2021 Bachelor’s Colleges Ranking

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 graduatesPercent of grads above 150% of poverty lineNet price of attendance for families below $75,000 incomePercent of loan principal remaining 5 years laterPredicted principal remainingSocial mobility rankResearch rankService rank
1Cooper Un. Advance. of Science & Art (NY)87%3175%898970%60%51179
2College of the Ozarks (MO)68%12676%9348N/A82%16687
3William Jewell College (MO)62%4790%1813475%72%5935
4Keene State College (NH)*65%17189%1588473%78%12544
5Loras College (IA)69%5688%1584862%73%15533
6Ohio Northern University (OH)75%9193%1989763%72%111646
7Goshen College (IN)71%3083%1680663%82%43237
8Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MA)*77%3994%828348%68%2178192
9Dordt University (IA)68%7686%2263842%71%624117
10Taylor University (IN)77%7984%2027660%72%2313107
11Northland College (WI)58%3479%1597079%78%73106
12Maryville College (TN)55%7578%1690182%82%83171
13Elizabeth City State University (NC)*42%12174%1928120%121%245116
14Elmira College (NY)59%8089%2012583%82%441514
15Bethel College (KS)53%1988%2101974%87%12248
16University of Maine at Farmington (ME)*57%11185%1215387%86%264913
17Lake Superior State University (MI)*67%6291%911589%86%173561
18Wisconsin Lutheran College (WI)63%5288%1637964%77%93499
19Carroll College (MT)66%4286%2069772%71%80721
20Marietta College (OH)62%7089%1759773%77%393220
21Northwestern College (IA)65%5888%2098449%74%272862
22CA State Univ. at Maritime Academy (CA)*66%2394%1453354%74%729178
23Oregon Institute of Technology (OR)*51%5893%1411976%85%1927122
24Hiram College (OH)59%7376%1965895%94%114811
25University of South Carolina at Upstate (SC)*53%17087%14035102%102%2111425
26CUNY York College (NY)*39%22780%3639103%106%107672
27Alma College (MI)64%7686%1881677%78%641148
28Castleton University (VT)*56%7789%1467279%86%3012519
29University of Mount Union (OH)59%12789%1996282%78%544217
30Boricua College52%3672%1493290%112%820065
31Brigham Young University at Idaho (ID)68%22059%531678%94%3153187
32University of Jamestown (ND)48%2992%1726560%78%403667
33University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (AR)*29%13278%10148125%128%103660
34Univ. of Minnesota at Crookston (MN)*53%3990%786978%89%1415095
35Farmingdale State College (NY)*54%5187%610086%86%2819823
36Colby-Sawyer College (NH)57%9191%2284273%79%425834
37Manchester University (IN)54%6588%1668181%87%711875
38University of Hawaii at West Oahu (HI)*51%1479%944794%97%1819470
39Penn State at Lehigh Valley (PA)*58%5990%1513277%79%4200196
40Penn State at Altoona (PA)*68%23190%1990277%79%13101155
41Alice Lloyd College (KY)35%4774%1313199%87%3820015
42Tennessee Wesleyan University (TN)57%3384%924895%88%5113612
43Lincoln University (MO)*25%4189%8782118%114%157217
44Claflin University (SC)50%15577%19096127%129%793336
45Maine Maritime Academy (ME)*67%4394%2115449%72%2093177
46Penn State at Hazleton (PA)*55%9390%1694877%85%22174134
47Penn State at Abington (PA)*54%16990%1555077%83%16149185
48Hastings College (NE)59%4787%1969873%79%673773
49Penn State at Shenango (PA)*42%1290%1172977%96%25200113
50Benedictine College (KS)67%7383%2055567%71%505686
51Millikin University (IL)63%9587%1811488%86%653892
52Oklahoma Baptist University (OK)57%9385%1692982%87%5745100
53Montana State University at Northern (MT)*41%1090%1177785%96%3713285
54Central State University (OH)*27%10573%11970132%133%962382
55LeMoyne-Owen College (TN)21%17100%9262125%134%3584127
56Olivet College (MI)49%6587%19762104%96%618752
57Bluefield State College (WV)*40%1889%8197115%95%1471102
58Grand View University (IA)58%5388%1733191%86%6612635
59Mars Hill University (NC)38%7685%1576399%97%848228
60University of South Carolina at Aiken (SC)*47%8984%13578103%99%9425112
