Best values in private colleges under $20,000

Big or small, liberal arts colleges or major universities -- here are your best bets for getting a private-college education at a reasonable price.

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Feb 4, 2014 9:54AM
It is a tragedy to see how ridiculous college tuition has risen over the past decades. When I first started at a junior college, it cost me only $67  for a full-time 16 credit hour per quarter. That was back in the 70's! Now one 5 hour course cost ten times or more! Yes, college grads make more than high school grads...but, while a college grad is paying a $100,000 + college loan he or she may never be able to pay that off in a lifetime alone with having to purchase a car or house, if that's possible. Meanwhile, a high school grad may not have that expense to take away from his or her's salary. So who takes home the most money? It could be a draw on that one if the high school grad is smart enough to seek a good job such as a government or civil service job. My boss never set foot in a college classroom and she makes about $60,000 for the city where I work and in the neighboring city, the city clerk makes about $80,000 and she never attended college either. I have a friend who worked for the government for 35 years and worked her way up the ladder and was making over $90,000 a year and is enjoying her retirement with a very nice pension! I have a two year degree and only one course away from having another two year degree and they make more than I do!! Also, If you choose a career in health care, the hospital where you are employed with might still pay for your tuition only if you maintain a C average or better. That is only provided it it is within the health field. My daughter-in-law just graduated from nursing school with a Pell Grant because my son is working for the city and doesn't make that much money right now so she qualified for the grant and it didn't cost her a dime. Why go out and get a low interest government loan that you'll be owing for the rest of your life? You have to be very smart and savvy to hunt ways to avoid a debt trap such as this. There are no excuses. It can be done!
Feb 4, 2014 2:27PM
This article is very misleading.  Sure, these schools offer "need base aid".  But what is meant by "need base aid"?  Are these scholarships or loans?  What are the financial requirements to get need based assistance?  The schools don't seem to tell us that.  Also, they are talking about tuition only.  Living expenses are not included.  Most likely the loan amounts reported are the public loans.  Who knows what the private loans are. Parents and students need to be very careful before they get involved or else they can end up with tremendous life long loans that are impossible to pay back. This could become a terrible drag on the economy because graduates with large loans will not be able to buy cars, houses, etc. Be careful!
Feb 4, 2014 12:21PM
Outrageous...these are considered "affordable"?  Only the wealthy can afford these without loans.  These kids are graduating with "mortgages" on their future that they will never be able to pay off.  That has to be a killer for America's future economy. 
Feb 9, 2014 3:57PM
I know I won't win the love of most on here, but that is okay.  I will say what I feel and let the thumbs down go up.  When I look around today, I see those who worked so hard all their life and have little to show for it.  I see others who were laid back, never worked much and didn't care if they worked or not.   They get a government check, free everything and they still don't worry.  If I could back up about 40 years, I would hunt, fish and enjoy my life.  I would have a trailer or a little house more like a cabin and an old truck or car worth not more than 2000 or so.  And, I would apply for everything imaginable.  I am not much better off now but I haven't applied for anything.  I know not to.  There are too many others I've had to support and still have to support.
Feb 4, 2014 7:19AM
Lets pay for all Education,for out future leaders,they will carry the torch .We waste enough money.give the next generation a break they will have enough to handle.Cut back on all sending to much waste.Bring all the troops home.Let send the money on things we need EST.
Feb 14, 2014 1:39PM
An education is the only investment which always pays a dividend.  (Benjamin Franklin)

College was a great opportunity for me but in my time,s it was affordable. Yes, I could have pursued a trade but I never could have done what I did with my life without an education.
College does not make you smart or necessarily successful. It is, however, a chance for people to reach their full potential not just as workers but as citizens and human beings. To push so many people out of that opportunity with these high cost is indicative of a fading culture.
20 years from now no one will care about the size of our army or about the wealth of our most privileged citizens. What they will see is a society that failed to invest in their children and their future.

Feb 14, 2014 2:34PM

Unlike some posters here, I was pleasantly surprised by this article.  I personally attended a small liberal arts college (Presbyterian Church USA affiliated) with an undergraduate enrollment at that time of 400 (it's doubled since then, which was, shall we say, a while ago).  I received a tremendous and well-rounded education and graduated with under $7,000 in student loan debt.


Their applicant to admission ratio continues to be about 10%.  They are pretty picky about who they enroll, but there is a lot of financial aid available, making it truly affordable even now for low-income students, many of whom get a full ride.


