Top 10 Most Popular Liberal-Leaning Colleges

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Using statistics from over 880 colleges that are considered liberal-leaning, we determined the following schools to be the most popular schools to attend. Finally, by comparing tuition by semester and fees per credit hour, Value Colleges developed this list of the Top 10 Most Popular Liberal-Leaning Colleges in the United States. Typically speaking, liberal colleges are politically left, accepting of different gender identities and sexual orientations, diverse, and known for being extremely tolerant and culturally sensitive.

In addition, many liberal colleges tend to be less strict and often academics focus on student/faculty collaborations and classroom learning. Often functioning as liberal arts schools these colleges may offer a liberal arts education but their belief systems tend to focus on liberal positions politically, economically, environmentally, and socially.

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Evergreen State College

Located in Olympia, Washington, Evergreen State College prides itself in offering education free from endless prerequisites and disconnected classes. Rather, their programs explore the many sides of a theme or topic, which encourages students to take an active and conscious awareness towards how their subject of study can influence the world socially, economically, politically, and environmentally. As a progressive college, Evergreen has a strong national reputation as a leader in developing interdisciplinary academic programs that bend traditional boundaries and produce community leaders.

Evergreen State College students are able to obtain their degrees of choice in the quickest way possible, ensuring savings in higher education costs. Nearly 50% of the university’s 2013 graduates left with a degree and zero debt, and over 88% of the university’s graduates are employed or pursuing professional or graduate studies within one year after college!

Tuition: $217 per credit hour

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University of Vermont

The University of Vermont, located on the shores of Lake Champlain, prides itself in offering the same resources as a major research institution while still maintaining the feel of a smaller liberal arts college, with about 10,000 undergraduates enrolled each year. Diversity and an inclusive environment is a top priority for the University of Vermont, a value that is represented in the student body and faculty, and, according to the Center for Cultural Pluralism this value system continues to carry over into the classroom and all facets of learning at UVM.

The University of Vermont also offers a comprehensive set of financial aid options including loans, scholarships, and a monthly payment plan option that can be used for payments on all tuition or just a portion of the tuition owed.

Tuition: $15,096

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Wheaton College

Uniquely an evangelical college, Wheaton College believes in educating the whole person and this liberal view of education extends into all departments and classrooms. The Wheaton community is diverse and stretches worldwide through engaging other cultures through academics and missions all across the globe. As a transformative liberal arts school, it is Wheaton’s goal to educate students beyond the classroom through interdisciplinary and inclusive study.

Wheaton College believes that higher education should be available to all students and in turn the college awards a number of grants and scholarships annually. In addition, students can apply for financial aid for student loans or work-study opportunities.

Tuition: $34,050

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Clark University

As innovators in liberal arts-based research programs, Clark University is best known for its LEEP value system, which pioneers a model for higher education combining experimental learning opportunities with a liberal arts-based curriculum. LEEP stands for Liberal Education and Effective Practice. The university offers 30 majors and minors with the opportunity for 14 accelerated degrees. These accelerated degrees include their fifth year of study tuition-free!

Clark University is one of the nation’s best colleges for students seeking a superb education with great career preparation and at an affordable price, as recognized in The Princeton Review’s just-released book, “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck.”

Tuition: $42,800

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Mount Holyoke College

As a significant woman’s college in the United States, Mount Holyoke College was founded in 1837 and has since been a leader in woman’s education around the world. Historically and today Mount Holyoke provides an intellectually adventurous education in both the sciences and the liberal arts through a variety of stimulating internationally recognized programs.

The college is proud to boast an exceptionally diverse staff and student body and is proud to carry a campus-wide curriculum that celebrates individualism and diversity. And since its founding, Mount Holyoke has unfailingly satisfying access to a college education for women from all socioeconomic backgrounds and offers competitive and strong financial aid packages for all students that can include loans, grants, and scholarships.

Tuition: $45,680

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Smith College

Smith College’s strong investment in diversity and individualized acceptance is supported by The Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, and these values extend beyond the classroom and are reflected in all facets of teaching at Smith. Smith College believes that this open and accepting environment is essential for students to achieve their highest level of academic excellence. The college is proud to be environmentally sustainable as well, and students are expected to integrate their learning across disciplines to further support and protect our environment.

Financial aid at Smith College is inclusive and students have the option to apply for loans, grants, and scholarships. In addition, the college offers a semi-flexible monthly payment plan for tuition payments made directly to the college.

Tuition: $47,620

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Grinnell College

Grinnell College believes that by offering a diverse community of faculty, staff, and student body, and through teaching social responsibility to all students, alumni will grow and learn to become moral, intellectual, and healthy individuals in society both locally and globally. As a leader in social justice education, Grinnell focuses on this mission campus-wide. The Social Justice Action Group works towards justice, peace, and positive social change with missions that promote volunteerism, build global understanding, and fight hunger.

In the 2015-2016 academic year over $58 million dollars in financial aid awards were allotted to 87% of the college’s students, with an additional gift aid award amount of over $50 million dollars.

Tuition: $48,322; $1,510 per credit hour

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Swarthmore College

Always an innovator in creating leaders both locally and globally Swarthmore College provides a liberal arts education and engineering curriculum that promote individualized learning, provides volunteer opportunities, and initiates projects that explore some of society’s greatest challenges. With a community-based learning system, the classroom at Swarthmore extends beyond the campus and into the world.

A Quaker legacy of responsibility guides the college’s cause for teaching social responsibility, simple living, and conservation of resources environmentally and economically, with sustainability at the core. In fact, about 50% of Swarthmore students receive some sort of scholarship assistance and a total of 70% of the students enrolled share over $44 million dollars in financial aid and work opportunities on campus annually.

Tuition: $48,720

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Carleton College

Carleton College, nestled in the historic river town of Northfield, Minnesota, is widely recognized for its strong and varied liberal arts curriculum with over 1,000 courses and 32 majors to offer. Carleton promotes individual growth and learning, plus community strength locally and globally through asking difficult questions that encourage innovative, forward-thinking. At the same time, the college’s strong roots in civil deliberation, ethical action, and academic integrity nurture students to become community leaders near and far.

As a leader in diversity, Carleton College welcomes students of all races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds. Offering some of the most vigorous financial aid programs available in the United States today, Carleton is committed to meeting 100% of the financial needs for all of their admitted students for all four years of that student’s enrollment.

Tuition: $48,987

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Skidmore College

Skidmore College, located in beautiful Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, is a front runner in service-based learning in the United States. Up to 50% of Skidmore’s student body participates in community service and fundraising proceedings every year and the university offers more than fifty service-based courses annually. With creativity at the core of learning at Skidmore, students are encouraged to bring creative thought to the classroom, which leads to creativity and innovation later in their fields of study and the workforce. Competitive research programs engage student and faculty year-round, including the grant-based Summer Student-Faculty Research Program.

More than 20% of the school operating budget is put towards financial aid, coming to about $42 million dollars annually. In the 2015-2016 school year 40% of students received need-based grants, 45% received some sort of financial aid and 50% were given the opportunity to work on campus.

Tuition: $50,684

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Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.

With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.

Find your perfect value college is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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