61University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (PA)*45%5288%1639671%88%3673162
62Valley City State University (ND)*45%1991%978268%85%4717553
63Voorhees College (SC)34%5576%17284128%134%4116088
64Heidelberg University (OH)46%6290%1991187%83%1254132
65University of Maine at Fort Kent (ME)*52%2284%1050090%94%6819027
66North Carolina Wesleyan College (NC)61%4084%13795112%112%33117156
67Warner Pacific University (OR)51%1985%2113099%96%11314610
68Penn State Fayette at Eberly (PA)*54%2090%1311377%83%34133159
69Penn State at Schuylkill (PA)*46%5690%1397377%92%31134195
70Kentucky State University (KY)*26%6083%8157129%119%1649108
71Indiana University at Kokomo (IN)*41%5688%6588104%87%8613930
72Penn State at Scranton (PA)*47%4690%1454977%82%29184194
73Wilberforce University (OH)21%2376%13163127%132%5562157
74Texas Lutheran University (TX)52%7182%1699387%85%1364039
75SUNY Coll. Ag. and Tech. at Cobleskill (NY)*44%3483%1430583%94%6313584
76SUNY Coll. Tech. at Canton (NY)*46%2084%1186396%99%7418945
77Dalton State College (GA)*25%4884%5686103%96%9019326
78Cazenovia College (NY)54%7485%2186687%96%7218050
79Penn State at Berks (PA)*61%12890%1971777%80%32113220
80University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (PA)*46%10188%1789171%77%4685174
81Wilmington College (OH)57%6284%1877692%85%9847103
82North Central University (MN)48%5282%1817782%82%957759
83Ouachita Baptist University (AR)65%6081%1599275%75%10531125
84Carthage College (WI)58%10289%2461980%78%1305057
85Flagler College at St. Augustine (FL)63%11181%1963489%82%7667123
86McPherson College (KS)51%3189%2044987%85%56145124
87Trinity Christian College (IL)61%3888%1946976%87%62138116
88Maranatha Baptist University (WI)53%4272%1698958%82%52100166
89Eastern Nazarene College (MA)55%3081%1910193%94%1622274
90Pacific Union College (CA)56%4285%1800790%88%1333094
91Bethany College (KS)43%2887%2470293%89%11019200
92Briar Cliff University (IA)50%3391%1902289%96%70130104
93Dickinson State University (ND)*36%1587%909167%82%5394176
94Unity College (ME)62%3285%2342282%76%8714356
95Univ. of Arkansas at Fort Smith (AR)*33%14383%9377104%94%7818758
96Mayville State University (ND)*39%1489%1007787%90%77103102
97Newberry College (SC)52%6585%17890103%96%7512996
98Dakota Wesleyan University (SD)50%2892%2024083%83%8912780
99Univ. of Montana-Western (MT)*44%2882%1171193%89%14215818
100Eureka College (IL)58%2489%1800282%83%9216671
101Bluffton University (OH)53%5092%2421983%85%10161132
102Embry-Riddle Aero. Univ. at Prescott (AZ)63%5492%3052587%69%1497141
103Benedict College (SC)33%16274%18115134%131%1374898
104Ctrl. Meth. U. at Lib. Arts & Sciences (MO)53%5287%1929095%83%9712490
105Middle Georgia State Univ. (GA)*24%4083%9118114%107%13819524
106Lees-McRae College (NC)52%2985%1788191%91%102109101
107William Jessup University (CA)70%3679%1900086%88%45200202
108Missouri Southern State Univ. (MO)*37%9983%8547104%91%10614077
109Harris-Stowe State University (MO)*16%2281%9744119%134%11816451
110Penn State at Wilkes-Barre (PA)*50%2890%1349377%77%49152222
111St. Francis College (NY)50%13282%1767292%95%60169186
112Mount Aloysius College (PA)49%2992%2031185%89%11920044
113Howard Payne University (TX)45%5884%2008393%91%1247993
114Union College (NE)52%2689%2038286%84%13111568
115Averett University (VA)44%4985%19344104%98%14415533
116Georgia Gwinnett College (GA)*26%18381%11876112%105%69144182
117Schreiner University (TX)51%5181%1919790%87%14511942
118Penn State at York (PA)*53%4690%1495777%76%48131237
119York College (NE)49%1774%1524189%90%19120106
120Quincy University (IL)53%5587%1443692%82%9996147
121Alderson Broaddus University (WV)46%4986%1665492%96%1359976
122LaGrange College (GA)48%3788%1986696%88%1545779
