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 rateNumber of Pell graduatesMedian earnings 10 yrs after entering collegePredicted median earnings 10 yrs after entering collegeNet price of attendance for families below $75,000 incomePercent repaying $1 in loan principal 5 yrs after leaving collegeSocial mobility rankResearch rankService rank
1Amherst College (MA)95%796155957511890487%61324
2Wesleyan University (CT)93%1405180454271920092%9563
3Berea College (KY)65%2333366626938214969%110753
4Washington and Lee University (VA)90%467531658550456692%28855
5Harvey Mudd College (CA)92%27782186627817809N/A121162
6Pomona College (CA)95%6556501608866376N/A171027
7Vassar College (NY)91%1405283354151954293%101531
8Middlebury College (VT)95%625747856892942288%22266
9Claremont McKenna College (CA)92%30729136033612575N/A42560
10Williams College (MA)96%985692158346598789%89126
11Bowdoin College (ME)94%596103758439913390%181913
12Haverford College (PA)92%4559071584911186492%371116
13Wellesley College (MA)93%946036459068884792%25680
14Grinnell College (IA)88%9046428517861419291%52820
15Swarthmore College (PA)95%535363060880901390%49366
16Hamilton College (NY)92%6959336559951024094%144032
17Bryn Mawr College (PA)84%5054905497611519186%55452
18College of the Holy Cross (MA)91%11667794565791442494%397101
19Carleton College (MN)93%5753178569431339693%62272
20Trinity College (CT)84%5461063542731111485%118142
21Bates College (ME)88%475663056471932695%324222
22Colgate University (NY)91%7963026552401154190%735155
23Smith College (MA)88%12346117509291173481%661214
24Barnard College (NY)92%10858241559961017594%1322134
25Franklin and Marshall College (PA)87%8356197525891334090%202987
26Lafayette College (PA)90%6169757591081369591%164484
27Connecticut College (CT)84%6454448531611881592%385423
28Dickinson College (PA)84%6356314527881449289%288936
29St. Mary's College of Maryland (MD)*78%5150353494611255487%427215
30Beloit College (WI)79%584143544735861484%307343
31College of Saint Benedict (MN)83%10750960440851851894%1511557
32New College of Florida (FL)*68%39N/A34068788172%96325
33Colby College (ME)92%505626857566784192%462340
34Allegheny College (PA)76%12050537474871843385%486025
35Virginia Military Institute (VA)*76%456399260577837987%811571
36Davidson College (NC)94%515622555275935991%3336113
37Lake Forest College (IL)73%11150018467051834186%249988
38Union College (NY)87%7565558580521440589%2611765
39University of Richmond (VA)83%10562983564901167379%2747153
40Knox College (IL)80%8040729413521743781%508533
41Gustavus Adolphus College (MN)81%12650705493391480688%369662
42Mount Holyoke College (MA)83%7247222459571532482%5816100
43Bucknell University (PA)89%7870151599962250294%452892
44Providence Christian College (CA)73%3N/A2855621555N/A5211214
45Agnes Scott College (GA)71%9139043399751818766%138673
46Tougaloo College (MS)46%6727298241631230541%2377170
47Macalester College (MN)90%7447449520781584591%872038
48Blackburn College (IL)44%3738161355581236565%641757
49Denison University (OH)82%10349947502851614183%789418
50Gettysburg College (PA)85%8355160536221564593%4064102
51Kalamazoo College (MI)83%6150473503701566584%774144
52Susquehanna University (PA)74%9953284460971956288%3513485
53Willamette University (OR)79%8350883459102305288%545376
54Cornell College (IA)68%8442574452272224283%1147411
55Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY)79%8352155515002074387%1241164
56Illinois College (IL)72%6040814401161355285%34147105
57Saint Mary's College (IN)80%7047255444581495989%3912495
58Dillard University (LA)40%11034366316331726252%5333156
59Goucher College (MD)65%6748186435331986382%7913217
60Saint John's University (MN)79%6859818549331700292%578081
61Lycoming College (PA)65%8645910430071483480%21145189
62University of Minnesota–Morris (MN)*62%744053439925526079%679050
63Whitman College (WA)88%3248188525232175193%1432421
64Ripon College (WI)67%5344709422521546082%44111103
65DePauw University (IN)83%9151839456961596187%4770141
66Kenyon College (OH)89%3546850511211289390%972183
67Rust College (MS)24%862371926531990027%19194212
68Centre College (KY)85%5145229495651745286%888735
69Drew University (NJ)65%7852342450601853881%6110670
70Skidmore College (NY)88%8147547545441225291%715790
71Transylvania University (KY)73%6342694438941978882%134799
72St. Olaf College (MN)88%9348543535411254991%7331140
73Juniata College (PA)76%7047799470672096188%906549
74Salem College (NC)56%5134183312011516164%41156116
75Wabash College (IN)72%5455295483541486678%695996
