY)87%14%$45,474 $51,605 $11,710 90%11059136
110Fort Lewis College (CO)*48%34%$34,445 $31,924 $13,860 61%75178109
111Monmouth College (IL)56%42%$40,654 $38,022 $13,155 78%67159159
112College of Idaho (ID)60%38%$39,438 $42,649 $16,462 81%73190111
113Randolph-Macon College (VA)63%24%$46,347 $46,097 $21,227 84%9496148
114Penn State-Beaver (PA)*45%38%$48,413 $44,103 $13,697 77%48204204
115Lawrence University (WI)79%21%$42,622 $44,250 $18,983 86%1376481
116Furman University (SC)81%13%$47,113 $49,334 $21,356 88%1774730
117St. Lawrence University (NY)85%18%$46,395 $49,886 $16,842 88%12210971
118Bethany College (WV)47%48%$40,355 $36,775 $17,663 71%86173115
119Whitman College (WA)88%11%$45,174 $50,623 $19,360 94%1832758
120Bethel College-North Newton (KS)58%46%$38,975 $39,429 $19,323 75%9995149
121Drew University (NJ)64%30%$51,292 $46,663 $17,693 83%8993194
122Albion College (MI)72%27%$46,042 $44,018 $16,718 83%12650157
123Scripps College (CA)87%11%$48,860 $53,775 $16,832 92%12154187
124Centre College (KY)82%14%$44,941 $48,845 $17,521 86%1646662
125Pitzer College (CA)86%16%$46,593 $53,138 $13,929 77%1459866
126Coe College (IA)71%29%$44,330 $45,114 $18,487 85%12811685
127Martin University (IN)13%87%$22,844 $19,337 $16,138 16%49214215
128Lewis & Clark College (OR)79%21%$43,877 $50,043 $23,720 90%1744064
129Hartwick College (NY)58%34%$44,850 $44,356 $21,715 80%13912879
130Wells College (NY)56%48%$34,992 $35,032 $16,891 73%103137166
131Univ. of NH-Manchester (NH)*62%26%$47,911 $46,841 $15,078 88%59214214
132Washington & Jefferson College (PA)75%25%$51,183 $50,839 $20,260 85%131100105
133St. John's College (NM)50%35%$31,381 $24,765 $18,495 78%17817154
134Lycoming College (PA)62%34%$44,622 $42,753 $14,892 81%95172189
135Hollins University (VA)64%44%$34,921 $32,721 $16,873 65%118125153
136Georgetown College (KY)66%36%$42,074 $40,077 $16,554 80%92163201
137University of Wisconsin-Parkside (WI)*37%43%$37,671 $42,574 $8,808 61%14720550
138College of Wooster (OH)76%19%$45,286 $46,798 $17,439 84%16258102
139Warren Wilson College (NC)54%39%$26,471 $37,516 $18,154 79%2091464
140Univ. of North Carolina-Asheville (NC)*66%34%$35,413 $41,726 $10,616 67%1758546
141Hampshire College (MA)75%25%$31,568 $39,114 $23,132 77%217349
142Bennington College (VT)71%21%$26,480 $34,281 $23,312 86%16316257
143Hendrix College (AR)76%19%$40,902 $48,099 $20,463 81%2105214
144Sarah Lawrence College (NY)79%18%$40,145 $34,749 $25,310 86%13565188
145Albright College (PA)55%45%$47,021 $45,240 $19,296 78%106145198
146Augustana College (IL)74%24%$49,481 $49,696 $18,252 87%15112990
147Siena College (NY)80%24%$55,279 $54,099 $19,125 86%132110152
148Louisiana State Univ.-Alexandria (LA)*31%40%$32,015 $33,359 $7,873 45%77213209
149Bloomfield College (NJ)36%69%$37,789 $35,090 $17,838 44%70214222
150Presbyterian College (SC)66%25%$42,009 $44,130 $14,480 84%123138161
151Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts (MA)*57%47%$35,966 $37,340 $12,991 70%114196155
152Marlboro College (VT)66%36%$26,225 $31,671 $26,742 85%14342223
153Westmont College (CA)78%20%$49,170 $48,040 $24,631 90%12592197
154Wittenberg University (OH)69%27%$42,671 $42,887 $20,939 81%1878254
155Wesleyan College (GA)43%36%$35,522 $32,385 $14,172 51%154113128
156Bethany Lutheran College (MN)53%38%$34,595 $36,451 $13,468 83%87214216
157Univ. of Pittsburgh-Greensburg (PA)*55%36%$49,869 $43,614 $14,899 80%117207172
158Hope College (MI)80%20%$43,776 $47,548 $16,714 88%156106147
159Central College (IA)68%25%$42,558 $45,573 $17,375 85%18413249
160SUNY-Purchase College (NY)*67%33%$35,551 $38,934 $15,530 71%15019497
161Bethune-Cookman University (FL)53%77%$28,799 $26,574 $16,384 26%97206218
162Penn State-Berks (PA)*59%35%$48,413 $43,805 $19,316 77%108212203
163Maryville College (TN)56%45%$37,067 $39,866 $14,632 75%129161191
164University of Puget Sound (WA)77%17%$50,697 $49,757 $33,233 89%2137121
165Saint Anselm College (NH)75%16%$55,880 $51,525 $23,304 91%149179140
166Claflin University (SC)52%78%$28,039 $26,893 $20,102 29%142156184
167Austin College (TX)76%28%$48,363 $50,809 $18,145 80%16797130
168Erskine College and Seminary (SC)50%39%$37,063 $40,009 $16,700 81%144102208
169Shepherd University (WV)*47%33%$38,984 $39,758 $8,461 62%141186174
170Virginia Wesleyan College (VA)52%39%$39,031 $36,288 $22,498 68%17020274
171Judson College (AL)43%57%$29,517 $26,515 $14,662 60%146152185
172University of Pikeville (KY)42%45%$29,664 $34,233 $16,412 56%136214160
173Concordia College-Moorhead (MN)72%22%$42,158 $46,082 $18,023 89%166112146