I still totally support the small private liberal-arts college model.  Large public universities may appear less expensive, but you get a lot more educational bang for your buck with a smaller private school that doesn't have to kow-tow at the altar of political correctness.

Feb 14, 2014 3:53PM
Another useless article from MSN... they assume everybody will receive the need based aid.  Only a couple of schools on the list are actually affordable if your parents are 'average earning citizens', which exempts them from receiving need based aid for their child.

College is turning into more of a big business mentality where the dollar is all they care about. Four years, a couple hundred thousand in tuition, room, board, books and associated fees and your kid gets a useless degree, told how wonderful Obama is and all white people are racist.  What a bargain!

Feb 14, 2014 2:02PM
What's with No. 7 listed Harvard???????
Feb 14, 2014 2:14PM

Ask Brian Williams 14 million per year. Ask Matt Lauer 20 million a year. 123 countries seen at someone's expense. never graduated college sitting in class room. one high school grad other finished bachelors degree on internet classes. Both never did anything to make a difference in other peoples lives. Never invented anything . Why do you need college when employers discriminate legally everyday and underachievers but suckers get promoted .

Feb 14, 2014 5:22PM
One small fact, folks.  Harvard and Yale and Amherst are reasonable if you can get in.  I suspect very few people going to Christendom and Berea and wherever are going to be going to Harvard anytime soon, lest they are looking for racial, ethnic, cultural, etc. diversity or you are 11 feet twelve and have a sweet foul shot.
Feb 14, 2014 7:31PM
As if 17K-20K a year is anything to write home about. 
Feb 14, 2014 5:39PM
Feb 9, 2014 10:21PM
May 11, 2014 8:47AM
OH Really? I love these articles about "affordable" college education. I was enlisted in the military for 21 years then worked as a federal civilian worker for another 11 years.  I was the exception.  We saved and invested wisely  (partial effort and maybe some luck along the way) and created a substantial savings and own two homes outright. We put our first daughter through a private university who received a modest 15,000 merit scholarship and she worked as a Resident Assistant in her last two years receiving free room and board. She graduated and got a job making less than 30K. When we did the FAFSA, for private universities they said we could foot the entire tuition and room and board at 60K +. What a joke.  After working so hard all of our life to save and build a modest nestegg to support ourselves during retirement universities expect us to hand over everything we worked to save,  Yes, I mean everything. If you make between 100K-150K, own your home and have some cash savings do not expect your child to receive a dime. Basically what they assume is if you want your child to have an education and you managed to be somewhat financially successful then you owe everything back to a useless and cut throat university where receiving any liberal arts degree will earn you at best minimum or just above minimum wage.  There is no practicality in LIberal Arts education and it is show-cased as the way to get ahead in the future. For foreign students, private universities especially will fork over generous financial aid by trusting whatever their parent misleadingly put on their financial statements because there is really no way for them to verify what they are indicating on the forms.  I know,  I had one parent literally tell me she just "ticked NO" to all of the questions asking if she owned a house, had any savings etc... then jokingly said, they gave her almost free tuition! Foreign students are given better deals than US citizens.  Also, undocumented aliens now can receive "in-state" residency where I cannot because I have served the federal government overseas for many years and cannot qualify for state residency for tuition purposes. There is no justice when it comes to college education and it is a cut-throat business where the cost/benefit analysis does not make it a wise path.
Interesting to see that BYU charges fees based on one's religion.
I wonder of they get any kind of Federal monies ?

Feb 14, 2014 2:26PM
Who wrote this article? I bet the person who wrote this tripe is the same one that thinks you can tax Americans as much as you want with no reprisals.
Feb 14, 2014 2:52PM

What? Yale and Harvard affordable? Who are you trying to fool MSN? I`m starting to find most of your articles to be a bunch of corporate ****. How much did these colleges pay up to make the list? Please, not all of us out in the real world are stupid. I`m sticking with KPFK news radio. That`s real news with no corporate donations and no personal agendas. They are the real deal. I recommend them to anyone who wants to hear the truth without Corporations and special interest sticking their dirty hands in it. Google it. You will not regret it.     

Feb 14, 2014 3:26PM

college is great.


paying for it, paying off student loan debt when there aren't good paying jobs out there-isn't.


i guess if everyone got degrees in science and math that would be terrific.


of course, we might miss out on a lot of english lit or artistic talent.


maybe not, but i'd bet probably.


fact is, a lot of people aren't that talented in science and math. but they still have a lot to benefit society


i love my microwave oven, but i also find that art enriches my life!


for example, i couldn't image my life without andy warhol's work.





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