76Wheaton College (IL)90%10446293507451782695%7030164
77Thomas Aquinas College (CA)78%2538184331781749290%29128214
78Reed College (OR)81%4439204504941719788%186730
79Muhlenberg College (PA)84%4158192525871792687%7612348
80Simpson College (IA)68%7146067447091973084%1171628
81Bard College (NY)77%6938904417681997885%1536312
82Albion College (MI)70%5347133447951260084%5971161
83Occidental College (CA)85%9150643569141662491%935673
84St. John's College (MD)72%2036244346841777383%12514108
85Univ. of NH–Manchester (NH)*61%549915454381260887%31207187
86Colorado College (CO)87%434319655110734889%1112786
87Soka University of America (CA)85%31N/A33192955979%51125137
88Whittier College (CA)67%9945564492182101578%8514945
89Univ. of Virginia's College–Wise (VA)*44%773818434771979067%43191146
90Lewis & Clark College (OR)77%10644528490092171089%1185154
91Hanover College (IN)68%7944497424521764281%7486132
92Spelman College (GA)76%16947586386533656657%10834106
93Illinois Wesleyan University (IL)82%7257535526662073090%6898150
94Linfield College (OR)69%8554381454262279484%63137124
95Ursinus College (PA)79%7654789508072394687%9276109
96Southwestern University (TX)74%6351496507222028787%1126277
97Warren Wilson College (NC)53%4426692379092125878%1831262
98Houghton College (NY)73%6940577358272020084%56114188
99St. Lawrence University (NY)85%8848344509291548387%10712051
100Hope College (MI)79%14345119491491763286%1295074
101Wofford College (SC)80%7051461507311876984%9115079
102Furman University (SC)82%6848923500941977088%1474958
103Gordon College (MA)70%9741247454212276689%11310964
104Moravian Coll./Moravian Theo. Sem. (PA)71%7650333467652387685%8316589
105Sewanee–University of the South (TN)79%6743099484181665085%14811226
106Stonehill College (MA)83%7560582516572470389%72144163
107Wittenberg University (OH)77%7843053438422092181%1198378
108Washington & Jefferson College (PA)76%6352382487242130284%89113120
109Augustana College (IL)76%11650492503481879187%84118139
110St. Norbert College (WI)72%10346043467811999385%13312937
111Wheaton College (MA)79%7747093494382220189%10916759
112Westmont College (CA)77%5850149502952505789%95102158
113College of Wooster (OH)77%10047015505651718083%12658110
114Monmouth College (IL)58%8641145407691394478%94135122
115Mansfield University of PA (PA)*53%10438770372941719770%75179171
116Scripps College (CA)88%2751566579341636191%12348152
117Univ. of North Carolina–Asheville (NC)*64%943513341549981865%1468475
118Sweet Briar College (VA)67%2938954377072087282%1396897
119Hendrix College (AR)80%4841131489831725079%1823928
120Albright College (PA)57%10346701433072018677%65176193
121Westminster College (PA)72%9443884442291796085%86172129
122Hampshire College (MA)71%3234107398292137276%1924310
123Randall University (OK)38%535754296431562056%60201214
124Bennett College (NC)44%4729388218652065033%12216169
125Hartwick College (NY)59%8844365449882154279%14513361
126Ohio Wesleyan University (OH)68%7844749453782113285%14161130
127Coe College (IA)69%7045150478421737584%127105104
128University of Wisconsin–Parkside (WI)*35%903888940885895759%14218647
129Fort Lewis College (CO)*47%9135227347021454962%104153135
130Pitzer College (CA)87%2747943556791243277%1509598
131Wartburg College (IA)69%7844682467621811286%16614134
132Saint Anselm College (NH)73%6956679523552263390%115168107
133Saint Vincent College (PA)72%7547748490791694785%98138174
134Oberlin College (OH)87%5941291504381716889%17917111
135Sterling College (VT)56%3N/A313992615279%13018367
136Bryn Athyn College (PA)51%11N/A355861498372%82189186
137Sarah Lawrence College (NY)81%4040777362602522984%12855185
138Franklin College (IN)61%6142906407571705181%102197125
139Wells College (NY)51%4735601378141769474%120100165
140Presbyterian College (SC)66%4743312447751586484%121130121
141Penn State–Brandywine (PA)*47%5449789460111419076%80205203
142Austin College (TX)74%6849122548911717179%15182136
143Lawrence University (WI)78%6543180457651851684%15478133
144Virginia Wesleyan University (VA)51%8439806378202308266%16018146
145Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts (MA)*56%6835909364071477469%103180167
146St. John's College (NM)48%1630939269192369678%16945115
147Univ. of Pittsburgh–Greensburg (PA)*44%5452188465061554480%105187169
148Rhodes College (TN)80%7252754555821827389%1619399
149SUNY–Purchase College (NY)*65%15235877389731566371%116177149
150Randolph College (VA)57%2840538390192242674%1756671
151Bethany Lutheran College (MN)52%3135265377071292682%99169201
152University of Maine–Machias (ME)*34%192740231203785861%135170114
