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2021 Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate's Degree Schools

Identifying Quality Schools at More Affordable Prices

770 Colleges
$4,805 Avg Tuition & Fees*
$23,773 Avg Salary

Finding the Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate's Degree School for You

In 2018-2019, 547,539 degrees and certificates were awarded to liberal arts general studies students, making the major the most popular in the country.

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for students. You can choose a traditional brick and mortar school, or with the growth of online education, you can attend a school half-way across the country without even leaving your house. Also there are many trade schools that offer short-term programs that open up more career options.

The Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate's Degree Schools ranking is one of many tools that Course Advisor has developed to help you make your educational decision. Our analysis looked at 770 schools in the United States to see which associate's degree programs offered the best value experiences for liberal arts students with the aim of identifying those quality schools that are more affordable than some of their counterparts.

This ranking is not just a list of inexpensive schools. We also consider each school's quality, since we believe a low-quality school may not be a 'bargain' at any price. More specifically, we discount our quality score by the published tuition and fees charged by a school. This gives the cost per unit of quality for each college. The value is determined by how much quality your dollar buys.

For nationwide and regional rankings, we use out-of-state tuition and fees in our calculations. Average in-state tuition and fees are used for our statewide rankings.

2021 Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools in the United States

Check out the liberal arts associate's degree programs at these schools if you want to get the best value for your educational dollar.

Top 25 Best Schools for Affordable Quality for an Associate's in Liberal Arts

Our 2021 rankings named New Mexico Junior College the best value school in the United States for liberal arts general studies students working on their associate’s degree. Located in the remote town of Hobbs, New Mexico Junior College is a public college with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at New Mexico Junior College are $1,968 per year. After completing their Associate's Degree, liberal arts graduates from New Mexico Junior College carry an average student debtload of $7,767. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $63.

Full Liberal Arts General Studies at New Mexico Junior College Report

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Out of the 770 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Southeast Community College Area landed the # 2 spot on the list. Southeast Community College is a medium-sized public school located in the city of Lincoln.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at Southeast Community College are $3,096 a year. After completing their Associate's Degree, liberal arts graduates from Southeast Community College carry an average student debtload of $13,198. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $100, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

On top of its placing in our value ranking, Southeast Community College also did well on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend McLennan Community College. It ranked #3 on our 2021 Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. Located in the medium-sized city of Waco, MCC is a public college with a moderately-sized student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at MCC are $3,990 a year. While working on their Associate's Degree, liberal arts majors at MCC accumulate an average of around $15,654 in student debt. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $133, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

In addition to its great value ranking, MCC is in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Eastern New Mexico University - Ruidoso Campus. The school came in at #4 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. Located in the remote town of Ruidoso, ENMU - Ruidoso Campus is a public school with a fairly small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at ENMU - Ruidoso Campus are $2,500 per year. Liberal Arts majors at ENMU - Ruidoso Campus take out an average of $14,811 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $130.

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#5

Lake Region State College

Devils Lake, ND

A rank of #5 on this year’s list means Lake Region State College is a great value for liberal arts general studies students working on their associate’s degree. Lake Region State College is a small public school located in the town of Devils Lake.

Lake Region State College undergraduate students pay an average of $4,655 in tuition and fees each year. After completing their Associate's Degree, liberal arts graduates from Lake Region State College carry an average student debtload of $11,527. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $104.

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#6

Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach, AL

Columbia Southern University came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the fringe town of Orange Beach, Columbia Southern University is a private for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

Columbia Southern University undergraduate students pay an average of $5,655 in tuition and fees each year. While working on their Associate's Degree, liberal arts majors at Columbia Southern University accumulate an average of around $18,004 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $185.

In addition to its best value ranking, and one of the reasons why the school is on the list, Columbia Southern University is ranked #5 for overall quality for liberal arts in the United States.

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#7

College of the Mainland

Texas City, TX

College of the Mainland did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for liberal arts general studies students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #7 on the list. Located in the suburb of Texas City, COM is a public college with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at COM are $3,873 per year. After completing their Associate's Degree, liberal arts graduates from COM carry an average student debtload of $10,983. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $96, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

COM also claimed a spot on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

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American Public University System landed the #8 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value associate’s degree liberal arts general studies programs. American Military University is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the fringe town of Charles Town.