123University of Maine at Augusta (ME)*28%1982%10175105%104%11219769
124Lewis-Clark State College (ID)*39%4481%977899%92%15210654
125University of Maine at Presque Isle (ME)*47%2380%908896%91%100159131
126Catawba College (NC)52%5983%1726089%91%11772152
127Kansas Wesleyan University (KS)48%2292%2350192%87%88105199
128Iowa Wesleyan University (IA)41%1285%2566394%95%2001289
129Florida Memorial University (FL)42%9675%16936132%126%12388142
130Hannibal-LaGrange University (MO)52%2287%1920690%85%12897133
131Davis & Elkins College (WV)45%2886%1546496%90%17012140
132Rochester College (MI)55%1880%1471598%96%108141143
133University of Antelope Valley (CA)°76%2060%11947106%93%109200111
134Adrian College (MI)52%9386%2428285%85%16639148
135Penn State at Beaver (PA)*51%3490%1368777%81%58167238
136Miami Univ. at Hamilton (OH)*23%5189%949482%90%93172172
137Penn. State at New Kensington (PA)*52%1890%1382077%78%85168197
138Lander University (SC)*47%9584%12872105%99%13295149
139Sterling College (KS)43%3584%1818688%91%12083184
140Morris College (SC)30%6175%16351127%135%126104158
141Tabor College (KS)48%2584%2291487%89%14180144
142Berkeley Coll. at Woodland Park (NJ)°37%9378%16782108%116%111200120
143Blue Mountain College (MS)55%1788%10676107%88%107107191
144Rasmussen College at Florida (FL)°27%682%18159110%114%129199109
145Oakland City University (IN)51%2086%1264190%88%81170217
146Paul Smith's College (NY)50%3184%2225278%77%104177161
147Saint Augustine's University (NC)33%8177%23227128%132%16074115
148Ohio Valley University (WV)38%1686%16341101%92%18420022
149Thiel College (PA)41%6886%2209293%88%17946139
150Culver-Stockton College (MO)50%4889%1817893%89%15160188
151Barton College (NC)50%5089%21522102%97%15592121
152Oral Roberts University (OK)46%7977%1897198%94%15855169
153Fisher College (MA)31%2779%21581102%108%17820043
154Humphreys Univ at Stockton/Modesto (CA)40%578%12130125%108%115200165
155Trinity Baptist College (FL)35%1176%1503784%102%127200151
156Southwestern Adventist University (TX)43%3577%18979104%99%16591136
157West Virginia Univ. Inst. of Tech. (WV)*25%2586%868384%86%140137164
158West Virginia State University (WV)*30%4174%11765116%93%2331466
159East Texas Baptist University (TX)41%5585%1926596%92%16159189
160Central Christian College of Kansas (KS)38%2484%1371593%99%91200227
161Greensboro College (NC)40%3084%21587106%100%17718163
162Life Pacific University (CA)51%1069%1908898%94%15964180
163Erskine College and Seminary (SC)60%3578%3080281%84%19626190
164Brigham Young University at Hawaii (HI)64%2561%1066374%85%14852230
165Kentucky Christian University (KY)29%2581%17821100%95%2167531
166Defiance College (OH)44%3391%2401190%91%18812378
167Keystone College (PA)45%5380%2113396%96%146154150
168Penn State at Greater Allegheny (PA)*41%3790%1460877%87%82200239
169Oklahoma Panhandle State Univ. (OK)*30%1477%977699%91%168116141
170Brescia University (KY)37%1876%1151397%96%19018549
171McMurry University (TX)40%4583%19943102%96%18665145
172John Paul the Great Catholic Univ. (CA)57%679%2363155%77%116200212
173University of Tennessee at Southern (TN)*35%5386%1786099%90%172200105
174Shaw University (NC)26%7075%18293131%130%1939091
175William Penn University (IA)44%3687%19198102%98%156186140
176Oakwood University (AL)47%7370%24644125%117%2375138
177University of Providence (MT)46%2283%1969495%89%20610255
178Livingstone College (NC)29%7374%17126130%135%15389210
179Hilbert College (NY)52%4585%1362096%89%121176229
180Miles College (AL)24%8378%14971129%135%134188209
181Ferrum College (VA)34%8982%21133100%103%150179173
182South University at Austin (TX)°16%079%23927117%102%18320081
183Glenville State College (WV)*26%3975%15174114%95%22012229
184Corban University (OR)56%4976%2118376%82%143162213
185Huntingdon College (AL)46%3881%19048101%93%20344160