153Cheyney University of PA (PA)* ^^24%4329993286741386728%140163117
154Bethune-Cookman University (FL)43%24829619286641629127%100171196
155Central College (IA)66%6744135483721798184%18014029
156Earlham College (IN)70%4535020431241610884%1764691
157University of Puget Sound (WA)78%8551416507883122288%1856941
158Univ. of Wisconsin–Superior (WI)*45%4336551351621100465%159104112
159Elizabethtown College (PA)75%7250498502972316486%132151142
160University of the West (CA)52%3N/A3590210375N/A106211178
161Georgetown College (KY)61%5042162421411706177%144119183
162Pacific Rim Christian Univ. (HI)76%128098285281650558%101211214
163Saint Michael's College (VT)79%7449095505102434092%163108123
164Bloomfield College (NJ)34%9237501345381871545%110208199
165Covenant College (GA)62%5240807395871906981%137146191
166Shepherd University (WV)*48%1013951038914849559%136184173
167Hollins University (VA)58%3333918335941775362%17092145
168College of the Atlantic (ME)69%1225647250851585183%165121154
169Washington College (MD)75%3747847513742132285%17315982
170Luther College (IA)79%8645137482671975786%17491131
171Westminster College (MO)64%3942090441371825373%17738195
172Univ. of Science & Arts of Okla. (OK)*45%163278431525669561%152188175
173Chowan University (NC)26%10534139284891625240%131203205
174Judson College (AL)36%1428347293781606559%155143202
175Concordia College–Moorhead (MN)73%11643622483131952189%18410394
176Roanoke College (VA)66%8544830463772328683%172131127
177University of Pikeville (KY)54%6129801340651637854%157210157
178Lane College (TN)31%9324983272201264616%156202176
179Bennington College (VT)71%2927235371532341985%19116439
180Virginia University of Lynchburg (VA)22%4N/A290491724816%149199213
181College of Idaho (ID)62%6739920450971985879%171136160
182Doane University (NE)61%6144724442862099775%168139172
183Emory and Henry College (VA)54%5040020408101563577%164152200
184Stillman College (AL)28%5427592261851418426%162166210
185Randolph-Macon College (VA)61%6947631481192134981%181142138
186LA State Univ.–Alexandria (LA)*28%63365933541772859%158206204
187Bridgewater College (VA)61%8042338463561746282%167195184
188Emmanuel College (MA)65%8848517485082695079%187204118
189Bethany College (WV)44%3340610382431827969%19719356
190Aquinas College (MI)57%7636961414981380667%188158166
191Williams Baptist University (AR)43%3033152360801565564%178196208
192Oglethorpe University (GA)47%4843145424391915962%190174159
193Millsaps College (MS)67%2947644514561908473%20452190
194Wesleyan College (GA)47%2333883340881299553%194127179
195Brewton-Parker College (GA)24%1431866324211795654%189198206
196Morehouse College (GA)52%13642860444723432939%21037148
197Young Harris College (GA)44%4237984394821660969%193209151
198Hampden-Sydney College (VA)66%4351252560122652179%200155147
199Fisk University (TN)39%4034265369422816841%2161868
200Centenary College of Louisiana (LA)50%3144227418792205070%20675180
201Guilford College (NC)52%5937489427732165258%205148128
202Eckerd College (FL)64%5942238493942716369%21411019
203Lyon College (AR)43%3240070447251455964%199154182
204Virginia Union University (VA)33%8232130357382024226%195182194
205Southern Virginia University (VA)35%2134761340131697664%203178144
206Marymount California University (CA)37%4036769410992364357%196211192
207Allen University (SC)28%3422522299891482217%198211198
208Spring Hill College (AL)52%4644342448741361565%207160181
209Meredith College (NC)58%7238347430532183371%209173119
210East-West University (IL)30%1424765297692177519%201211209
211Univ. of South Carolina–Beaufort (SC)*32%4934692402351452655%208190168
212Stevens-Henager College (UT)30%1328935298782537726%202211214
213Johnson C. Smith University (NC)45%7929804334471879227%211122207
214Birmingham-Southern College (AL)64%3446452522732183676%213101143
215Marymount Manhattan College (NY)46%4740796376143212767%21519293
216King's College (NY)50%32N/A414152911477%212211177
217Talladega College (AL)27%6624125265911483519%217200211
218Ave Maria University (FL)54%36N/A511681573660%218185197
Definitions:
Median earnings: median annual earnings 10 years after entering college.
Pell/non-Pell graduation gap: graduation rate for Pell students minus the graduation rate for non-Pell students; a positive number indicates that students who receive Pell grants graduate at a higher rate than those who don’t, and vice versa.
First-gen students: percent of students who are the first in their family to go to 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