American Military University undergraduate students pay an average of $7,324 in tuition and fees each year. While working on their Associate's Degree, liberal arts majors at American Military University accumulate an average of around $10,833 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $92.

On top of its placing in our value ranking, American Military University also did well on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. It’s in the top 1% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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St Cloud Technical and Community College ranked #9 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. Located in the small city of Saint Cloud, St Cloud Technical and Community College is a public school with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at St Cloud Technical and Community College are $5,538 per year. While working on their Associate's Degree, liberal arts majors at St Cloud Technical and Community College accumulate an average of around $14,893 in student debt. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $125, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

In addition to its great value ranking, St Cloud Technical and Community College is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list.

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#10

Hutchinson Community College

Hutchinson, KS

Hutchinson Community College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for liberal arts general studies students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #10 on the list. Located in the town of Hutchinson, Hutchinson Community College is a public college with a moderately-sized student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at Hutchinson Community College are $4,350 a year. Liberal Arts majors at Hutchinson Community College take out an average of $9,727 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $89.

On top of its placing in our value ranking, Hutchinson Community College also did well on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#11

Anoka-Ramsey Community College

Coon Rapids, MN

Anoka-Ramsey Community College landed the #11 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value associate’s degree liberal arts general studies programs. Anoka-Ramsey Community College-Coon Rapids Campus is a moderately-sized public school located in the large suburb of Coon Rapids.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at Anoka-Ramsey Community College-Coon Rapids Campus are $5,207 a year. On average, liberal arts graduates from Anoka-Ramsey Community College-Coon Rapids Campus take out $16,181 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $134, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Anoka-Ramsey Community College-Coon Rapids Campus excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list.

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#12

North Hennepin Community College

Brooklyn Park, MN

North Hennepin Community College ranked #12 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. Located in the large suburb of Brooklyn Park, North Hennepin Community College is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

North Hennepin Community College undergraduate students pay an average of $4,566 in tuition and fees each year. The average amount in student loans that liberal arts majors at North Hennepin Community College take out while working on their Associate's Degree is $17,308. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $140.

North Hennepin Community College excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list.

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#13

Bismarck State College

Bismarck, ND

Bismarck State College came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the city of Bismarck, BSC is a public school with a small student population.

BSC undergraduate students pay an average of $5,820 in tuition and fees each year. Liberal Arts majors at BSC take out an average of $10,787 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $108, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

In addition to its great value ranking, BSC is in the top 1% of all schools on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list.

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#14

Lake Superior College

Duluth, MN

Lake Superior College landed the #14 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value associate’s degree liberal arts general studies programs. Located in the small city of Duluth, LSC is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

LSC undergraduate students pay an average of $5,334 in tuition and fees each year. While working on their Associate's Degree, liberal arts majors at LSC accumulate an average of around $17,046 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $149.

As a testament to the quality of education it offers, LSC also is in the top 20% of our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools ranking.

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#15

Mid-Plains Community College

North Platte, NE

Mid-Plains Community College landed the #15 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value associate’s degree liberal arts general studies programs. Located in the remote town of North Platte, Mid-Plains Community College is a public school with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at Mid-Plains Community College are $4,140 per year. Liberal Arts majors at Mid-Plains Community College take out an average of $9,599 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $92.

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#16

Highline College

Des Moines, WA

Highline College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for liberal arts general studies students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #16 on the list. Located in the suburb of Des Moines, Highline is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at Highline are $4,576 a year. On average, liberal arts graduates from Highline take out $10,259 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $99.

Highline also claimed a spot on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools in this category.

Full Liberal Arts General Studies at Highline College Report

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Cloud County Community College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for liberal arts general studies students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #17 on the list. Cloud County Community College is a small public school located in the rural area of Concordia.

Cloud County Community College undergraduate students pay an average of $3,570 in tuition and fees each year. While working on their Associate's Degree, liberal arts majors at Cloud County Community College accumulate an average of around $9,149 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $99.