186University of the Ozarks (AR)45%3377%1294191%88%17569211
187Philander Smith College (AR)36%4075%14725130%131%2266838
188William Peace University (NC)50%4982%21224104%99%139200216
189Bay State College (MA)°38%785%31390104%108%19720064
190Kentucky Wesleyan College (KY)38%3181%2044395%84%20778110
191University of Mobile (AL)48%3783%14699113%95%19981128
192Bluefield College (VA)49%1385%2193799%97%181183130
193Rogers State University (OK)*24%2383%13605106%106%182192129
194Miami Univ. at Middletown (OH)*20%3089%1164982%88%174182181
195Kuyper College (MI)54%974%1635377%87%163200203
196Trinity International Univ. at Florida (FL)40%075%1638399%117%187200146
197Southwestern Christian University (OK)^^39%1377%13718108%101%167165218
198Paine College (GA)21%2779%15820130%132%19843231
199Central Penn College (PA)°37%788%18423108%120%180200153
200Ottawa University at Ottawa (KS)42%2486%22245104%91%20917383
201Nevada State College (NV)*28%1578%12591108%103%21015197
202Warner University (FL)52%2575%15666115%108%173155225
203Huston-Tillotson University (TX)28%3182%16822124%121%21514289
204Jarvis Christian College (TX)19%1872%13592130%135%169200214
205Central Baptist College (AR)32%875%15609105%94%22120047
206Mitchell College (CT)42%2977%2316192%89%176200207
207Holy Cross College (IN)39%1986%1972492%73%171200221
208Bacone College (OK)^^22%1381%22100117%124%195200137
209Concordia University at Ann Arbor (MI)35%2090%2297394%84%204111168
210Limestone College (SC)47%2284%22848114%107%194157183
211Toccoa Falls College (GA)52%4570%2055586%92%185148223
212Belmont Abbey College (NC)47%3776%1913297%85%212163118
213Wiley College (TX)^^34%2970%15642130%127%202161171
214High Point University (NC)63%7980%3356979%71%223118135
215Warner Pacific Univ. Adult Program (OR)62%585%1753199%87%189200224
216Finlandia University (MI)38%1173%20259100%96%23070126
217Emmanuel College (GA)39%2473%16892107%91%24112163
218University of Valley Forge (PA)45%3075%1895496%94%20198235
219Brevard College (NC)42%2876%2105392%87%213112198
220Wright State Univ. at Lake Campus (OH)*29%1187%931699%81%192200219
221Truett McConnell University (GA)38%2679%1632596%91%211200170
222St. Andrews University (NC)36%1979%22747106%100%224108167
223Arizona Christian University (AZ)42%1284%2171394%92%217147208
224Welch College (TN)39%1370%1980491%86%22263236
225Five Towns College (NY)°39%3264%16593100%90%208200226
226Missouri Valley College (MO)31%4385%18690105%96%218191193
227Point University (GA)51%2772%18326119%107%205200234
228Peirce College (PA)32%084%6736120%130%227200154
229Texas College (TX)16%2069%16235126%121%225200205
230San Diego Christian College (CA)42%1966%2888893%98%231120204
231DigiPen Institute of Tech. (WA)°44%1685%3434660%68%214200242
232Edward Waters College (FL)24%3881%12775129%118%228196215
233Altierus Career College at Tampa (FL)°54%056%20645113%119%219200243
234Brookline Coll. at Albuquerque (NM)°61%764%26067117%107%239200119
235Webber International University (FL)37%2179%22416106%99%234171201
236Crowley's Ridge College (AR)35%774%14070107%86%229200228
237Martin University (IN)6%271%15227125%142%238200175
238Art Inst. of Virginia Beach (VA)°37%968%22033116%108%232200240
239Cogswell Polytechnic College (CA)40%879%2756292%85%236200233
240Art Institute of San Antonio (TX)°26%967%21493107%104%235200241
241Paul Quinn College (TX)14%764%10381129%128%24486114
242Living Arts College (NC)°52%1358%25162117%107%240200232
243Beacon College (FL)68%453%3644880%69%242200206
244DeVry University at Ft. Washington (PA)°18%582%31375116%113%243200244
Definitions:
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.
* = public
° = for-profit
^^ Under heightened financial monitoring by the U.S. Department of Education