174Schreiner University (TX)46%41%$38,069 $38,666 $16,727 62%148209145
175Cheyney University of PA (PA)*^^29%75%$29,861 $29,946 $13,953 27%115193226
176Rhodes College (TN)80%14%$50,387 $53,583 $20,026 90%1918494
177Ohio Wesleyan University (OH)66%25%$42,606 $44,387 $22,927 85%2056765
178Bard College (NY)75%21%$36,110 $43,839 $21,166 85%2147332
179St. John's College (MD)71%22%$34,648 $33,580 $21,913 81%21225116
180Luther College (IA)81%18%$43,369 $45,753 $20,450 88%17390186
181Westminster College (MO)67%31%$41,910 $43,333 $17,825 75%165158177
182Bridgewater College (VA)62%28%$42,220 $43,405 $17,019 83%152189205
183Elizabethtown College (PA)71%20%$48,814 $50,370 $22,707 87%161154207
184LaGrange College (GA)54%46%$39,481 $38,116 $19,832 62%169187139
185Philander Smith College (AR)40%74%$25,228 $31,726 $15,024 40%158208176
186Lyon College (AR)50%44%$39,173 $40,616 $12,539 65%159165206
187Doane University-Crete (NE)60%31%$43,617 $42,405 $20,321 76%168139190
188Saint Michael's College (VT)80%16%$47,002 $52,192 $23,741 92%19211899
189Elmira College (NY)55%32%$43,479 $42,638 $22,443 77%171176167
190Roanoke College (VA)65%24%$43,119 $44,123 $24,362 84%188151114
191William Peace University (NC)40%57%$35,262 $34,306 $21,658 64%153214210
192Northland College (WI)51%38%$32,727 $41,009 $15,612 77%20414169
193Alma College (MI)60%29%$44,138 $43,759 $18,173 80%185134163
194Gordon College (MA)72%22%$41,061 $45,233 $22,610 89%193127110
195Pacific Union College (CA)49%47%$49,822 $47,457 $19,392 70%172177196
196Emory and Henry College (VA)50%38%$39,294 $39,200 $16,011 77%176150192
197Meredith College (NC)62%33%$37,784 $39,532 $20,748 72%20619255
198Bryn Athyn Coll. of the New Church (PA)47%43%N/A$35,315 $10,493 78%179210168
199Guilford College (NC)55%41%$37,684 $39,379 $20,804 59%20715783
200Morehouse College (GA)53%50%$42,055 $42,219 $31,012 39%22219118
201Randolph College (VA)44%29%$40,136 $36,530 $20,884 75%200153100
202Washington College (MD)75%15%$47,220 $50,613 $22,856 86%194168143
203West Virginia State University (WV)*31%42%$29,606 $32,244 $7,329 41%182211179
204Davis & Elkins College (WV)47%41%$36,062 $39,529 $17,004 58%190201156
205Stillman College (AL)16%77%$26,165 $25,571 $16,308 24%186170213
206University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown (PA)*52%30%$49,869 $46,727 $16,552 80%189188195
207Ouachita Baptist University (AR)57%28%$38,276 $40,687 $16,702 75%198169170
208Pine Manor College (MA)36%53%$35,451 $35,408 $18,818 44%197214126
209Spring Hill College (AL)56%30%$43,480 $44,691 $10,055 66%201149164
210Covenant College (GA)60%27%$39,796 $39,370 $19,417 79%199183181
211Centenary College of Louisiana (LA)52%35%$42,341 $40,543 $21,263 71%21149225
212Carthage College (WI)60%28%$43,818 $45,121 $26,372 79%208180134
213Hampden-Sydney College (VA)67%20%$49,886 $53,726 $23,894 80%215167103
214William Jewell College (MO)59%26%$42,600 $48,652 $19,045 81%216126133
215Paine College (GA)20%79%$26,525 $27,169 $16,672 22%202182200
216Virginia Union University (VA)27%71%$31,774 $34,279 $18,849 29%196200221
217Birmingham Southern College (AL)64%19%$44,114 $50,781 $18,622 75%220114107
218Emmanuel College (MA)65%22%$45,268 $49,655 $27,183 79%22119759
219King's College (NY)50%32%N/A$37,107 $26,800 84%195214227
220Allen University (SC)32%78%$20,769 $33,126 $14,416 16%203214220
221Eckerd College (FL)65%23%$41,354 $48,303 $26,216 69%22610152
222Southern Virginia University (VA)40%51%$32,100 $31,879 $18,379 66%22321486
223Johnson C. Smith University (NC)45%69%$30,072 $31,111 $19,329 26%219160219
224Holy Cross College (IN)31%33%$36,615 $39,574 $17,300 67%218214217
225Marymount Manhattan College (NY)48%25%$40,293 $36,988 $31,252 68%225199138
226Thiel College (PA)37%43%$37,373 $42,466 $20,818 68%224185223
227Ave Maria University (FL)47%29%N/A$47,720 $15,817 60%227214211
228East-West University (IL)18%76%$23,394 $30,880 $26,844 19%228214180
Definitions:
Median earnings: median annual earnings 10 years after entering college.
Predicted median earnings: expected median annual earnings based on student demographic data, adjusted for institutions’ location and academic mission.
Net price: actual cost of attendance for first-time, full-time, in-state students with family incomes below $75,000 per year over the last three years.
Loan repayment rate: percent of students who pay back at least $1 in loan principal within 5 years of leaving college.
* = public
° = for-profit
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