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With a ranking of #18, Metropolitan Community College did quite well on this year’s best value schools for liberal arts general studies students working on their associate’s degree. MCC is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Omaha.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at MCC are $4,545 a year. On average, liberal arts graduates from MCC take out $8,299 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $78.

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Northland Community and Technical College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for liberal arts general studies students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #19 on the list. Located in the town of Thief River Falls, Northland Community and Technical College is a public school with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at Northland Community and Technical College are $5,716 per year. On average, liberal arts graduates from Northland Community and Technical College take out $19,389 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $164, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

Northland Community and Technical College excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list.

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#20

Brazosport College

Lake Jackson, TX

Brazosport College ranked #20 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. BC is a small public school located in the small suburb of Lake Jackson.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at BC are $4,727 per year.

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#21

Central Texas College

Killeen, TX

Central Texas College ranked #21 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. Located in the suburb of Killeen, Central Texas College is a public college with a large student population.

Central Texas College undergraduate students pay an average of $7,050 in tuition and fees each year. On average, liberal arts graduates from Central Texas College take out $9,137 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $50, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Central Texas College also claimed a spot on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. It’s in the top 1% of all schools in this category.

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#22

Inver Hills Community College

Inver Grove Heights, MN

Inver Hills Community College ranked #22 on this year’s Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list. IHCC is a small public school located in the suburb of Inver Grove Heights.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at IHCC are $5,485 a year. After completing their Associate's Degree, liberal arts graduates from IHCC carry an average student debtload of $15,224. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $131, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

IHCC excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list.

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Central Lakes College - Brainerd did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for liberal arts general studies students to get a associate’s degree. It came in at #23 on the list. Located in the town of Brainerd, Central Lakes College is a public college with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at Central Lakes College are $5,611 per year. After completing their Associate's Degree, liberal arts graduates from Central Lakes College carry an average student debtload of $16,684. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $125, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

In addition to its great value ranking, Central Lakes College is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list.

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Houston Community College landed the #24 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value associate’s degree liberal arts general studies programs. Located in the city of Houston, Houston Community College is a public college with a fairly large student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at Houston Community College are $5,268 per year. After completing their Associate's Degree, liberal arts graduates from Houston Community College carry an average student debtload of $14,263. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $117.

As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Houston Community College also is in the top 15% of our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools ranking.

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Minnesota State Community and Technical College came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the remote town of Fergus Falls, M State is a public college with a moderately-sized student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at M State are $5,560 a year. On average, liberal arts graduates from M State take out $16,739 in student loans while working on their Associate's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $150, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

M State excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Liberal Arts General Studies Associate’s Degree Schools list.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate's Degree Schools

