Top 10 Best Value Private Colleges and Universities

These schools represent the best value a private school has to offer. Colleges and universities included on this list offer a diversity of degrees, programs, report the highest SAT/ACT score for this incoming class, have affordable tuitions and/or offer generous financial aid. Schools with a total number of undergraduates below 500 or reporting an affiliation with any religious organization or faith were not included on this list.

1. Park University

Perched high above the Missouri River in a suburb of Kansas City, Park University’s flagship campus in Parkville, Mo. offers both proximity to big-city excitement and the safe, relaxed atmosphere of a small town. The 1,700-strong undergraduate student body at the Parkville Campus represents all 50 states and more than 100 countries, and the school prides itself on its diversity and global outlook. Tuition for full-time undergraduates is a fraction of other private institutions (and is lower than many public schools), and average class size and student-to-faculty ratio are low.

Park’s Promise: Serving those who serve their community and country with personalized, globally-relevant education for life.

  • Tuition: $391 per credit hour, or $9,384 for a 24-credit hour, two-semester academic year
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 12 to 1
  • Park serves more than 22,000 students annually at 40 campus centers in 21 states, and online, including campuses in Kansas City, Mo., Independence, Mo., Austin, Texas and Barstow, Calif, and 34 military installations nationwide.


2. Howard University

Long recognized as one of the nation’s leading HSBC institutions, Howard University is also a good value, with affordable tuition and financial aid awarded to 84% of its undergraduates. Many of Howard’s academic programs utilize its unique proximity to the White House, the Capitol and many other Washington cultural and historic institutions. Recently Howard has invested significantly in world-class facilities such as the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center and the Technology Center.

  • Tuition: $23,970
  • Almost $50 million awarded each year in university scholarships and grants
  • Recognized for research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
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3. Roosevelt University

Named to honor the inclusive, democratic ideals of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, this dynamic metropolitan university provides an environment of academic excellence and challenge for a student body remarkably diverse in age, gender, background and interests. Roosevelt University offers 126 degree programs and the choice of two locations: a historic downtown campus in Chicago’s cultural and commercial district or a state-of-the-art facility in suburban Schaumburg, IL. Roosevelt’s tuition is $26,900, but about 95% of students receive financial aid.

  • Early Roosevelt advisory board members included Albert Einstein, Pearl Buck, and Thomas Mann.
  • Commitment to social justice informs academic programs and campus culture.
  • Flexible scheduling and numerous course options make attendance convenient for working students.


4. The College Of Idaho

About a half hour from the state capitol of Boise, the College of Idaho offers strong academic programs based in the liberal arts and designed to prepare students for a lifetime of learning. Recently, the College of Idaho instituted a special initiative to attract and support first-generation students and transfers from two-year colleges. A six-week winter term offers special opportunities for field experiences and intensive study off campus. The school’s enrollment is up 22% in the past two years.

  • Tuition: $26,670
  • 98% of students receive aid in the form of institutional grants and scholarships
  • The College of Idaho claims to have the highest graduation rate in the state.


5. Hampton University

Hampton University is a leading HSBC institution noted for excellent academics and outstanding research, particularly in health, physics and engineering. Located on a peninsula in the Tidewater area of Virginia, between Virginia Beach and historic Williamsburg, Hampton offers a beautiful campus, affordable tuition, and a low 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio that provides personalized instruction and advisement. Hampton’s 5,700 students represent 49 states and 35 territories and countries.

  • Tuition: $21,552
  • 80% of students receive financial aid
  • Students may apply for admission as early as the end of junior year in high school.
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6. Wells College

Built on 300 scenic acres in the Finger Lakes region of central New York, Wells College offers academic programs that emphasize critical thinking, creativity and experiential learning in the form of student-faculty research, internships and study-abroad opportunities. An all-female college until 2015, Wells now has a student body of about 572 men and women. Most classes are small and seminar-style due to Wells’s very low student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1. Unique cross-registration programs and other intercollegiate affiliations let Wells students register for courses or even earn joint degrees with other institutions.

  • Tuition: $37,500
  • About 90% of students receive financial aid
  • Close academic and social relationship with nearby Cornell University


7. Flagler College

The 2,700+ students who attend Flagler College in historic St. Augustine, FL, partake of quality academic programs in an atmosphere steeped in beauty and history—the college’s main building, Ponce de Leon Hall, is a National Historic Landmark. Flagler’s tuition costs are low; additionally, most students receive financial aid. Career planning starts as early as freshman year through Flagler’s four-year career plan, which is a graduation requirement.

  • Tuition: $16,180
  • More than 85% of students receive financial aid.
  • acceptance rate: 50%


8. York College Of Pennsylvania

York College of Pennsylvania offers a wide variety of majors and minors but puts particular emphasis on career development and professional programs such as nursing, teaching and engineering. Its student body of 4,850 is relatively large but it has a relatively small average class size of 19. Most students come from the mid-Atlantic area and are academically able, with two-thirds graduating in the top two-fifths of their high school class. York’s 155-acre suburban campus is an hour from Baltimore, MD, and two hours from Washington, DC.

  • Tuition: $16,970.
  • Over 90% of students receive financial aid, with the average financial aid over $165700.
  • Graduates have a 90% career placement rate.
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9. Aurora University

Aurora University operates a campus in Aurora, 40 miles west of Chicago and the second-largest city in Illinois, and another one in Williams Bay, WI. A total of 3,580 students attend the school, choosing from 40 majors and 34 minors that cover the liberal arts and provide preparation for careers in nursing, social work, law and education. The school’s location on the East-West corridor gives students easy access to jobs and internships. The low student-faculty ratio of 17-to-1 supports personalized education.

  • Tuition: $22,000
  • More than 95% receive financial aid of some kind
  • Within 6 months of graduation, 82% of graduates are employed full time and 15% are pursuing graduate studies.


10. Molloy College

Founded over 50 years ago by the Dominican Sisters, Molloy has grown from a 44-student Catholic women’s college to a diverse, coeducational community with more than 3,425 undergraduates on its main campus 30 minutes from New York City. The school offers 50 academic programs, including the fourth-largest nursing program in the country and programs in such emerging fields as music therapy. Financial aid, including a large number of merit-based full and partial scholarships, is available, and Molloy’s tuition is affordable. At present, Molloy is an all-commuter campus, although it recently proposed building its first residence hall.

  • Tuition: $29,500 per year
  • Low 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio facilitates personalized instruction