46 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in USA for Financial Aid & Salary

There has always been a big debate around the topic “if liberal arts degrees are useless“. In this post, we will look at the best liberal arts colleges in USA for financial aid and salary potential.

Liberal Arts Education

Liberal arts colleges focus more on humanities, arts, sciences, and communication programs. However, there are liberal arts colleges (e.g. Harvey Mudd) that are excellent for STEM and other pre-professional majors.

Employers often rank soft skills such as critical thinking and communication—hallmarks of liberal arts training—above technical aptitude as essential for career readiness.

Liberal arts study helps students develop strong foundational competencies

– Paul Timmins, director of career services for the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis

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    Given the complexity & diversity of our globalized world and increasing shift to remote work-culture (courtesy COVID-19 pandemic), liberal arts education will be more relevant than ever. Read How Technology & Digitization are Creating Demand for Humanities & Liberal Arts Graduates.

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    Liberal Arts Colleges in USA

    When it comes to countries, the USA is definitely one of the best for pursuing liberal arts degrees. The liberal arts colleges in the US are usually private institutions. Hence, the tuition fees (and other costs like boarding) are quite high. However, these liberal arts colleges also provide generous financial aid.

    For US nationals, families earning less than USD $100,000 per annum could receive 50 – 57% of the total cost of attendance through aid. For international students, 20 – 40% of the total cost is achievable as well.

    Best Liberal Arts Colleges in USA for Financial Aid & Salary Potential

    CollegeAcceptance Rate (%)SAT Score RangeAppx. Annual Expenses (Tuition & Boarding)Average Annual Cost after Financial AidMedian Annual Entry Salary (0-5 years)Median Annual Mid-Career Salary (10+ years)
    Harvey Mudd College141490 - 1570$76,000$36,000$91,400$162,500
    Colgate University231330 - 1500$75,000$24,500$69,700$144,800
    Williams College131410 - 1550$75,500$19,500$67,600$142,300
    Swarthmore College91380 - 1540$72,000$20,000$67,700$141,000
    Washington and Lee University191360 - 1500$73,000$25,000$66,500$140,600
    Claremont McKenna College101360 - 1510$76,000$24,000$70,800$138,500
    Haverford College161380 - 1540$76,500$26,500$61,300$136,000
    Lafayette College311250 - 1440$74,000$28,000$68,400$131,300
    Bucknell University341260 - 1430$75,000$39,000$67,700$129,500
    Amherst College111310 - 1520$76,000$20,500$64,800$127,100
    Union College431220 - 1420$73,000$37,000$64,200$124,700
    Bates College121385 - 1460$73,500$26,000$59,100$124,500
    Bowdoin College91360 - 1510$73,000$22,000$62,800$124,400
    Wesleyan University161300 - 1480$75,000$24,000$62,700$123,600
    College of the Holy Cross341260 - 1430$71,000$35,000$63,300$123,100
    Gettysburg College481200 - 1370$72,000$31,000$58,400$122,100
    Pomona College71390 - 1540$74,500$16,000$65,200$121,900
    Carleton College191360 - 1540$74,000$30,500$58,900$120,100
    Barnard College121340 - 1520$78,000$28,000$60,000$119,900
    Hobart William Smith Colleges661180 - 1360$74,000$35,000$56,500$119,600
    Wabash College641120 - 1320$58,750$21,000$62,300$119,300
    Davidson College181310 - 1480$70,000$24,500$57,200$118,900
    Occidental College371300 - 1480$76,750$33,500$56,800$118,800
    Middlebury College151360 - 1530$74,000$24,500$61,800$118,400
    Trinity College331300 - 1450$76,900$30,000$60,700$116,800
    Denison University291200 - 1410$69,000$31,000$54,400$115,200
    Whitman College561240 - 1450$69,500$37,500$55,800$114,500
    University of Richmond281290 - 1460$69,750$25,900$60,500$112,300
    Kenyon College341270 - 1460$74,500$33,000$55,400$110,200
    Reed College391320 - 1520$75,600$32,500$57,300$109,700
    Rhodes College451220 - 1430$64,500$28,000$52,000$109,500
    Wellesley College221360 - 1530$75,000$21,000$61,600$109,300
    Lake Forest College551020 - 1240$62,900$25,500$55,900$108,200
    Vassar College241370 - 1520$75,000$26,000$56,300$107,700
    St Lawrence University421180 - 1350$73,000$27,000$56,500$107,300
    Wheaton College851220 - 1440$51,000$27,000$54,600$106,800
    Wofford College601190 - 1350$62,600$26,500$52,800$106,600
    Skidmore College301220 - 1400$74,000$25,000$55,000$106,600
    Colby College101380 - 1520$73,000$19,000$61,000$105,700
    DePauw University641130 - 1360$66,900$26,500$57,800$105,500
    Furman University571240 - 1420$66,000$31,000$52,200$104,800
    Lawrence University621200 - 1430$66,100$25,000$50,800$104,100
    Grinnell College231370 - 1530$70,900$27,500$54,400$103,500
    Smith College321240 - 1470$75,000$28,000$54,000$103,300
    Macalester College321320 - 1510$71,000$29,000$54,100$101,400
    Oberlin College361280 - 1480$77,000$39,500$53,900$99,400


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    Related Articles:

    College Admission Journey of Devanshi Rathi – Liberal Arts & Business Student at UC Berkeley

    85 Best US Colleges that Offer Generous Financial Aid to International Students

    Complete Guide to US College Admission Process

    Placements and Salary Statistics of Top Liberal Arts Colleges in India

    If you are interested in learning more about studying or applying to US universities, please schedule a 30 or 60 minutes online 1-on-1 counselling session with one of our experienced college admission counselors.

    Alternatively, send us an email at [email protected]!


    Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

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    Tanmoy Ray
    I am a Career Adviser & Admission Consultant. Additionally, I also manage Operations at Stoodnt. I did my Masters from the UK (Aston University) and have worked at the University of Oxford (UK), Utrecht University (Netherlands), University of New South Wales (Australia) and MeetUniversity (India).
    Articles: 538

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