#26

Tyler Junior College

Tyler, TX
#27

Lone Star College System

The Woodlands, TX
#28

Century College - White Bear Lake

White Bear Lake, MN
#30

Normandale Community College

Bloomington, MN
#31

Oakland Community College

Bloomfield Hills, MI
#32

Brookhaven College

Farmers Branch, TX
#33

Pierce College-Puyallup

Puyallup, WA
#36

North Lake College

Irving, TX
#39

Ridgewater College

Willmar, MN
#41

Seattle Central College

Seattle, WA
#43

Central Community College

Grand Island, NE
#44

Marshalltown Community College

Marshalltown, IA
#47

Midland College

Midland, TX
#49

South Central College

North Mankato, MN
#50

Camden County College

Blackwood, NJ

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the remainder of the schools awarded a Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate's Degree Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 770 different United States liberal arts general studies schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Johnson County Community College Overland Park, KS
52 Crowder College Neosho, MO
53 Ranger College Ranger, TX
54 Labette Community College Parsons, KS
55 Mountain View College Dallas, TX
56 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA
57 Amarillo College Amarillo, TX
58 Fort Scott Community College Fort Scott, KS
59 Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa, IA
60 Wayne County Community College District Detroit, MI
61 South Plains College Levelland, TX
62 Coffeyville Community College Coffeyville, KS
63 New Mexico State University - Grants Grants, NM
64 St Charles Community College Cottleville, MO
65 East Arkansas Community College Forrest City, AR
66 Richland College Dallas, TX
67 Meridian Community College Meridian, MS
67 Trinity Valley Community College Athens, TX
69 Hill College Hillsboro, TX
70 Ellsworth Community College Iowa Falls, IA
71 El Paso Community College El Paso, TX
72 Clarendon College Clarendon, TX
73 Hawkeye Community College Waterloo, IA
74 Cedar Valley College Lancaster, TX
75 Butler Community College El Dorado, KS
76 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, MS
77 Northeast Texas Community College Mount Pleasant, TX
78 Neosho County Community College Chanute, KS
79 Saint Louis Community College Saint Louis, MO
80 Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids, IA
81 Northern Wyoming Community College District Sheridan, WY
82 Arkansas State University - Beebe Beebe, AR
83 Iowa Western Community College Council Bluffs, IA
84 Odessa College Odessa, TX
85 Minneapolis Community and Technical College Minneapolis, MN
85 Kilgore College Kilgore, TX
87 Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ
88 El Centro College Dallas, TX
89 Prince George’s Community College Largo, MD
90 Del Mar College Corpus Christi, TX
91 Spokane Falls Community College Spokane, WA
91 Lincoln Land Community College Springfield, IL
93 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, MN
94 Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS
95 North Central Texas College Gainesville, TX
96 Western Iowa Tech Community College Sioux City, IA
97 Ozarks Technical Community College Springfield, MO
98 North Arkansas College Harrison, AR
99 Rowan College at Burlington County Mount Laurel, NJ
100 Marion Technical College Marion, OH
101 Howard College Big Spring, TX
102 Indiana Wesleyan University - National & Global Marion, IN
103 Saint Paul College Saint Paul, MN
104 Brigham Young University - Idaho Rexburg, ID
105 Yakima Valley College Yakima, WA
106 Southern Maine Community College South Portland, ME
107 Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL
107 New Mexico State University - Carlsbad Carlsbad, NM
107 State Fair Community College Sedalia, MO
110 Northeast Iowa Community College Calmar, IA
111 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, ND
112 Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA
113 Genesee Community College Batavia, NY
114 Arkansas State University - Newport Newport, AR
115 Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City, KS

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great value schools for Liberal Arts General Studies students seeking value that almost earned our Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
116 New Mexico State University - Dona Ana Las Cruces, NM
117 Central Maine Community College Auburn, ME
118 Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny, IA
119 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC
120 University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Hope, AR
121 Peninsula College Port Angeles, WA
121 Northeastern Junior College Sterling, CO
123 Southeastern Community College West Burlington, IA
124 Macomb Community College Warren, MI
125 Pima Community College Tucson, AZ
126 Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL
127 East Central College Union, MO
128 Eastfield College Mesquite, TX
128 Columbia College Columbia, MO
130 Laredo Community College Laredo, TX
131 Hibbing Community College Hibbing, MN
132 Itawamba Community College Fulton, MS
133 Southwestern Community College Creston, IA
134 Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City Kansas City, MO
134 New Mexico State University - Alamogordo Alamogordo, NM
136 GateWay Community College - Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
137 Ocean County College Toms River, NJ
138 Tallahassee Community College Tallahassee, FL
139 Massachusetts Bay Community College Wellesley Hills, MA
140 Bemidji State University Bemidji, MN
141 El Camino College Torrance, CA
141 Iowa Central Community College Fort Dodge, IA
141 Big Bend Community College Moses Lake, WA
144 Bergen Community College Paramus, NJ
145 University of Maryland Global Campus Adelphi, MD
145 Olympic College Bremerton, WA
147 Hillsborough Community College Tampa, FL
148 Durham Technical Community College Durham, NC
149 Madison Area Technical College Madison, WI
149 Navarro College Corsicana, TX
149 Pearl River Community College Poplarville, MS
152 Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland, OH
153 Phoenix College Phoenix, AZ
154 Moberly Area Community College Moberly, MO

Liberal Arts General Studies by Region

View the Best Value Liberal Arts General Studies Associate's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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